One Last Stop is Casey McQuiston’s follow up novel to the amazing and brilliant, ‘Red, White and Royal Blue‘. For anyone who knows me, they’ll know how much I loved McQuiston’s first book. I have been eagerly awaiting getting my hands on their follow up for most of this year. If not longer.
This time, McQuiston offers us a sapphic novel and a subway romance. August is a bisexual looking for a fresh start; Jane a lesbian from a different decade. It’s hard not to fall in love with them, and trust me, I fell hard on every single page.
One Last Stop’s Blurb
Cynical, twenty-three-year-old August, moves to New York City in the hope of avoiding her Mum and her Mum’s desperation to solve a case gone cold. Having lost herself, August is desperate to discover who she is, while depending on no one. She quickly moves in with a set of odd roomates, gets a job at a pancake diner and quickly realises she’s found herself a new family.
That becomes the least of her problems. When she takes the subway to her classes, she meets her: Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Showing up in a leather jacket and offering a scarf to save August’s day, she falls hard. It’s only then does she discovers one huge problem: Jane is displaced from time, stuck on the subway and unable to get off. Literally. With her skills of investigation, August sets on helping Jane, all the while trying not to fall in love with her. Which is hard. Really, really hard.
Thoughts on One Last Stop
I adored McQuiston’s writing in Red, White and Royal Blue (RWRB), and it remains true in One Last Stop. It has a familiarity to it, a hilarity and ease which makes reading their work fun and relatable. The characters sing from the pages. They hook you in from the get-go, making you want to throw your life down to protect them.
Casey McQuiston has a talent for making me feel so much when I read. Even as the pages in my right hand become thin, I’m desperate for more. One Last Stop is exactly like that, and McQuiston will forever be an auto-buy author for me because of it. I can’t tire of her writing, and I never want to. The book, similarly to RWRB, has amazing banter, witty come-backs and an enjoyable pace which makes it difficult to put down.
When it comes to the characters in One Last Stop it has a diverse set of characters. They are all mainly twenty-somethings who have stories of their own and dynamic relationships. With both POC and LGBTQ+ themes heavily present, this ‘chosen family’ brings you in. They allow you to go on this journey with them rather than simply reading a book. It has queer American history throughout, showing the past and how things are in the present.
We meet Jane Su, a twenty-something, leather-wearing Asian-American, on the subway where August is having a bad day. It’s simple but perfect. Immediately we are hooked, and then the possibility of time travel is brought in, and this book gains another layer. As a fan of fantasy, and time travel, I loved Casey’s take on it in One Last Stop. It was plausible, left little to question, while also being fun to read.
With August, she’s rough around the edges, and at one stage describes herself as a cactus. We learn quickly this isn’t true. She’s had to be strong when she was younger, she’s dealt with a few things which have allowed her to become lost and unsure of who she is. She’s relatable, real and also a deeply wonderful character. Her edges may appear prickly, but she quickly would do anything for her new friends and even place of work. I think I’ll forever have a soft spot for her. Her fears and feelings on her future, describe perfectly how it feels to be twenty. With both August’s past and future pressing down on her, occasionally making her combust at the seams, something many (like myself) found deeply truthful and relatable.
Her roommates are wondrous, all playing a part, and at times given the space to breathe and be these people you imagine you know in your own life. It’s like a hug from the pages, giving new meaning to the topic of found-family, explored both in the present and in the past. They’re diverse, funny, and take August under their wings when she needs it the most. This kindness and light provides so much colour to the book, breathing life into August when she is feeling lost. I won’t go too much into them, because I wouldn’t do them all justice and the review would go on far too long, but they’re exceptional. Each one. Wes, though, has my heart forever.
Love, like in McQuiston’s first book, is the main star. Reading One Last Stop is like remembering your first love, that feeling of being swept from your feet and having heart-eyes each time you see the person. It’s the skip in your step, the wicked smile when you get a text, all perfectly captured within the pages of this novel.
From the beginning of this review, I believe it was obvious I’d be handing One Last Stop a five-stars. I couldn’t put the book down if I tried, and even when I had too, I thought about nothing more than returning to it. For me, romance books written with humour, heart and even pain are always a winner with me. Adding in a bisexual main character and a punk-rock co-star, and I’m down.
If you’re looking for a fun, sapphic novel with time-travel, a diverse set of characters and so much heart you’ll feel spoiled, pick up One Last Stop, and then come and shout at me about your thoughts.