One Last Stop has been receiving a ton of hype in the book community ever since its announcement. The author Casey McQuiston blew it out of the park with their debut Red, White, and Royal Blue so everyone—including me—has been eagerly waiting for their next book.
Note: I was provided with an ALC by Libro FM in return for a review. All opinions are my own.
about One Last Stop
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.
Trigger warnings: on-page sex, electrocution, memory loss, missing family members, mention of violence against the queer community, mention of homophobia, drug use, alcohol use.
One Last Stop was nothing I expected while being everything I expected. It blew through my expectations and solidly landed itself in my best books of 2023. And no, it’s not too early for me to say this.
The book is New Adult contemporary + mystery + science fiction and it was done so well! I love the vibes and especially appreciated that the science fiction aspect didn’t take over the entire book.
August moves to New York and meets Jane on the subway. She instantly gets a crush on Jane. When she finds out that Jane has been in the subway since the 1970s, she tries to figure out a way to save Jane. If there’s one thing August can do, it is solving a mystery.
The book doesn’t skimp on mystery and science fiction while balancing it with contemporary aspects. I love how all the sci-fi questions about Jane’s situation were raised, dissected, and solved over time. But we also see how it affects Jane mentally and focus on the character arc. *chef’s kiss*
There is also a heist in the book if all the other elements weren’t enough! It took things to a whole new level and was SO FUN to read about.
At times, the book reads like a love letter to New York. It must come from the author’s personal experiences because it was detailed and emotional.
August newly moves to New York and finds her place in the crowded and overwhelming city. Through August’s eyes, we see how New York is magical even through the messiness.
Two features are highlighted the most. The independent and small restaurants, and the subway. Since August meets Jane on the subway and they bond there, we get a lot about experiences and people on the subway. I’ve only heard about how crowded and dirty the subway is, so this was new for me.
The other is a family-owned restaurant called Billie’s which embodies the small restaurants in NY which feel magical and homely. The staff have a really good rapport among themselves and view everyone like family.
We also see quite a bit of New York’s drag scene. It was so fun to read about it.
And overall, we get a sense of the people of New York in general—the liberalism, the queerness, the open acceptance while also not caring about other people when in public. And especially how people rally together to save what they love about New York.
I LOVED THE ENTIRE CAST. Each and every character in One Last Stop is precious and has a place in my heart. Even the supporting characters whom we don’t see much. All of them are fleshed out, unique, and have interesting personalities.
Can I please be August’s friend just so I can also have her acquaintances? Her circle is awesome.
August, our protagonist, is a wandering mystery-solver who is afraid of leaving academia and becoming a part of the “real world.” She is also a HUGE nerd. When she moves to NY and answers a roommate ad, she never thought she’d find her people and her place. August was so damn cute, especially when she was crushing on Jane. I loved her.
Jane is probably the most interesting love interest I’ve ever read. She is a punk rock sexy butch on the subway with killer charm. She is unafraid to punch people who hurt others and go on riots but is actually a huge softy at heart. As August fell in love with Jane, I fell in love with her too.
August’s roommates were amazing. We have Niko who is a trans Latino psychic that knows everything and is super cool and chill. Myla, Niko’s girlfriend, is a smart electrical engineer by trade but is currently into art. Wes is a Jewish tattoo artist who is quiet most of the time but comes out of his shell once he’s comfortable. He also crushes on Isaiah, his neighbour who does drag in spare time, so bad and I LOVED that. I love reading about people crushing hard.
The found family aspect of the book was very endearing. These roommates are a family who bicker, tease each other, have fun, and always have each other’s backs.
Apart from these awesome characters, we had many supporting characters who added to the story in different ways. I have zero complaints.
Oh, how do I put my love for the romance into coherent words? It was.. everything.
The book takes place over several months so there is a lot of relationship growth between August and Jane, and it is not a fast thing. It is slow and endearing and ADORABLE. Oh and very sexy at times.
I absolutely loved seeing August and Jane crush on each other in the beginning. August was especially so cute when crushing on Jane. I loved it. This sapphic love is enough to sustain me in my lonely life.
They have proper relationship growth apart from basic attraction too. They get to know each other, have a lot of conversations, and fall deeply in love.
The book is a new adult so there is on-page sex and wow. It was hella steamy and I literally blushed when listening to the audiobook. Many of their conversations get derailed because of lust and attraction and I’m all here for it in sapphic relationships.
It was top-tier romance, honestly. *applause*
Related post: 10 Queer Adult Romance Books That You Will Love
Jane is from the 1970s when there were significant events in queer history. Being queer herself, she was part of some of them too.
Through Jane, we get to know a lot about queer history and the people who took a stand for queer rights. I’m not from the US so I know only a little bit about the events that occurred there. This book taught me more and it also mentions lesser-known events.
The book specifically shows how the people at that time went through spades and it is because of them that America has become quite progressive with queer rights.
One Last Stop is a book that shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into one genre or one plotline. I absolutely loved every part of it which is why it is one of my best books of 2023.
This was the perfect follow up to the author’s debut Red, White and Royal Blue. They exceeded my expectations.
If you’re looking for a cute romance book with good characters and a cool plotline, read this. The book releases on June 1st 2021 and is perfect to read during Pride month, especially since it talks about queer history too.