Review of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
I fell in love with August and Jane. August is searching for a place to belong. Unsure of her future, wanting no part of her eccentric mother’s obsessive behaviour, she becomes a minimalist. I could relate to that restless uncertainty in my twenties. Where do I go from here? Where do I belong? Instead of disappearing in the biggest city she could find, her world becomes her Flatbush apartment, her daily commute on the Q train and her night shifts at Pancake Billy’s House of Pancakes. Her friends make her apartment an oasis. Meeting Jane on the Q train is life-changing for August. Jane has it all together. Sexy in her black leather jacket and chivalrous enough to lend August her scarf to cover a coffee stain on August’s first day heading to Brooklyn College. It’s love at first sight though neither is willing to admit this. They bond over music. Their connection helps Jane begin the slow process of remembering her past and wishing like August that she could end whatever has kept her trapped on this subway for forty-five years.
This book started slow but grew on me and has left me with a massive book hangover. It’s that good. On the surface One Last Stop is about a loner hoping to disappear and instead, falling in love with a woman caught in time, trapped since the ‘70s on the Q train in New York. But there is so much more to this new adult romance. It’s an homage to the friends you meet along the way, of finding a home, a found family, a place to thrive. It’s about the loss of neighbourhood meeting spots and the fight to push back urbanization to keep the soul of the community alive. It’s about giving today’s queer community a better understanding of events in the past which helped shape the freedoms we enjoy while also showcasing the challenges still faced by BIPOC queers.
The writing is gorgeous. I couldn’t stop highlighting passages. The dialogue is machine gun rapid and crisp. The characters are drawn so well. Their quirky careers and hobbies, their trust, their anxieties and hopes. I loved the diverse characters who form a family of acceptance and love. The LGBTQIA and BIPOC representation is refreshing. There are even drag queens. Be still my heart.
This is my favourite read of 2021. McQuiston packs so much into their writing you have to pause and appreciate the beauty of it. 5 stars.
ARC received with thanks from St Martin’s Griffin and Netgalley for an honest review.