Her mother's third marriage is only hours old when all hope for Clare's fifteenth summer fades. Before she knows it, Clare is whisked away to a cottage on a tiny island off Cape Cod to spend the summer with her father—a man she hasn't seen since she was three.
Clare's father barely talks, and when he does, it’s all about endangered turtles. The first teenager Clare meets on the Cape confirms that her father is known as the island crazy person.
But there's something undeniably magical about the marsh and the island—a connection to Clare’s past that runs deeper than memory. Even her father's beloved turtles hold unexpected surprises. As Clare's father begins to reveal more about himself and his own struggle, Clare's summer becomes less of an exile and more of a return.
Fourteen year-old Clare is less than thrilled with her mother’s plan to have her spend three weeks on a remote island with her father, Richard: She hasn’t seen him in twelve years, and they only speak on Christmas. . . . Gradually, through walks on the beach, kayaking around the bay and board games, the two find their way toward an honest and loving relationship. . . . Demas’s careful seeding of details about Richard’s life in the years between his divorce from Vera and his re-emergence in Clare’s life is subtle enough that the revelation of what held him back from maintaining any substantive relationship with her will be surprising and ring true to most readers. Their father-daughter bond feels both earned and earnest. A quiet, lovely story with a satisfyingly sentimental ending. -- Kirkus
Clare last saw her biological father when she was three years old. When her mother goes on a honeymoon with husband number three, the 15-year-old is forced to spend the summer on Cape Cod with the dad she only remembers from photos. Their tentative relationship is much like caring for the endangered northern diamondback terrapin her father studies and tries to save: they must tread lightly, give space, and allow events to happen when the timing is right. And like the terrapin’s return to shore, Clare’s return to the Cape is just as poignant. As she learns the real reasons behind her parents’ divorce and the impact her father’s undisclosed sexual orientation had on his decision to stay out of her life, she and her father not only begin to connect as parent and child but also as fellow adults. In this coming-of-age novel, Clare must also decide how she feels about her father’s identity, especially when faced with friends’ homophobia. A quiet, thoughtful story for sophisticated readers. --Booklist
Corinne Demas ... has created a realistic, touching tale of teenage angst and growth in Returning to Shore. ... Clare is a beautifully drawn character. Like most girls her age, she is simultaneously sophisticated and simple, mature and childish. As she discovers more about her father’s past and comes to understand his reasons for keeping his distance over the years, she begins to grow up — and to help her father find peace. Corinne Demas makes Clare and her father easy to identify with and care about. Clare’s language, clothing and habits will ring true to anyone who deals with teenagers on a regular basis. She is her own person, however, not just a stereotype. She is smart, she is eager to love and she is surprisingly subtle. The novel itself is also subtle. The reader learns about endangered turtles and about Richard as Clare does, gradually and by interpreting images and verbal cues. As a result, when Clare and Richard finally make an emotional breakthrough, the reader is fully invested in their relationship.--The Recorder (Read Complete Newspaper Review) (read just text)
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...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). -- Rather Be Reading (Read Complete Blog Review)This was a lovely story about family and finding yourself, and I think many people will be able to see themselves in the pages of the book. -- A Reader's Ramblings (Read Complete Blog Review)
Corinne Demas has a keen eye and develops the father-daughter relationship beautifully. The character voice is strong in this sweet and quiet novel. -- The Reading Date (Read Complete Blog Review)
Demas does a fantastic job with creating authentic teen angst and detailing a well-painted setting. The tension, the tenderness, it was all executed well and built on a solid story with well-defined characters ... Returning to Shore makes for a quick, contemporary read with a central focus on a realistic father-daughter-reconnecting relationship and sea turtle preservation ... it was still a touching, sweet read.
-- RJ Does Books (Read Complete Blog Review)
Returning To Shore is a novel that doesn't rely on romance to deliver deeply felt emotion. It's a wonderful coming of age story, with a picturesque setting and a strong environmental message lurking not-far-back in the background. -- In Bed With Books (Read Complete Blog Review )
Donna Tunney interviews Corinne in The Cape Codder.
Bill Newman inteviews Corinne for The Bill Newman Show, WHMP FM. (podcast)
Kendell Shaffer interviews Corinne for WriteSpa TEEN, Blogtalkradio. (podcast)
Interview with Corinne on the blog Snowdrop Dreams of Books.
Interview with Corinne on the blog The Reading Date.
Interview with Corinne on the blog RJ Does Books
Patricia Cahill interviews Corinne for The Republican.
A blogger asked Corinne why she writes YA:
"I write for a variety of audiences--adults, YA, and kids--and Returning to Shore felt as if it was a YA novel from the very start. I love writing YA fiction because of the intensity and clarity of the narrative. And, as I discovered from the response to my previous YA novel, Everything I Was, YA audiences are passionate readers and care deeply about the characters they connect with. This is a coming of age novel, and I'm hoping readers will understand my main character, Clare, and empathize with her story."