One of the best ways to convince me to steer clear of a book is to call it a “slow burn.” When I read that phrase, I think “ugh, boring.” But that isn’t fair or accurate and I’m going to try to stay open to books that people deem slow burns. Why? Well…I just read one. And am feeling glad that I stuck with it.
To say that Casey McQuiston’s latest novel, One Last Stop is a slow burn does not mean it is boring. It just takes time to get where it is going. The first third of the book doesn’t have a ton of action. The third act moves by like a freight train (or subway train, as the case may be). I tend to give up when books don’t hook me in the first few chapters. But these characters hooked me from the first page.
McQuiston has a gift for writing endearing and relatable characters. That’s what made me love McQuiston’s first novel, Red, White, and Royal Blue, and that is what made this slow burn of a novel work so well. You will fall in love with August, her quirky roommates, and the ever-fabulous drag queen that lives down the hall. And you will fall in love with Jane, the enigmatic woman that August always seems to run into on the Q train.
This book isn’t perfect; it took me some time to get through the first third. But I kept reading here because I wanted to see what would happen with these characters. I’m so glad I stuck with it. The humor made me giggle and the romance made my heart go pitter patter. And the last third is a very fun ride. It is a slow burn, for sure. But the payoff is worth it. I don’t think I would’ve been so invested had the first part of the book been more “exciting” and less “getting to know these characters.”
If you liked McQuiston’s other work, or if you like oddball time-travelish themes, give this book a go. Let yourself fall in love with these fun characters and then go on a ride with them in act three. You won’t be disappointed!