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Book Review: One Last Stop

New York.

A place where someone can go to disappear into the sea of humanity. A place that is gritty and real and about as far away as August Landry can get from her mother. Growing up in the shadow of her missing uncle’s memory, August longs to find a place where she can simply be August. She isn’t looking for love. She isn’t looking for home. She’s simply looking for a way to survive while attending Brooklyn College. She finds an apartment (filled with roommates but hey, that’s New York). A job (waiting tables, but it pays the bills and keeps her fed). And the best subway route to and from school.

What sensible, practical August certainly doesn’t expect to find is a woman who makes her pulse race and breath catch.

But that’s exactly what she finds in the mysterious, seductive, kind, and generous butch-ish lesbian girl on the train. Jane. Jane who is always there whenever August gets on the train. Jane who avoids questions about herself. Jane, who’s there with a laugh, or a band-aid, or a laugh after a tough time. Day after day. Train ride after train ride, August finds herself falling for Jane.

But when August sees a picture from 1976 with Jane in it. She’s suddenly catapulted into a mystery. Is Jane a ghost? A memory? Time displaced? And what’s more… how can August help her? And will helping Jane mean breaking August’s heart?

I did not know how much I needed this book in my life until I read it. It was everything my queer bisexual self needed. One Last Stop features some of my favorite tropes: found family, love in the big city, quantum physics. You know… the fun stuff!

The book is like a love letter to New York and in particular Queer New York. From Drag Queens to transgender bad bartenders (who also happens to be psychic) to adorably gruff gays to pansexual teddy bears. This book is filled with so much queer representation that it just made my heart sing… and also feels true to the NYC and the queer community that I know.

But this book isn’t a book about coming out. It’s a book about love. And about the power of love. Not just romantic love, but also the love of friends, and community. The love of a place and the love of a time. The romance drives and informs the plot, but it’s not the only thing going on. There’s a lot of journey of self-discovery in this… but this isn’t a coming out story. It’s a story of finding oneself when one is lost… and all the different ways that means.

August is such a complex character. Not always likeable, but she’s still filled with redeeming qualities. She’s guarded… closed off… but with good reason. She’s skeptical of people… also with good reasons. But at the same time she’s kind, she cares, and she’s resourceful. Watching her open herself up is a lovely journey.

Jane is an enigma… which is the point. Asian, butch, punk, lesbian. She’s got a lot of experience, but there’s also something naïve about her too. She’s a puzzle. But she’s also solidly there. She’s more than just her labels. She affects so many people with her presence – as seen in little articles/posts/etc. that often begin chapters.

And this isn’t just a lesbian romance. It’s a queer romance. A bisexual romance. What’s more, August’s bisexuality doesn’t go away when she enters a relationship. She’s still as bi as she was before she started dating – which speaking as a bisexual myself this is true to life. Bisexual erasure is a thing. Bisexual people often aren’t accepted in either the gay or straight community. Seeing it here meant a lot to me. I felt seen. I felt accepted. I felt valid.

Honestly, this book is lovely and everyone needs to read it.

Five Stars

If this is your jam, you can get it here.

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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley

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