ARC Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

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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.

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Thank you very much to Libro.fm and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a review copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

One Last Stop is out now!

Buy the novel:
Macmillan Dymocks | Amazon | Booktopia

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The first time August met Jane, she fell in love with her for a few minutes, and then stepped off the train. That’s the way it happens on the subway—you lock eyes with someone, you imagine a life from one stop to the next, and you go back to your day as if the person you loved in between doesn’t exist anywhere but on that train. As if they never could be anywhere else.

Casey McQuiston blew everyone away with their debut novel Red, White and Royal Blue and I can confirm that the same can be said for their sophomore novel, One Last Stop. A sapphic time travel romance set in New York! Who wouldn’t love that premise?

August is 23 years old and doesn’t have much in the way of plans for her future, aside from moving from university to university and being a constant student. She decides to go to school in New York, hoping that this move will inspire a change in her, having left behind her mother who dedicated her life to solving the disappearance of her elder brother back in the 1970s, a feat she has forced August into as well. In New York, August meets a close group of eccentric queer friends and forms a deep bond with them, thinking that she may have finally found a place where she belongs. Then, she meets a mysterious girl on the subway, a girl who doesn’t seem to be able to leave the Q train, and August’s carefully controlled life suddenly becomes upended.

The characters in this book are so incredibly relatable, which is one of McQuiston’s wonderful writing strengths: making characters seem larger than life. August is probably the one I connected to the most: she is deeply unsure of herself and her future, she is a bisexual disaster, and is generally insecure of herself, even though she has all of these amazing support systems. Yeah, a bit too real there, McQuiston.

Then we have the incredible Jane, the Chinese butch lesbian love interest every sapphic wishes they had in their life and/or can be. Jane is such a sweet and fun character and makes One Last Stop shine. She has no idea how, but Jane has spent the past 40 years on the Q train in a New York City subway. She has forgotten every aspect of her life before the train … until she meets August, who uses her investigative skills, honed by her mother, to help Jane remember the life she left behind in the 1970s. And when August and Jane begin to develop feelings for each other as they’re hunched over old files, searching for Jane’s past, there are actual fireworks. The chemistry between the two characters is visibly apparent on the page, and felt so deeply by the reader. And the yearning! It’s really too much.

I also adored the side characters, August’s roommates, whose lives the reader can’t help but be drawn into. There’s Niko, a trans Latino psychic who also moonlights as a very bad bartender; then there’s Niko’s girlfriend Myla, a Black engineer who turns to working on her art as the science life was destroying her; and finally there’s Wes, a Jewish tattoo artist who is desperately in love with the lovely drag queen who lives across from them but doesn’t believe he is worthy of love and is too awkward to do anything about it.

While I didn’t understand a single scientific and time travel element of this book, that was ok because I was really in it for the vibes — the book is very hopeful and fun, and just so inspiring. All of these characters delve deep into the reader’s soul and nestle themselves there. I don’t think anyone could come out of this novel not falling in love with it.

I highly recommend One Last Stop. If you loved Red, White and Royal Blue, undoubtedly you will love this book just as much!

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