Return to Isle of the Shallows
Debra A. White is the author of four children’s books and one book of fiction. She writes and paints at her home in Central Florida where she lives with her husband, Gregg. Debra was born in Nassau, Bahamas where she lived until finishing high school. She graduated from Rider College (now Rider University) in New Jersey with a Business Degree and worked in the business and education fields until she married and had two children. At that point, she decided to focus her efforts on her family and, in time, on her children’s education. During this time, she converted into books four of the many children’s bedtime stories she told her children at night and also made the commitment to complete her fantasy adventure novel, Return to Isle of the Shallows.
“Return to Isle of the Shallows is a fantasy novel for young adults and penned by author Debra A White. A coming of age tale like no other, this engaging story follows youngster Drew Barret as he combats a problem with anger management. Suspended and forced to move to a new school, Drew is a trouble magnet with, it seems, no future, but when a mythical beast kidnaps him and takes him to another world, he has no choice but to grow up very quickly. Facing real-world problems, destiny and the ways of Aqualor, Drew learns what it means to take control of himself amid fantastical creatures and places he could never have dreamed of.
What particularly struck me about the work that author Debra A White puts into her storytelling is the seamless way that social lessons and personal issues weave into the fantasy plot, with important teaching moments hidden in plain sight amid beasts and battles. Drew is an interesting central character, with obvious flaws and emotional issues that are not often discussed, particularly by leading male characters in fantasy novels, yet nothing about this novel feels like a lecture. It is very much an exciting and engaging fantasy tale, with atmospheric locations, action-packed peril, and amazing creatures and races to learn about and engage with. Overall, Return to Isle of the Shallows is a compelling and exciting novel for teen readers and above, but one which also leaves you with some thought-provoking questions and answers.”
“In Return to Isle of the Shallows by Debra A. White, 14-year-old Drew Barret is a new student at Longwood Academy after he was suspended from his previous school for fighting. Bigger and stronger than most of his peers, Drew is not a bad kid but has a problem controlling his temper and is a magnet for bullies. One evening while walking home with his best friend Trev, Drew decides to jump into the lake nearby and investigate an object that Trev spotted. Shockingly, a mysterious creature drags him underwater. When Trev and Drew’s family attempt to rescue him, they find themselves in a hidden world where the Arvaks, Winged-Groshin, and Lamera long to find peace and freedom in their homeland from the one they called Chasqua.
With clean prose and a straightforward narrative, White’s Return to Isle of the Shallows explores the themes of bullying, self-control, friendship, familial bonds, self-growth, and unity. The plot is more intricate than I expected, which was a nice surprise. The characters are well-developed and the tale caters to middle-grade readers who can relate to the young protagonists. Despite being in an eye-opening adventure, being chased by a scary beast and discovering hidden civilizations, Drew’s biggest challenge is controlling his rage. I do have a soft spot for Trev, who seems better at calming Drew down compared to anyone else. Their time with the Arvaks is fascinating and there is enough suspense and action as the story unfolds. All in all, this is a solid fantasy that has strong moral themes for its targeted readers.”
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