Book Review: One Last Stop

Published June 1st 2021

Author: Casey McQuiston

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one—namely, displaced in time from the 1970s—she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

One Last Stop is one of the most anticipated novels of 2021 after the author’s amazing other novel, Red, White & Royal Blue, but these two novels could not be more different from the other. While I absolutely adored RWRB, I had very mixed feelings about OLS.  While it was not bad, I still am in the minority that just thought it was okay. I would definitely suggest that readers try this novel out for themselves, as there are so many good reviews out there that most likely this will be greatly loved by others and just was not the one for me.

August is a 23-year-old college student who has just moved to New York to attend Brooklyn College. This is the third university that she is trying and the third major as she is trying to find herself and where she belongs. After seeing an ad for a roommate, she moves into an apartment in Brooklyn. I will say that $2800 for a three-bedroom apartment with rooms big enough for queen beds sounds way too good to be true considering how expensive Brooklyn has become. While going to class one day on the Q train, August meets Jane. As Jane seems to take the same route, the subway ride becomes the highlight of August’s day.

The story follows August and Jane as it is revealed that Jane, a 24-year-old nomad, is actually stuck in time from the 70s. The two of them get to know each other and August wishes that she can help Jane. Their interactions are super cute as August catches Jane up and tries to include her in her life. I love how Jane’s story is slowly revealed over the course of the story. I did find her to be a more interesting character than August. While I sympathized with August trying to find herself and her complicated relationship with her mother, due to her mom raising her to be an us against the world type individual, it just seemed that there was something missing as I could not connect with her no matter how hard I tried.

August’s character does have some confusing moments, as I do not quite agree with some of the lines she says. The first is when she first meets Isaiah/Annie and refers to him as the drag queen who lives across the hall rather than just the person who lives across the hall. It just seemed unnecessary on August’s part since this is the very first interaction with her neighbor, especially when his reaction is originally a deadpan reply that’s played off as if it was nothing. As this is the very first interaction, it just felt like a missed conversation since August does not know this person and what they are comfortable with among new people. The second is where she promises Jane that the world has changed and homophobia is not as widespread as it once was. Almost immediately, within the next few pages, there is a man who makes a homophobic remark. Again, it is glossed over in the dialogue. While both of these are very minor moments in the novel, they still stood out in my mind as it seemed to be missed opportunities compared to the amount of time and effort given to the other conversations in the novel.

In this novel, it is really the side characters that all shine, as I absolutely loved August’s roommates, neighbors, and co-workers. They were an eclectic delight and were excellent examples of the diversity that exists around us .Time and circumstances brought together this group, and I loved their interactions and their individual stories. I also loved the author’s portrayal of New York, as the subways are iconic and an experience like no other. The smells, the people, the wildlife, and delays/shut-downs are all a part of the subway world and I loved how it was portrayed in this novel.

Overall, this novel did an excellent job of including history, thanks to Jane, and integrating it into modern times. I loved the theme of finding yourself and your place in the world as that is a universal concept that exists for every age, time-period, and across the world. This story has an amazing portrayal of found family and it was extremely heart-warming. Again, I find myself on the fence for how I feel about this book because there is so much going for it, yet I still just felt it was an okay read (not amazing and not bad). Definitely take my opinion with a grain of salt, especially as my criticisms are in the minority. I highly recommend readers to give this a book a try themselves, as they could end up loving every single element or having their own criticisms.  

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