Why I Have Mixed Feelings 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.

First published: 2021

one last stop

After reading Red, White and Royal Blue earlier this year, I was convinced Casey McQuiston could be one of my new favourite authors, so I was excited to pick up One Last Stop when it came out last month. It’s been a few days since I finished the book, and I’m still not entirely sure what I think of it. There were things I absolutely adored, but there were also a few aspects I wasn’t a fan of at all. Let’s get into them!

What I loved about One Last Stop is its characters and the way they interact with one another. August is a great main character, although she did need to grow on me a little before I really came to love her. I also loved Jane and the many sides to her personality and the way she approaches life. However, the characters that I really fell in love with were August’s flatmates Niko, Myla and Wes, as well as their neighbour Isaiah. Their distinct personalities, their roles within the group and their banter were so wonderful. Throughout the entire book, I looked forward to any scenes with these side characters.

I also loved the focus on found family. August has a difficult relationship with her mother and we learn at the start of the book that she struggles letting people in. She’s convinced that it’s better to just try and make it on her own, and that’s what she’s planning to do when she moves to New York. Niko, Myla and Wes ruin that plan for her, but in the best way. They welcome August into their home and found family with open arms and it felt really special to see August experience such a warm, loving friend group for the first time. The book shows us in a wonderful way that family isn’t all about blood. It’s whatever you want it to be.

The focus on diversity and gay rights was also an aspect I really enjoyed. Since Jane is from the seventies, her experience of being queer in America is very different than August’s. They have some interesting conversations about this, which really made August (and me) think. Drag is also heavily featured in this novel, which I really loved. I don’t know a lot about drag, but it was so fun to read about the joy and good times these characters had. The sense of community that came into play here was also very heartwarming.

So, what didn’t I like about One Last Stop?

Well, the plot, basically. Which is a pretty big part of any story. August finds out early on in the story that Jane isn’t from our time; she’s from the 1970s, and she’s stuck. So, August, ever the detective, wants to figure out how this happened and, more importantly, how to fix the problem. This fantastical element was something that initially really drew me to the book, because I usually love contemporary stories with a fantastical twist. However, in One Last Stop it just didn’t really work for me. This mostly had to do with how they’re trying to fix the problem. The characters come up with a logical explanation for an entirely illogical situation with absolutely no precedent, and that bugged me. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief for that part of the story, and that influenced my enjoyment of it. I still loved the characters, I loved most of the side plots, but this main problem at the heart of the story just didn’t do it for me. My inability to suspend my disbelief also extended to the many coincidences within the story, which at some point started to get on my nerves.

I also didn’t enjoy the pacing of the novel. Like Red, White and Royal Blue, this book is quite long for a romance novel (over 400 pages), but while that didn’t bother me at all with RW&RB, I do think that One Last Stop was slightly too long. Even though there’s a lot going on, with the romance, the mystery and a sideplot involving Pancake Billy’s House of Pancakes, August’s amazing place of work, the story still dragged in certain places. That caused my attention and enjoyment to lag a little bit, and I think that’s a pity.

So, where do I stand on One Last Stop? I’m still not sure! I think I would’ve absolutely adored a book with these characters, this New York setting and a romance between the two main girls, if only the plot would’ve been slightly different. If there’s one thing this book convinced me of, though, it’s the fact that Casey McQuiston writes the most vibrant, wonderful characters, and for that alone I would recommend this book. It also makes me very excited about anything she’ll write next!

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Hi! I'm Anne and I love reading, baking and writing about both of those things. Welcome!

9 thoughts on “Why I Have Mixed Feelings about One Last Stop

  1. I’m actually planning on finally getting around to reading One Last Stop this month so this was really interesting to read. I’m so happy to hear that the characters in this are just as amazing as RW&RB because characters and dialogue were my two favourite things in that book.
    I was a little unsure about the whole time travel aspect when I first read the blurb and from how you describe it, I can understand why handling the plot complication in that way might be annoying. Fingers crossed it doesn’t bother me as much or drag in spots as it did for you.
    Great review, Anne!

    1. As this reply is very late (sorry about that), you’ve probably already read the book by now! What did you think of it? I do hope you enjoyed the time travel aspect more than I did! Thank you for your kind comment 😀

      1. No worries at all! I’m terrible at replying to comments in a reasonable time so I never judge anyone else 😊. I actually didn’t end up getting to it like I’d planned, which is unfortunate but not unexpected. I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to my TBR. Before the end of the year for sure!

  2. I love this review so so so much because you voiced how I also feel about OLS. When I finished it i think I convinced myself I loved it because of how much I loved August’s flatmates, the whole “New York magical air’ and Jane!! But I didn’t like the “detective” aspect of the story and I frankly still don’t understand the whole explanation of how Jane got stuck in the subway. I also agreed that some parts were too long!! Overall I still think that I really enjoyed it and the good parts overshadowed the parts I didn’t like. I just love the way McQuiston writes their characters because they all feel real and unique. Thank you so much for your honest and thorough review! 🥰

    1. That’s so good to hear! I do agree that McQuiston’s characters are just so wonderful and unique. I think I would’ve absolutely adored this story if it hadn’t involved the strange subway plot, haha! Thank you for your lovely comment 😀

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