Saturday, May 29, 2021

Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Female/Female New Adult Contemporary Romance with Paranormal Elements 
One Last Stop cover
ISBN: 9781250244499
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

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.

Romance, mystery, and finding family all come together in One Last Stop. Casey McQuiston’s sophomore novel brings a bit of magic to the New York City subway as August falls for a mysterious woman who has somehow slipped through time and is stuck on the Q line.

August comes to New York City looking for home. She’s a little lost, lonelier than she ever would admit, and somehow manages to find roommates who become family. Myla, Niko, and Wes, along with their neighbor, Isaiah, and the crew at the pancake place August works at become family and are my favorite parts of One Last Stop. From Myla’s blazing energy to Niko’s kind and knowing soul to Wes’s grumpy and scared heart to Isaiah’s patience and fabulous drag persona, everything about the people who become August’s family grabbed my heart. These folx came alive on the page and their vibrant personalities endeared them to me and made me miss them whenever they weren’t in a scene.

At the heart of One Last Stop are August and Jane. August has been a loner for so long it breaks your heart and I enjoyed watching her come into her own over the course of the story. Jane is a mystery I don’t want to spoil by delving into too deeply. She’s displaced in time, having somehow gotten stuck on the Q line since sometime in the 1970s. Jane is both porcupine and marshmallow. She will fight anyone who is bigoted or a bully but she also is tender at unexpected moments. The mystery of how she got stuck is just one of the many things you learn about her over the course of the story and I liked watching August peel back her layers. Their romance is solid, but for me it was one of the least interesting things about the book and I never felt truly invested. The chemistry just wasn’t there and I know McQuiston can deliver chemistry (Myla and Niko? Fantastic chemistry).

I’m torn on rating One Last Stop because there are a lot of things I like about it. McQuiston’s lyrical prose captured me at times and the love and support between August and the family she made grabbed my heart and didn’t let go. But the first half of the book was incredibly slow and if I hadn’t loved McQuiston’s debut novel so much I might not have stuck with this one. It did pick up in the second half but I still finished the story thinking I liked specific things about it a lot more than the book as a whole.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.