A thoughtful teen reconnects with her nature-loving father on Cape Cod.
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. Vera and her third husband are jetting off to honeymoon in France, though, so Blackfish Island, ho! Richard isn’t much of a conversationalist, but his diffident silence lets Clare come to appreciate, in her own time, her father and his work preserving the nests and habitat of the endangered Northern diamondback terrapin. Gradually, through walks on the beach, kayaking around the bay and board games, the two find their way toward an honest and loving relationship. Some obnoxious neighbors, walking clichés whose every move embodies thoughtless entitlement and ignorance of the island’s natural rhythms, are the one weak spot here. Demas’ 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. (Fiction. 13-16)