One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston — Love on the Q!

14 June 2022

One Last Stop
by Casey McQuiston
Published on June 1, 2021, by Griffin
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ Fiction, Magical Realism

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks...

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.
The past few months have been tumultuous, and while reading has always been an escape for me, none of my reads were working for me until now. One Last Stop essentially dragged me out of my reading slump and no words can describe how much love I have for this book!

Also, quick confession: this book has also made me realize the value of reading the right book at the right time. Around the same time last year, I made the decision to pick up One Last Stop but the first few pages weren’t doing it for me. Add the fact that mixed reviews were popping up left and right, so perhaps my judgment had been slightly clouded. This is also why I never want to read books during their ‘hype’ period, but that’s a discussion saved for another day.

August Landry, our main protagonist, is a character easy to relate to — awkward, introverted, and also suffers from an existential crisis (everything that I am). Upon moving to NYC for college, she becomes entangled in a mystery after a meet-cute with Jane, a ridiculously attractive Chinese-American punk-rock girl in a leather jacket, on the Q train, who also happens to be from the 1970s and seems to be magically tethered to the subway forever. On the other hand, Jane has no recollection of who she is and where she’s from, aside from her name but something about August helps her remember. When August finds out that the Q is set to close in the summer for maintenance purposes, she becomes determined to solve whatever it is that’s keeping Jane stuck on the train.

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue was a wonderful read, but One Last Stop conquered. There’s a lot to love about this gem of a novel, from the public-transit meet-cute to the found family trope — August becomes friends with her roommates who all happen to be a bunch of happy-go-lucky misfits, a drag queen, and her co-workers at the pancake diner she starts to work at. The impressively diverse characters, the romance (sweet, steamy, and sexy), the excellent pacing, banter, and representation, the nostalgia in reference to 70s pop culture juxtaposed with present-time, are also just perfect and fabulously witty! McQuiston did a stellar job in interweaving all of these, and still, not deviating from the twist to look forward to: how August and Jane get their happily-ever-after in the end.

One Last Stop also dwells into the juxtaposition of being queer in the 70s versus being queer in present-day, although I wish this was explored further, with Jane’s perspective as someone who has been able to live in both generations, not only as an openly lesbian woman and an LGBT rights activist from the 70s but also as a first-generation immigrant. I think McQuiston would have done better by going deeper in this route.

An incredibly entertaining and sparkling read with stunning queer representation, One Last Stop is the perfect summer romance and also a celebration of Pride. I’m so glad I gave this book another chance or I’d have missed out on a banger read! Another addition to my all-time favourites list. 

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