Food and Book Pairing: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

The Book

  • Title: One Last Stop
  • Author: Casey McQuiston
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Release Date: 6/1/21
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Age Range: Young Adult
  • Content Warnings: racism, homophobia, absent parents
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Publisher’s Summary: 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. Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

I have read Casey McQuiston’s first book, Red, White, and Royal Blue several times, and I fell absoltuely in love with it. Suffice it to say, I was very excited for McQuiston’s softmore novel, One Last Stop. I maybe even excessively tracked the package containing the book from Books Are Magic in Brooklyn.

The characters in One Last Stop feel so vibrant and well-developed. August’s ecelectic roommates are brought to life through McQuiston’s writing, and the reader really gets a sense of each one of them. The first chapter of the book gives a vivid initial description of Niko, one of August’s roommates.

Niko looks at August, hand held out, blurry in the steam from his tea. He’s got this black on black greaser thing going on, a dark undercut against light brown skin and a confident jaw, a single crystal dangling from one ear. Tatoos spill down both his arms and lick up his throat from beneath his buttoned-up collar. His voice is a little croaky, like the back end of a cold, and he’s got a toothpick in the corner of his mouth.

Each roommate in August’s apartment is so different, but each one is so interesting. I want to learn more about Wes’ journey from architecture school to being a tattoo artist. One Last Stop feels like a novel about finding your people. On the Friends reunion, Marta Kaufman spoke about how Friends is about the time in your life when your friends are your family, and One Last Stop captures that essence as well.

One Last Stop feels like a love letter to New York City. There is something so quintissentially New York about a story centering around being stuck on the subway. I even loved Jane’s description of the fat rat that she occasionally sees and feeds. Every chapter begins with a note from someone who was impacted by Jane or a news clipping about Jane, which gives the reader even more insight into Jane’s life on the train, and the impact she has on those around her. This book turns something mudane like a daily commute on the Q Train into something magical.

As the daughter of a mystery and thriller writer, I love a good mystery. I was intrigued by the mystery of what happened to August’s uncle, Augie. As soon as Jane was introduced as being displaced in time from the 1970s, I knew that she would have something to do with solving the mystery that August’s mother has been working so hard to solve. I also, of course, wanted to know how Jane ended up stuck on the Q train and was eager to find out if she would end up back in the 1970s by the end of the novel.

I loved One Last Stop, and I’m eager to read Casey McQuiston’s next novel. Reading this book made me eager to get back to using the subway regularly, and it reminded me of why I love living in New York City.

Food Pairing: Strawberry Milkshake Pop-Tarts

Jane Su has a sweet tooth and loves Strawberry Milkshake Pop-Tarts. August introduces them to her, and ends up bringing Jane Pop-Tarts several times over the course of One Last Stop. There is even mention of August clearing an entire shelf of them.

I didn’t get my hands on Strawberry Milkshake Pop-Tarts, but I did get Strawberry Toaster Pastries from Trader Joe’s, which was as close as I could get. The Strawberry flavor really comes through from the filling, and the icing on top is much lighter than the frosting on a Strawberry Milkshake Pop-Tart. While I have a sweet tooth, I am clearly not on Jane’s level as these are still a little too sweet for me. It did make me smile to think how much Jane would have appreciated them.

I would also totally recommend pairing this book with a Su special: Texas toast, bacon, runny egg, syrup, hot sauce. This is the sandwich named after Jane at Billy’s, the diner where she worked in the 1970s (and then August works at in 2020). I love trying recipes that appear in books, and I certainly want to try this one. I have a great love of breakfast sandwiches.

Grab a sweet treat and dig into One Last Stop.

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