One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Back in 2019, I was driving from Texas to California and needed an audiobook to help pass the hours on the road. I had just returned from a vacation in London, so I was instantly drawn to Casey McQuiston's Red, White, and Royal Blue. That slow building romance between the President's son and a Prince of England instantly drew me in and had me longing to read more from McQuiston. It has been three years, but she's finally released a new work. Fortunately for me, her publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of it. 

Like most young people her age, August has moved to New York City intending to pave her own path in the world. At home in New Orleans, her life was mostly tied to her mother's obsessive search for her long-lost uncle. While August gained an abnormal proficiency in the art of investigation, that is by no means her own passion. She's got a degree of her own to finish, and New York seems like the perfect place to start anew. Her apartment, a small place that towers above a Popeye's Chicken of all things, comes with a band of quirky roommates who instantly accept August as their own. She lands a job bussing tables at a local diner. Life isn't glamourous by any means, but August feels good about the place she's in. 

Each day, August rides the Q to work and school. If you've ever ridden on a New York subway, you'll know about the interesting cast of characters that you usually find riding with you. August tries to mind her own business during her daily commute, but she can't help but notice the gorgeous girl who is always on the train. Jane is everything that August isn't. She's effortlessly cool with a vintage style that is all her own. She's confident and kind, not afraid to step in and help out a complete stranger. As August continues her daily ride on the Q, her crush on Jane grows and grows. The pair strike up a friendship that begins to veer toward romance, but a relationship isn't exactly in the cards for them. You see, Jane has ridden these rails since the 1970s, frozen in time as the world has moved on around her. She is bound to this train, unable to leave or travel anywhere else. August might be the only person who can help her escape this phenomenon, but she risks threatening their relationship in the process. 

Casey McQuiston follows up her hit debut novel with One Last Stop, another captivating romance that will instantly draw you in. McQuiston excels in building chemistry between two characters, and I found her writing of the brimming relationship between her two main characters to be the highlight of this novel. You can't help but root for the two women and dream of them being able to come together. McQuiston fills the story with a supporting cast that represents the diversity of the city she's writing about, a move that I'd love to see more fiction authors follow. Having characters of different nationalities, ages, genders, and sexual orientations added a richness to this story that others in the genre usually lack.  

Strong characters aside, I just couldn't fall in love with this book. I really wanted to love it, but the plotting surrounding the story's central mystery just fell flat for me. I think it came down to a lack of balance between the "frozen in time" hook and the actual relationship between the characters. So many pages were devoted to a plot point that just didn't pay off for me. As the ending approached, I was enthralled by the relationship, but frustrated with a twist that was all too convenient. Even the ending seemed unsure of which way to close the story. As the novel concluded, I was left feeling that the individual elements of the novel were more satisfying than the story as a whole. There's much to love about One Last Stop, and I seem to be in the minority of reviewers on it. While I didn't love the book, I still think it is a worthy addition from an obviously gifted author. I'll still be the first in line to read whatever Casey McQuiston comes up with next. 

For more information visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads

(2021, 21)

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10 Responses to “One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston”

  1. RW&RB was three years ago? Wow! I didn't realize there was a fantasy element in this story. Too bad it didn't work for you.

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    1. Right? I feel like that book just came out! This one was still cute, but not on the same level as her first one.

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  2. It's an interesting premise to have one of your main characters stuck forever riding the same train line. I'm sorry this one wasn't as good as McQuiston's previous book.

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    1. It really is a great hook. It just felt like the story never knew if it wanted to be a romance or a more sci-fi work. I had fun with it, but it never came together for me.

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  3. There is an interesting mix of people on the New York subways! The BART in San Francisco and East Bay, too. Well, any metro to be honest, but I guess that adds to the experience, right? I think my favorite metro is hands down the Paris system. Anyway, rambling here, lol.

    I love a great audio on road trips. Was this one audio too? I wonder if that would've helped the story. Nice to hear you enjoyed parts of the story even though it didn't hold the same magic as RW&RB for you.

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    1. It can be so fun to people watch on the train haha. I actually was sent the audio version and the ecopy, so I used both. I listened when I couldn't read.

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  4. I didn't like this one as much as Red, White & Royal Blue but I fell in love with the characters in this book. I didn't feel like the romance was as strong in this one.

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    1. I knew that RW&RB would be hard to top. This one was good, but I didn't love it as much as I wanted to.

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  5. Sorry to hear you didn't like it as much as you had hoped.

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    1. I still enjoyed it. I guess that's always the risk when you read an author's next work following one that you really loved.

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