A review by paragraphsandpages
One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston

5.0

First off, I'd like to thank Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for allowing me the chance to read and review an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own, and are based on an early version of the book that can differ from the final, released version.

If you're just expecting RWRB V.2 but f/f, you'd better alter your expectations. One Last Stop is fantastic in its own ways, but its strengths vary drastically from McQuiston's first novel. I expected this going in (most authors don't exactly like writing the exact same book over and over), but people who go in expecting the same sort of novel as RWRB might be disappointed.

One Last Stop, as a whole, feels like a softer, sadder romance, while still having many aspects that made me love McQuiston's first book: a strong found family, a flawed, yet likable, main character, and a romance that both entirely grabs the reader's interest and serves as a way for both the main character and the love interest to grow. But again, even with these similarities, One Last Stop differs when it comes to the specifics. The humor in this book is more subtle, the found family is established within the story rather than before the story (as well as consisting of a much wider range of characters, in all aspects), the romance itself takes a much different path, and the MC, August, feels like the opposite of Alex in some aspects, she's a lot more protective of herself, a much 'rougher' character to those around her, though at her core, the same love of the world and people around her exists. These differences lead to a much different story, and while just as (if not more) enjoyable, it definitely requires the reader to be wanting something different than just a cute, funny rom-com.

One Last Stop, while reading, gave off vibes similar to The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, in my opinion. It carried the same undercurrent of longing, of patient sadness, of coming to grips with how terrible the world can be and learning to find the beauty in small things, the good things that survive despite it all. It made the story overall feel slower than RWRB, and while I still loved reading it, it was less of a desperate rush to see what happened next and more of a slow unfurling of more story, more time and space for the characters to grow and learn to love again.

Overall, I genuinely really enjoyed this, and I loved seeing the range that McQuiston has, and all the potential for a rich variety of queer stories that we have yet to see from them. I highly recommend this, whether you enjoyed RWRB or not, and can't wait to see what they write next!