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.
Aaaaah Casey McQuiston, they can do no wrong. I adore Red, White & Royal Blue so was keen to read One Last Stop, but equally scared it wouldn’t live up to expectations. I think I have only ever read two time travel type stories ever and they aren’t tropes I usually gravitate to so I was worried that element would pull me out of the story. I was wrong, it did the opposite. It actually took my around seventy pages to get into the plot because, as I now realise, I was waiting for that element to kick in. And once it did, I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down.
This is an ode to love, to found family and to New York. I absolutely love how McQuiston describes New York, through August’s observations, through her feelings and through Jane’s memories. I could almost feel myself walking through the streets of NYC, with the sights and smells all around. It’s about finding that person you love with your entire heart and would ultimately do anything for them.This also made me want to research more about queer history from the 70s. Thinking about it, it must have been so hard for Jane to go from a time where they were still very much protesting LGBTQ+ causes to a time where LGBTQ+ people will just hold hands on the subway. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% not saying the work is done or that it is now safe to be LGBTQ+ by any means but I think for her, it would have been a sizeable shift to get her head around and that is an interesting concept.
All the characters in this story are so different but come together to create this wonderful mix that sums up both NYC and big cities. The way that Myla, Niko and Wes adopt August immediately into their fold is absolutely heartwarming and I loved reading all their interactions. (Also, I kinda want to play ‘Rolly Bangs’ but I don’t want to lose any teeth…) The development of August and June’s relationship was lovely to read about. It must be hard to write a love story where one of your protagonists cannot leave a subway car but McQuiston manages it so well that you get swept up in the romance of it all. Love is about making yourself vulnerable, about making memories and sharing experiences and that is exactly how August and Jane fall in love, slowly but completely.
Ultimately, this book is the perfect book for summer, for long commutes, for dreaming of traveling and exploring new (or old) cities and making friends. If you are looking for something to convince you that you should take risks on this rollercoaster of life, this book is it.
BRB off to get pancakes at Billy’s…
Trigger Warnings: Sexual content, Homophobia, Cursing, Racism, Death, Grief
Rep: Lesbian, Trans, Bi MC, Gay, Chinese-American MC.