Good morning, everyone. How did you sleep? Here, take this cup of coffee and join me in the kitchen, because today we’re making a breakfast sandwich together.
No, not just any breakfast sandwich. We’re making the Su Special from One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston.
What’s the Su Special, you ask? I’ll let my good pal Casey explain:
(excerpt from eARC and subject to change)
First thing’s first, let’s gather our ingredients. Here’s what we’ll need:
- Texas toast
- one egg
- two slices of bacon
- maple syrup
- hot sauce
- and most importantly, a copy of One Last Stop
This last ingredient may not seem essential in this process, but I assure you that it is. You can’t have a Su Special without meeting Jane Su herself, after all.
In case you don’t already know, allow me to tell you a little about the book.
In One Last Stop, we meet cynical August, who moves to New York hoping to let herself disappear. Then she meets a girl on the subway — a beautiful, magnetic, mysterious girl who makes August care more than she wants to…and who might, in fact, be displaced in time from the ‘70s.
This is one of those books that is impossible to put a finger on what about it makes it so special. Maybe it’s because I read it at the perfect time in my life, since I am, like August, twenty-three and a little adrift and feeling like everyone else has it figured out more than I do. Maybe it’s the cast of eclectic characters that we meet, including the little found family that August creates within her apartment. Maybe it’s just the magic of a big city and a romance that feels even bigger, powerful enough to transcend time.
Also, I never thought a book could make me miss the New York subway, but here we are.
With that thought, let’s move over to the stovetop and start frying our bacon. Pretty straightforward on this one, folks—just let it sizzle away until it’s reached your preferred level of crispiness. At this point, if you’re working with frozen Texas toast like I am, I’d recommend sticking it in the oven on a low heat to give the insides plenty of time to warm up.
I’ve mentioned August already, but I really cannot emphasize enough to you how much I love her (and relate to her to an almost painful degree). Prickly, slow to trust, and even slower to allow herself to hope, she expects to let New York swallow her up. She doesn’t really know what it feels like to have a place to belong—and people to belong to—so when she starts to find that in the city, she has no idea how to handle it.
And Jane! You know when you read a romance novel and find yourself falling a little bit in love with the love interest because you’re reading them through the POV character’s eyes? Yeah, that definitely happened to me with Jane. Like the sandwich named after her, Jane is a contradiction of flavors: sweet and sharp mixed together and somehow complementing each other perfectly. I am reduced to a string of heart-eye emojis anytime I think about her.
Oh look, bacon is done! Time to set it aside and fry an egg in all that leftover bacon grease. I know the recipe calls for a runny egg, but I don’t like runny eggs, so I’ll be cooking mine a little longer. You do whatever you like best, though!
In One Last Stop, you’ll meet quite a few other character to fall in love with, including August’s roommates, the drag queen across the hall, her coworkers at the diner where she works, and more. In true rom-com style, everyone feels both larger-than-life yet entirely realistic, as they occupy a world that feels like our own but with maybe a touch more magic.
If you’ve read Red, White & Royal Blue, you already know how captivating Casey McQuiston’s writing is. The banter is hilarious, the romance is electric (pun intended), the character voices are clear and sharp. By now, I’ve read this book twice, and both times I didn’t want to stop once I’d started, since it pulls me in completely.
Well, the egg is fried. And would you look at that, the Texas toast in the oven is all warm and crispy! It’s sandwich assembly time.
Egg on toast, then go ahead and smother with maple syrup and hot sauce. Don’t be afraid to go wild with it—on my first sandwich (pictured here), I was skimpy with the syrup and hot sauce since I didn’t want to go overboard, but it’s also delicious when it’s absolutely dripping out the sides.
Once that’s taken care of, pile on the bacon, cover it up with the second piece of toast, and…there!
You’ve made yourself a Su Special.
One Last Stop is about many things: family, queer history, pancakes, kissing for research, coming of age, the inherent romanticism of sharing music, late nights on the Manhattan Bridge, drag, falling in love, and so much more. It’s witty, it’s charming, it’s big, it’s breathtaking. Most of all, it manages to capture feeling young and lost and finding a place, a community, and a person with which you belong for the first time. I hope you’ll give it a chance.
Published June 1, 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: new adult contemporary
Content warnings: mentions of racism, homophobia, neglect
Have you read One Last Stop, or do you plan to? What do you think of the Su Special?