Hey everyone! Sorry for all of the inconsistent posting once again. Classes are finally starting to wrap-up over here, which is exciting, but it also means that I have a ton of finals and exams. I haven’t had much time or motivation to read with everything else going on, and I haven’t had many ideas for this blog either. However, I got approved for an ARC of One Last Stop basically on its release date, so I threw aside all my work and was like, “you know what?? this will be the end of my reading slump.” I speed-read it in a few days, and you know, it was a solid read! It wasn’t my favorite book in the entire world, but I’m still very glad I read it. So, let’s get into some of my thoughts!
One Last Stop is an incredibly heartwarming read, filled with time-travel, a found-family, and pancakes. It details the life of 23 year old August, who is struggling to find her life’s purpose after transferring to many colleges over many different cities. She’s lived her entire life alone, and hopes that moving to cold NYC will be the perfect fit for her. However, she quickly finds friends in her quirky roommates, finds a waiting job at a lively pancake diner, and discovers the future love-of-her-life, Jane, as she’s riding the train. The only problem is that Jane is displaced in time from the 1970s and has been bound to it for decades, with seemingly no way of leaving.
The characters were probably my favorite part of the whole book. I enjoyed all of their dimensions, and even the side characters were thoughtfully written. We have our (sometimes) cynical, anxious MC August, who’s determined to find her own way in life, while helping the people around her. She bonds quickly with her roommates, Myla, Niko, and Wes. I really liked the diversity in the whole cast, with Myla being queer and black, Niko being trans and latino, and Wes being queer and Jewish. They also had a lot more depth in them compared to more typical side characters, and you really got to learn a lot about them. You get to see Niko making the most scarily-accurate psychic predictions, Myla pulling everyone towards her with her bubbly personality, and Wes’s bumbling self as he struggles to commit to a relationship over the fear that he’s not worth it (along with his West Elm secret modern bedroom that not even his roommates have ever seen). They were just so likeable and might honestly be better than the actual MCs.
We also *of course* have our love interest, Jane, who is a Chinese lesbian who has such a fun punk-rocker vibe. She’s cool, collected, and makes a difference in everyone’s lives she enters. There are a lot of chapters that actually start off with news pages and social media posts that discuss people’s mentions of Jane throughout time, which I really enjoyed. For example, we get an instance where she gives a boy a pride pin after he’s been bullied and so many other times where she’s helped people. It’s interesting to see the impact she’s had on so many lives. Despite being different, there are so many similarities between her and August, such as their love for music, that make their relationship really work.
The Plot & Pacing
Here’s where I have a few problems. The pacing is way too slow for my tastes, especially towards the middle of the book. I felt like we got a lot of filler that just didn’t really contribute much. It dragged out the story a lot, and I feel like this could have definitely been a better book if it wasn’t as long. There were some times where the romance just got boring because there wasn’t enough of anything else happening (it is a romance book though, so it’s probably just a me thing).
There were also some mechanics in the plot that were too absurd for my tastes. I feel like this book is centric in contemporary romance, but there are some parts that crank up the sci-fi a bit too much. Like the whole reasoning on how Jane begins to remember her past life, and why she’s so connected with August? I lowkey found that kind of cheesy and dumb. It might just be a me problem though.
I also thought that there were too many coincidental aspects of the plot. Everything lines up perfectly for these characters, and it’s nowhere near realistic at times. There were just too many plot conveniences and times where I was like, “really??” Like, it shouldn’t make sense for everyone to magically has the answer to everything, and for August to get the answers to whatever out-there question she has by talking to one of her five friends. There are also some plot conveniences and things that just didn’t make much sense.
I did enjoy the continuous mystery of discovering what happened to August’s uncle throughout the book though. I actually got confused between him and August because his name is Auggie, and it’s a lesson on why you shouldn’t read books too quickly. I liked how that one sub-plot point carried through the entire story, with it all building up towards the end of the book (despite August telling her mom that she definitely will not help with the case). The main plot of finding Jane’s true identity and untethering her to the train was also somewhat entertaining.
I actually thought that this book was going to surprise me and head towards a bittersweet ending which I SO BADLY WANTED (I was like yes! finally!), but it reverted back to essentially a happily ever after ending (besides one bit, which I didn’t think was bitter enough to twist it). I feel like we just get too many cliche happy endings in romances, and I feel really mean saying this, but I wish something went wrong with the characters.
I feel like I wasn’t as obsessed with the romance as some people. I mean they were cute together, but I can’t really say much more besides that. I don’t have any concrete reason for it, but I just didn’t connect to it and swoon over it as much as I would have liked to. I wanted there to be more romantic tension, but not in the slow-burn “you know what’s going to happen” kind of way. I feel like it’s my obsession over hate-to-love romance taking over, but I needed more angst. I’m definitely not describing it well, but whatever haha.
Anyways, it was a good read overall, but nothing amazing. I similarly thought Red White and Royal Blue was just okay, and I’d place this book a little better than it. I definitely see its appeal to many others, and I think that it’s great that we’ve been getting more popular LGBTQ+ reads recently. I’m still really glad I read this one, and I think that it’s a good one to start off my June with.
Hope you all enjoyed reading this review, and I hope you all have an AMAZING Tuesday! Hopefully I’ll be able to get out some more blog posts when everything slows down next month and over the summer.
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for sending me a e-arc of this one. My reviews are not influenced by this fact.