I am taking full responsibility for screwing over my own expectations.
Flashback to a month ago when my excitement was off the charts. I was screaming from the blogging rooftops, keyboard smashing at every turn, and generally becoming an avid user of caps lock. I even preordered a book for the first time ever, because hey anything for my most anticipated release of the year.
Why did I think that was a good idea?? God knows I do nothing in moderation, yet there I was sending my own expectations soaring. I created my own worst enemy, and am now swimming in a deep dark pool of regret.
Sorry y’all. I let my feelings simmer. I chatted about this book with multiple friends to get the initial feeling swoosh of emotion out of the way. I thought time would solve some of my issues with this book. But alas, it did not. I’m feeling horrifyingly lukewarm about One Last Stop.
And believe me, I am just as shocked.
Book: One Last Stop
Author: Casey McQuiston
Published June 1st 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: physical book
exploration of depression and anxiety, memory loss and cognitive issues, familial estrangement, familial death, grief, missing persons, implied PTSD
off page: Homophobic violence and hate speech, police violence, the AIDS crisis, racism, childhood neglect, arson, historic hate crime resulting in loss of life
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all. (from Goodreads)
As y’all may or not know, I am very much a binge reader. 9 out of 10 times I will sit down and read a book in one sitting. Is it a healthy habit? Probably not, but it’s what I do. So when it took me nearly a month to get through One Last Stop, all the alarm bells were ringing.
I’m blaming it on the funky pacing and the long chapters. One of the main things is time travel, right, but it takes a large chunk of the book to even get to that initial revelation. I’m sorry but why did it take so long for the time travel book to get to the time travel bit?? Throughout the first 100 pages I was stratching my head wondering and where is the point exactly???
But I will say once I got into the last chunk of the book (I know, very specific) I couldn’t put it down.
I hate not knowing things. Like I very deeply hate not knowing things.
One of my favorite parts of mysteries is trying to figure out the case before the main character. It makes me feel smart and fuels my ego (kidding, it’s just my nerdy detective side coming out). But how am I supposed to figure things out when the science is all made up???????? And then all the clues are not actually clues but convenient revelations????
Like, ok, magical realism or whatever. Maybe it’s just not my thing (actually I know for a fact that is most certainly not my thing).
But even if you ignore that, the way the sci-fi/mystery-esque storylines were constructed were just not it. I wish the threads of it were more interwoven in the story instead of relying on Myla to carry the whole thing. I wish there would have been hints to pave the way for the explanation instead of happy coincidences all the time. If August would have spent half of the time she spent “researching” ACTUALLY RESEARCHING, I feel like things would have been figured out much quicker.
But also I really liked the romance, so I’m not too mad about the research.
There was a deadline, but we never felt the stakes. The whole book felt like it was taking us for a ride, rather than the reader going on an adventure with the characters?? I don’t know if that makes sense, but I wanted to feel the pressure and stakes of the situation rather than being like oh I guess that is happening now. I wish there had been more urgency in the plot.
There is so much potential with the plot in this one, but instead the focus was on the characters. Which is fine and swell, but I wish the balance had been a bit more seamless. Fabulous characters (I mean serioiusly, they were the best) as well as a strong plot would have elevated this book to god-tier.
And then there were a bunch of parts where the characters were kind of chilling. Were they strictly necesary to the plot?? Probably not. But it really drove home the found family bit and made my heart warm sooo.
To sum up this review, I am conflicted as hell.
I don’t want to say I’m disappointed because that’s dramatic and I love the characters and absolutely vibed with certain parts. But at the same time, I’m strangely disappointed. Please don’t let that discourage you from reading it. For me it was mainly a combination of funky pace, sky high expectations, and magic realism not really being my cup of tea. I’m going to take a page out of rom-coms and tell One Last Stop: It isn’t you, it’s me.
Have you read One Last Stop?? What did you think??