Returning to Shore by Corinne Demas ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: March 8, 2014
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: parents, summer, remarriages
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!)
Summary: Clare is not exactly thrilled with her mother’s decision to marry for the third time. Thankfully (or not?) her mom is off to her fancy honeymoon and Clare is off to spend a summer in a seaside town with her father, a man she hasn’t seen since she was 3 years old. She’s not exactly what is in store for her summer, if her and her father will even get along. But without much choice, she’s about to find out.
There was something so quiet about Returning to Shore. Not many action packed scenes, instead the distant lap of the tide in the background as a father unsteadily attempted to bridge a gap with his estranged daughter, teaching her the routines of the sea turtles and hence, his research in the small town he grew up in.
Clare was already filled with emotions on her way to Cape Cod. Not only was she not entirely thrilled with her mom’s new pick for a husband but she was also mourning the loss of a yet another person in her life. Someone her mom chose to leave; someone Clare wished to be a “real” daughter to. Even though there was a lot of feeling to go around at the start of Returning to Shore, Corinne Demas gave us a character wading through her all this change and uncertainly in a thoughtful, calmly-paced manner.
Even when Clare was suddenly in a car with her father, Richard, and living in his home for the summer, the situation was never highly dramatic. Instead the two danced around one another, slowly getting to know who the other had become. The bond between them was gradual and almost so silent, you had to really pay attention to see that it was happening. Clare was super insightful and also very careful but I also applauded her when she openly asked for honesty from Richard. She didn’t go into a summer with him thinking there would be a happily ever after, but she wasn’t against having a relationship with him either.
Returning to Shore explored acceptance, rediscovering connections, and love in this vividly painted portrait of a summer between two people who are essentially strangers, learning to be a father and a daughter. I’m not sure if this book would be everyone’s cup of tea but it felt like a surprise gem in my pile of books. So much observation and feeling packed into a short novel laced with purposeful scenes and lots to learn about the wonderful sea turtle (and how their behaviors can sometimes parallel our own).
There was one thing I was left to wonder (and hoped to be true): would Clare’s relationship with her mother change once she returned home?