“Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
The Captain & the Queen is a young adult coming of age novel written by Phillip Vega. Mateo Nelson expected that his senior year of high school would be relatively smooth and predictable sailing. His grades were decent; his SAT scores were respectable, and his colleges and safety schools were selected and approved by his college counselor, with all the applications ready to go. Senior year would be football practice and parties and, of course, working part-time at the diner. Then something amazing happened on the first day of the semester. He had been with his best friend, Matt Salvatore, and they were on their way to football practice when he saw her. Unlike Mateo and Matt, who were both day students, she was a boarder and her father’s Mercedes had stopped outside her dorm building. As she left the car, Mateo was spellbound by everything about her; her looks, her air of vulnerability, her blue eyes. He watched as her father brusquely called out to her, mentioning her name; Calista. Mateo repeated it to himself. Knowing her name was a start. Maybe senior year wouldn’t be as predictable as he had thought it would be.
The Captain & the Queen follows the improbable romance that springs up between a middle-class Latino boy and the worldly yet sheltered daughter of a Greek tycoon. I was enchanted as Calista accepts Mateo’s initial clumsiness with humor and growing fondness, and I loved seeing how the two of them bring out the best in each other. And while there’s the growing suspicion that this young love might be doomed because of Calista’s dad’s expectations for her, watching as they attend school, perform in A Midsummer Night’s Dream together and share a close and loving relationship is grand fun indeed. Vega addresses class issues as well as shining a light on bullying and physical abuse which, sadly enough, does occur even with teen couples. Vega’s characters are credible and well defined, and his plot is a winner on all counts. And the setting in Long Island’s lovely Stony Brook community is perfectly suited to the story. The Captain & the Queen is most highly recommended. An awesome read!”