For those that read Casey McQuiston’s first book “Red, White, and Royal Blue” and loved it just like me, you may have been worried that her follow up wouldn’t capture the charm and joy and romance of that story. Fear not. If anything, “One Last Stop” manages to take everything I loved about that first book and take it one step further, showing McQuiston’s growth as an author and her understanding of people’s relationships with romantic partners as well as friends and family. I read this book with a smile on my face the entire time and I think everyone will enjoy this one.
This book is marketed as a romance, but I would argue that it’s really a book about love in its many forms. The main character, August, is searching for not only love but a place where she can be herself, a place to call home. When she meets Niko, Myla, and Wes she finds a family that accepts her for who she is and it’s this kind of love that is often overshadowed by romantic love. For most of this book, the story is about August searching for her place in this wonderful, messy family and I loved each and every character. Have you ever read a book and thought “I want these characters to be real so I can be friends with them?” This was my experience reading this book. I wanted to attend a séance with Niko, sit with Myla while she works on her art, talk with Wes about his crush on Isaiah, eat pancakes at Billy’s and take the subway with August. McQuiston built such a convincing world that I wanted to be a part of it, even though I know it’s a world that can’t exist except in the pages of a book. That’s the beauty of her writing; it makes you wish the worlds she creates were real.
What makes this book interesting is that McQuiston could have made the entire thing about August and her friends and New York and it would have been great! But the love story between August and Jane manages to make this book even better. Their love story took its time to unfold and was a slow burn, which is something I normally don’t like. But it worked very well here. August has to learn who she is and what she wants before she can open up to Jane. And trying to figure out how Jane got trapped on the subway is a clever way to keep August and Jane seeing each other and allow their relationship to evolve organically in a way that everyone wishes would happen in real life. Jane is a badass, the kind of person you want to hang out with for any amount of time she’ll give you, and she could not be more different than August. They fit together perfectly and I adored their love story. In the end, the mystery of Jane, how she came to be trapped on the subway, and who she is and was kept my interest the entire time and I was happy with the explanation when all was finally revealed.
This is a charming book about found family, wonderful friends, and the power of love. It will make you want to hug your person or people. It’s quirky, funny, heartwarming, sad, and just wonderful. It’s the kind of book you want to hug when you’ve finished and give to all your friends so they can share in your joy. This is a book that I would recommend to anyone looking for a feel good story that will make you smile.
“How does she explain that she used to be afraid to love anyone because there’s a well at the center of her chest and she doesn’t know where the bottom is?”
“Sometimes the point is to be sad, August. Sometimes you just have to feel it because it deserves to be felt.”
“Maybe I don’t know what fills it in yet, but I can look at the space around where I sit in the world, what creates that shape, and I can care about what it’s made of, if it’s good, if it hurts anyone, it makes people happy, if it makes me happy. And that can be enough for now.”
Author: Casey McQuiston
Published: June 1, 2021
Rating: 5 Stars