Shara Wheeler disappeared in the middle of prom. Before she did, she kissed Chloe. And Rory. And Smith, which makes sense since he’s her boyfriend. Now, Chloe wants to know why her nemesis kissed her, why she disappeared, and who, of the two of them, will be valedictorian.
I went through many feelings with this book. First I loved it, then it made me uncomfortable, then about two hours from the end it almost lost me but I was still curious to know where it was going. All the while thinking thank god I’m not a teenager anymore. I wish I could say the twists were all unexpected but after a while, I realized the overall atmosphere reminded me of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl , albeit with an almost all-queer cast. It’s a lot more credible, however, and, in the last stretch, a thousand times more interesting. While I was worried about losing interest in the second third, McQuiston grabbed me right back and I really loved the last part.
Chloe is both annoying and very relatable, and all the secondary characters bring something to the story. I, of course, love Smith and Rory, as well as Ash (their explanation of what being non-binary means to them is perfection), Georgia, Ace. Chloe’s moms are suitably cringey and supportive.
One of the things I liked best is how McQuiston writes the weight of religion. Chloe grew up in California until one of her moms had to move back to Alabama to care for Chloe’s grandmother, and Chloe was enrolled in a Christian school. Chloe was already out as a bisexual teen when her family moved and she didn’t go back into the closet. Most of her queer friends, however, have to hide who they are, which makes her feel like even more of an outsider.
As usual, Natalie Naudus is fantastic. I love when a narrator is so good I forget it’s only one person. And I always feel like she enjoys narrating books as much as I enjoy reading them. Not in an obtrusive way, I don’t think about her narrating while I’m listening, but afterwards, when the story is over and I reflect back on the experience, there’s an extra level of enjoyment that’s all hers.
One Last Stop was one of my favourite audiobooks last year and my expectations were probably a tad high for the author’s YA debut. It didn’t completely meet them but it confirmed Casey McQuiston’s status as a must-read author and Natalie Naudus’s as one of the best narrators around.
I Kissed Shara Wheeler @ Libro.fm / Kobo / Scribd (click here to get two free months) / amazon
This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on this blog at no additional cost to you.