At the beginning of 2020 and thanks to many glowing CBR reviews, I devoured Casey McQuiston’s first novel, Red, White, and Royal Blue, which was just the mix of humor and escapism I needed at that moment (little knowing what a raging dumpster fire the next year would be). I knew I would be on board for whatever McQuiston did next. Though a time-travel love story set in a New York subway was not quite what I expected, I found One Last Stop to be just what I needed—a book to jumpstart my spring 2021 reading slump.
As the novel begins, August has moved to New York City, in an attempt to finish her undergraduate degree and to escape her mom and her mom’s never-ending search for a lost brother (an uncle August has never met). Raised in classic Veronica Mars style, August has learned to go through life alone and distrustful. She takes a job waiting tables at a 24-hour diner, finds an apartment with many roommates, and resigns herself to a lonely existence.
However, her roommates, Niko and Myla, and the New York Transit system have other plans for August. Riding the subway to work one morning, she meets Jane, dressed like an old school punk rocker and oozing charisma. August is smitten and because they seem to always be on the same train together, their relationship develops. However, August’s growing crush is complicated when she realizes that Jane doesn’t just look like a throwback from 1970’s NYC but she is FROM the 1970’s and is trapped on the Q-train.
Can Jane and August find a way to be together? You’ll just have to read the novel to find out. As usual, McQuiston does a good job of creating characters you care about. However, this story is also a bit of a love letter to its setting, giving you a sense of how New York has always been a refuge for those who are different and looking to escape the past and create new futures.