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Reviewed by Keith Julius for Readers' Favorite
It's always fun to take a refreshing, nostalgic look at a bygone era. John F. Bronzo gives us just that with a taste of the 1960s in Sagahawk by the Sea. The story is told from the viewpoint of Joe Carr, a fifteen-year-old boy who receives a rather unorthodox assignment from his school teacher. He is instructed to research the lives of three of the people buried in the local cemetery. The opportunity reveals to him things about his background he had been unaware of before, and brings him closer to the people in his family - his parents and sister, Kelly, as well as younger brother, Luke, who was born with a birth defect - and adds a touching aspect to many of the family occurrences. Along the way we are treated to views of a simpler time; a time of pie baking contests and tractor pulls and town parades for the Fourth of July.
There's a science fiction element to Sagahawk by the Sea as well, which is employed to explain some of the historical events of the time. John F. Bronzo neatly ties everything together by the end, coming up with his own explanation for several pivotal events of the early 1960s and, at the same time, allowing him the opportunity for a clever postscript to the story. Some scenes could have been more developed for dramatic effect, particularly an incident toward the middle of the book concerning Joe's younger brother, Luke. But on the whole the book is an enjoyable, entertaining read, as Joe grows closer in his relationship with his girlfriend, Mary, and learns some important lessons about family and life in general. Sagahawk by the Sea is a pleasantly nostalgic tale that I think most readers will enjoy.