“There aren’t perfect moments in life, not really, not when shit has gotten as weird as it can get and you’re broke in a mean city and the things that hurt feel so big. But there’s the wind flying and the weight of months and a girl hanging out an emergency exit, train roaring all around, tunnel lights flashing, and it feels perfect,”
Casey McQuiston’s 2021 novel, One Last Stop.
One Last Stop is the story of August and Jane’s impossible, forbidden love, set on the grimy subways of New York City. Their meet-cute is a fantasy I’ve had more than once. Me, a shy, awkward lesbian with glasses, wearing a cardigan, and a beautiful, mysterious girl with short brown hair, a leather jacket, and sleeves of tattoos. She’s intimidating, but not in a scary way–in an “anything’s possible, this could be the best or worst thing in my life, I could love or regret whatever happens next,” kind of way. Every second of McQuiston’s novel is like this.
August Landry is a real, relatable protagonist. She’s socially awkward, but bursting with life and energy when someone presses the right buttons. She moves into an apartment with three of the weirdest, most wholesome and personable roommates ever. Every second that August spends being standoffish and uncomfortable, you, as the reader, are screaming at her to let her guard down. How can she not trust these loveable, crazy goofballs? But the more you get to know August, with her questionable upbringing and strange relationship with her mom, the more you can understand how and why she became who she is. You just have to love her.
And then there’s Jane Su. From the first time we meet her on the train, it’s obvious there’s something off about her. She’s closed-off, distant, and unavailable. These aren’t her most loveable qualities, but they are alluring. She draws August in like a magnet, and we, the readers, easily go with her.
Over the course of a few months, August and Jane get to know each other personally and intimately, but there’s a catch: Jane physically cannot get off the subway. Through some very hard to explain sci-fi events, Jane is bound to the subway line, suspended in time and space, and has been for over forty years. It’s up to August and her friends to try to save Jane before the train is shut down for winter maintenance.
Something worth noting about the author, Casey McQuiston, is that she’s only published two novels as of now, September 2021, and both were amazing queer love stories. Her iconic debut novel Red, White, and Royal Blue tells the story of what happens when the First Son (of the first female President, mind you) has an affair with the Prince of England. I’ll tell you what happens–we get an epic, hilarious, beautiful, and gut-wrenching love story that transcends politics, country, and gender. McQuiston set out to write the kind of books that she wanted to read, and in doing so, provided amazing representation that benefits kids who need these kinds of stories.
One Last Stop: The Final Verdict
As a homosexual, I love a story with queer protagonists. As a lesbian, I love female queer love stories even more. It’s a beautiful thing to see someone who resembles you get what they (and you, secretly) desperately want–true love. One Last Stop is a beautiful love story, with an ending that made me sob for over an hour. If you’re queer, a bookworm, or just someone who needs some sappy love in their life, I highly recommend this book.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston