Contemporary Literature · Romance · SciFi

One Last Stop

I got there. I might be one of the last people in the world to read McQuiston’s sophomore novel, but I got there. Does anyone else sometimes put off a book you know you’re going to love, or at least strongly think you’re going to love, because you don’t want the reading experience to happen and then be over? Maybe? I sometimes delay finishing a series for this same reason. Anyways, I think I suffered a bit from that. Also, I loved Red, White & Royal Blue so much that I was nervous about my expectations being unreasonable. And then the reviews were all so dang positive that that feeling just grew. And now here I am, the reading caboose on this one, as it were. (Side note: thanks to Libro.fm for the ALC.)

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

“…you’re movies and destiny and every stupid, impossible thing…” 

August moves to NYC content to be alone, convinced having no belongings and no people that matter to her will keep her life simple…there’s just less to lose. But when she moves into an apartment with some rather off-the-wall roommates and starts working at a 24-hour pancake diner, she starts to make some unexpected connections. Friends. The kinds of friends that can become a family. And then she meets this girl on the subway. This spectacular, mesmerizing, attractive, there’s-just-something-about-her girl: Jane. August plans her entire commute around being on Jane’s train. Over time, the sparks between Jane and August grow, but something becomes clear. Jane doesn’t just have an old school punk rock vibe, she actually is old school punk rock. She’s been displaced in time, from the 1970s, and has been stuck on the Q train ever since. Something about their connection is making Jane remember, and August is realizing she’d do anything to help Jane remember, and find her way home – even if it involves some magic (which she doesn’t believe in), sleuthing (she thought left that life behind), and losing the girl she’s fallen in love with (excuse me, what?! love?!).  

So I ask you, how is it possible that McQuiston has managed to write two perfectly swoon-y, compelling, full-hearted, with the exact right alternate reality/paranormal twist, romances in a row?? I do not know. But I am deeply grateful. My thoughts on this one are a jumble of a list of all the things that were so wonderful about it. McQuiston’s writing is the perfect compelling contemporary narrative voice for the characters and the story. It’s smart and snarky and real. I also love how all the characters are like normal “new adults” with normal jobs and attainable situations and aspirations and, let’s be honest, issues. They’re weird and special in lots of ways, but they’re also so….genuine. It all felt recognizable and a little enviable. The enviable part being that, for most of them (other than August, really) they were all happy with the little part of the world they’d created and carved out for themselves – untraditional as it was. With that, the found family. Let me just say it again, the found family. That’s about all I’ve got. It was everything. All in all, with the characters and the story and the setting(s) and the vibe (drag queens and diners and subways, oh my!) – it just all felt so quintessentially NYC.

Other things. More things! The mix of paranormal/supernatural and real life/tangible detective work was so freaking charming. And really, the entire displaced from time and stuck on a train and re-finding memories and sci-fi use of electricity to get Jane back to her own time was so original. This mystical take on the reality of electrical pulses as love/emotion/connection is super cool. There were a couple of steamy scenes that were like…hot damn 🥵. This is another thing that McQuiston did gorgeously in RWARB and does again here. In particular, the first (legit) kissing scene had me like…mouth hanging open and breath speeding up (and that was before it went past kissing). Phew. And in general Jane and August are just *chef’s kiss* together – their jointly (but differently) prickly outsides hiding their softie (for each other) insides is great. Also the other relationships are just as spot on. I don’t think I could have loved Niko and Myla more. And the entire Wes and Isaac back and forth. Honestly, it was all, as I’ve already said, wonderfully swoon-y. Finally, there are so many things happening in this story. Different times and stories and people that McQuiston somehow manages to bring together by the end in a neatly wrapped package that would be cliche/trite in another author’s hands. But here, it’s just satisfying. The ending I wanted, with a mostly happily ever after/mystery solved vibe, but with a sliver of reality that makes it feel all the more authentic, with promise for a future that is full of just as much adventure/love. 

They were already, basically, but McQuiston is now an auto-buy author for me. I’m here for the fullness and the rep (oh hey, bi peeps) and the steaminess and the friends (and other side characters) and the love and the compelling story bringing it all together. Twice in a row, McQuiston has delivered a story with the perfect mix of contemporary/real and fantastical twist and a romance I want to read again immediately. I am in awe.


A few of the lines that especially got me in the feels as I was reading:

“Time. Place. Person.”

“…she’s going to need more notebooks. It’ll take a million to hold this girl.”

“August thinks distantly about her gradual stumble into knowing she was bisexual, the years of confusing crushes she tried to rationalize away. She can’t imagine always knowing something huge about herself and never questioning it.” (THIS.) 

“…defiant by existing…” (I just loved this sentiment, thrown into/buried in a greater sentence, but holding so much alone, in just three words.)

11 thoughts on “One Last Stop

  1. I loved this one! I’m so happy to see another totally positive review because I’ve seen so many lukewarm ones that basically amount to ‘not as good as RW&RB’ and as much as I liked that one, I loved OLS so much more. McQuiston’s writing (especially the pacing) has improved so much, and her secondary characters are so fantastic in OLS. Basically this book deserves so much love, and I feel like it hasn’t really gotten it. Great review, as always. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! I feel like they are different enough that you cannot really compare them head to head, just different people will prefer a different one. But yes – such a great read! Phenomenal secondary characters, for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

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