Throughout June, GeekMom celebrates Pride Month with lots of LGBTQ content. Follow the Pride Month tag to find all the content in one space (including LGBTQ content from previous years), and keep checking back for more throughout the month. Today’s book review is One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston.
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Trigger Warnings: homophobia, sexual content (consensual)
My favorite read in 2020 was Red, White, and Royal Blue, an LGBTQ romcom starring Alex (the son of America’s first female president) and Henry (the Prince of England). I fell in love with the characters, humor, and perfectly described locations, so when I heard that McQuiston would be releasing a new novel, One Last Stop, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it this summer.
One Last Stop is simultaneously similar to RWRB and completely different. In this story, we meet August, newly arrived in New York City and alone. August grew up as an only child to a single parent who at times seemed only to have raised a child to create a partner in her relentless quest to discover what happened to her older brother who disappeared when she was in her early teens. August has had enough of playing detective in a decades-old cold case and has escaped to New York in an attempt at a new start. Soon she is befriended by her ragtag bunch of housemates—artists Niko and Myla, shy Wes who is not-so-secretly in love with the drag queen across the hall—and the team of long-term staffers at Billy’s House of Pancakes where she begins working. But when an accident has her literally bump into a girl named Jane on the subway, August becomes infatuated with the Asian-American punk rocker who takes the Q train with her every morning.
However, there’s a catch. August soon realizes that there’s something odd about Jane. She is always on the Q train. Always. Even when it is physically impossible. Jane, it turns out, is trapped on the train and has been since the late 1970s, stuck in a time loop while New York City changes around her. August is determined to figure out what happened to Jane and help her recover her memories in the process. Soon enough, the two begin falling in love as they ride the rails together day after day, but with multiple deadlines looming, can they save everything in time? Do they even want to if they don’t know what might happen to Jane even if it all goes to plan?
This was such an amazing story that combined a whole club of fantastic LGBTQ characters (I want all of them to be my friends too); a romance that was sweet, occasionally steamy, and a little bit tragic; and frequent moments of genuine laugh-out-loud humor. It also made me want to immediately put together a playlist of all the songs that were mentioned (I’m already hoping this book will get the same treatment as RWRB where McQuiston released Spotify playlists for each main character).
On initially hearing the premise—a girl falling in love with another girl who is trapped in time on a subway train—I had been slightly dubious. How would a story set mostly in one non-descript, public place be able to pull off any real emotional connection between the leads? However, I shouldn’t have worried because this ended up being one of the most believable romances I have read, despite its slight sci-fi elements. One thing that is worth noting here is that One Last Stop is a New Adult book, not a YA. That means the sex scenes are more detailed and descriptive than some readers might expect.
One Last Shot is already destined to be a bestseller because of the insane popularity of its predecessor, but this story stands up by itself and deserves its accolades. If you only read one romance this year, make it this one.
GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.
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