On a morning when things are just not going August’s way, she meets an attractive woman on the subway and instantly starts crushing. When she continues seeing Jane on her commute, she finally asks her out and Jane says no. Why? Because Jane is a punk rocker from the 1970s displaced in time and stuck on the Q line forever unless August can find a way to send her home. As the two work together to regain Jane’s memories and discover how to get Jane back to her time, their feelings for each other grow. Are the two fated to be together, or will they lose each other when Jane is sent home?
Casey McQuiston is such a wonderful author, infusing their books with joy, fully realized characters, and a lot of wit and heart. If you loved Red, White, and Royal Blue, this is definitely a different kind of story, but it has the same joyful tone and quirky, offbeat humor.
I have to start by gushing over the characters in this novel; I loved every single one. The books starts with August finding a room for rent above a Popeye’s and meeting her new roommates. There’s Niko, a trans psychic and terrible bartender, there’s Myla a charismatic artist with a big heart, and there’s Wes, a quiet tattoo artist who keeps odd hours. The conversations with August’s roommates are laugh-out-loud funny and also just such a wonderful depiction of supportive friends. Beyond these core roommates, there are dynamic, wacky characters populating every part of this story. There’s Jane, who is captivating and mysterious, while also being completely fun, funny, and thoughtful. There’s all of August’s coworkers at Pancake Billy’s and there’s Isaiah the accountant down the hall who is also the famous drag queen Annie Depressant. Every character is so beautifully realized with compelling backstories that make you love them. I love the found family trope and I’m just astounded by the large and incredibly diverse ensemble cast represented in this book.
Beyond the characters, I did really love the romance between August and Jane. I thought it developed naturally, moving from attraction to flirtation to feelings to real, deep love, despite the obstacles in their way. August learns quickly that Jane regains her memories with sensory triggers, which is how the two start kissing. These kisses “for research” quickly turn into real feelings for August, but she can’t tell if Jane feels the same way. I thought the way the two danced around their feelings was very relatable, especially knowing that a relationship likely couldn’t happen because of Jane’s situation.
I have to say, I did not read the plot summary for this book so I was totally surprised by the speculative twist, which was fun! I really like the idea of Jane being tied to the Q Line and falling through time to various other years. I thought it made for a fun twist on a romance novel, and made the stakes higher as we tried to guess if Jane would be able to go back to her time.
There were four potential options for the way this book ended, and I personally would not have picked the ending that did happen. That didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book, though. It’s still a funny, moving, engaging story filled with likable characters. If you’re looking for a fun read to warm your heart, I would highly suggest this one.
If you’ve read One Last Stop, let me know what you thought!
CW From author: On-page: Drinking, light drug use (weed), semi-public sex, exploration of depression and anxiety, memory loss and cognitive issues, familial estrangement, familial death, grief, missing persons, implied PTSD
Off-page, past, and alluded to: Homophobic violence and hate speech, police violence, the AIDS crisis, racism, childhood neglect, arson, historic hate crime resulting in loss of life