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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Last Exit to Montauk by Phillip Vega is a mixture of coming-of-age and romance with a strong setting and memorable characters; it is the story that will remind readers of their first love and it is wonderfully told. With a newly bought car from his “Ma” and summer camp over, the seventeen-year-old Hispanic boy could have a lot of fun. Yes, he feels like he could conquer the world. Along the North Shore of Long Island, a dramatic encounter with B, a very popular girl in school, will set him on the romantic ride of a lifetime. Read on to discover the sensations, the turmoil that goes on in a young man’s heart when he first falls in love. But how long can this romance last?
The story is told in the first person narrative, in a language that beautifully captures the youthful spirit of the protagonist and a setting that is colorful and well-developed. Set in Long Island in the 1980s, the story is told in an absorbing style, with beautiful prose and engaging dialogues. Some of the descriptions are terrific. For instance, the narrator describes B in the following words: “She smelled like summer, sunshine, and citrus.” The powerful use of imagery and the descriptive prose allow the reader to get the perfect idea of what takes place in the story. Here is another beautiful example that communicates how smitten the young man feels when he meets B: “There she was — the catalyst for my memory. I hadn't thought about her in years, but there she stood. It was her honey-colored hair and the way it flowed down past her shoulders that first caught my attention.” Last Exit to Montauk is a story that will delight young adult readers and those who still recall the magic of their first love. Phillip Vega’s characters are memorable and the story is as exciting as it is entertaining.