3 out of 4 stars
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Certain events can cause a person to grow up quickly. Such an event touches the life of nineteen-year-old hopeful lifeguard Jonah Conway when he witnesses a drowning at the Jersey Shore in the summer of 1962. This sobering event occurs in the opening chapter of Sons of Neptune, a novelette written by Ron Willetts.
Seeing the drowning causes Jonah to realize how necessary it is to pay attention to conditions in the water and to listen to the experienced lifeguards acting as his mentors. During his first summer as a lifeguard, Jonah meets a colorful cast of characters and has many unforgettable adventures.
Jonah’s friend Henry Wacker, who quite enjoys his beer, provides some fun comic relief. Jonah’s fellow lifeguard Eddie is a bit of a daredevil and Jonah must rescue him when his wild ways put him in danger.
I enjoyed following Jonah’s story as he befriended his fellow lifeguards and some of the locals, engaged in rescues, and even met fascinating sea creatures such as a rogue sunfish which manages to fool swimmers into thinking it’s a shark.
Unfortunately, I do not believe that the story was professionally edited. There were not many spelling errors, but there were a few formatting errors and multiple instances of incorrect comma usage.
The author occasionally inserts additional descriptive information in quotation marks in the middle of sentences. This is disconcerting and it would be better if the information in the quotation marks was placed in a separate sentence. The following sentence provides an example of this issue.
“With ropes tied to its tail, (Unlike sting rays, mantas do not have a poisonous barb on their tails.) it took several men with the help of the shore waves, to drag the ray onto the beach.”
This sentence would work better if it was broken up into two sentences: one sentence to impart the desired information about manta rays, the other to impart the action taken by the men.
“Unlike sting rays, mantas do not have a poisonous barb on their tails. With ropes tied to its tail, it took several men, with the help of the shore waves, to drag the ray onto the beach.”
This book is a good choice for older teens and adults who enjoy coming-of-age stories with a male protagonist. There is only scant mild profanity, but due to scenarios describing excess consumption of alcohol, the story is not suitable for younger readers. Readers who would be disturbed by a brief description of a person drowning or by the death of an animal (a manta ray) would also be advised to consider a different book.
In its current form, I give Sons of Neptune three out of four stars. Although the story was entertaining and the characters were compelling, the manuscript would benefit from professional editing to turn it into a four-star story.
Sons of Neptune
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