One Last Stop is Casey McQuiston’s sophomore novel, and unlike its predecessor, Red White & Royal Blue that didn’t quite do it for me (and that I think it’s overhyped), One Last Stop just literally swept me away. I am head over heels for this book.
Let’s start with the writing. McQuiston’s prose didn’t bode for me, I really struggled and disliked it. Some major evolution happened between then and now because in this book I found her writing to be astounding, devourable, and a perfect fit for the story she was aiming to tell. It was gorgeous and it reminded me nothing of the way she wrote in the previous book. That also pairs up with the characterization. If for me the character’s on RW&RB were uneven in how much depth and importance she gave them (Henry read like a secondary character to me) in here even though we only get a single POV the writing was so good that it was able to convey so much depth and realness and vivacity into the protagonists, and not only them! The side characters are so well constructed and fleshed out, everyone in this book feels like a living breathing person to me. I feel like I know them personally, that they are my friends. Better yet, they are my family. Because here is another aspect that this book manages is to create one of the most delightful, beautiful, and touching found family stories that I have had the pleasure to read. It feels like a tight hug, like a warm cup of tea, like getting into your pajamas after a hard long day. It feels like home. This aspect was fantastic, and I cannot find enough adjectives to praise it as it deserves.
Another aspect that I pointed out about RW&RB was that the pacing was always off, enormous dragging chapters, stuff that went around in circles, and in here not for a single moment I felt like what I was reading wasn’t great. It all worked out perfectly, no cracks or wrong, everything is just stringed up to perfection. You read and read and read and it feels like no time has passed at all, and it feels like you could read forever and never get enough, you’ll always crave for more.
I won’t stop comparing this to RW&RB because for me this was the final trial for Casey McQuiston, if she didn’t pull me in now, I wouldn’t pick up another book from her again. Anyways, yet another thing that bothered me there was that Henry and Alex’s relationship didn’t translate to me totally as a soulmate thing, but in here? August and Jane are the biggest most powerful soulmates ever. I am obsessed with them. The author has managed to gradually construct their relationships and feelings for each other, and across so many small acts, simple conversations, and ordinary scenes, she truly did achieve the glorious supreme shipp.
For me, the theme of early adulthood (the early twenties) was greatly represented in the lives, fears, and passions of the characters. I think this is one of the things that worked so well in portraying them so realistic across the story.
The atmosphere and scenery were also superb, I could feel myself in New York City, not only in the streets, places, and the wild way of living the city entails, but the subway itself as a place, as a time, and as a person, was a really gorgeous construction inside the narrative. So many amazing paragraphs that made my heart feel so full.
I have for a while now, avoided reading book synopsis for fear of them telling too much on, and so I tend to go into books mostly blind, or only knowing that in this case, it was sapphic, there was the subway and something regarding time travel, and as that is knowing very little, discovering the layers and plots of this book was a joyful experience. I was completely hooked on the storyline of Jane being a girl out of time, and the way this book made this a light thing (I thought it would be more sci-fi but it wasn’t, and neither it should) to read.
To sum it all up, reading this novel was a heartfelt experience. I felt loved, understood, completed. To make use of one of the best quotes in the story “you gotta make your own place to belong”, well I belong with this book.