Delightful queer rom-com lands on Petaluma bestseller list
The top selling titles at Copperfield’s Books, in Petaluma, for the week of June 7- June 13, 2021
Remember those games where you’d slide little squares around to form a picture? That’s what the local Top 10 Bestselling Books List seems like sometimes, as familiar titles move up and down the list each week to create different pictures of what Petalumans are reading. Last week’s No. 5 bestseller, Maggie O’Farrell’s Shakespearean historical-fantasy “Hamnet,” for example, moves into the top spot this week, while the No. 2 spot is taken over by Andy Weir’s “Project Hail Mary,” last week’s No. 10 title.
Making the game interesting, often, is the sudden arrival of new titles.
Which takes us to this week’s No. 3 spot, occupied by bestselling novelist Casey McQuiston’s brand new “One Last Stop,” a romantic fantasy with a touch of science-fiction. This is McQuiston’s second novel, after the hit 2019 romance “Red, White and Royal Blue,” about the son of the first female American president falling in love with the Prince of England, after the two are forced to fake a friendship for public relations reasons. In the new novel, a young bisexual woman finds herself falling for a mysterious, jean-clad woman she met on the New York subway, only to discover that her crush is an unwilling time-traveler from the 1970s, trapped on that subway train – which tends to make dating a little tricky, but not impossible.
McQuiston, who identifies as non-binary and bisexual, is not the first queer author to attempt a transformation of the historically-straight romance novel, but they might be the youngest to produce a mainstream bestseller of that description. Published in numerous languages in over 10 countries so far, McQuiston’s debut book has proven a breezy beach-read for a wide array of readers looking for a fresh spin on the rom-com novel. After spirited competition from various Hollywood movie studios, the book is currently in production, with the film version to be produced by Amazon Studios.
With McQuiston’s new book, they keep one foot in romantic comedy while solidly planting the other in fantasy/sci-fi. In addition to providing a juicy problem for two people in love to solve, the time-twisty book sets a perfect table on which to explore how young queer folks of today relate to (and often can’t quite appreciate) how very different it was for the same demographic just 40 years ago. Many of the things that young people take for granted today were fought hard for by the queer pioneers of the 60s and 70s, making “One Last Stop” – a kind of “Kate and Leopold” for the 2020s – much more than just a fun read.
More than just affirming the considerable talent suggested by their first book, McQuiston’s follow-up marks the next step in what looks to be a long and successful career. In addition to being a great read, “One Last Stop” will likely make new and existing fans ask, “How soon will we get to read another?”
Here is the complete Top 10 Books on Copperfield’s Fiction and Nonfiction list, along with the full Kids and Young Adults list.
FICTION & NON-FICTION
1. ‘Hamnet,’ by Maggie O’Farrell – Love, destiny and literature collide in this fictional, magic-filled story of William Shakespeare’s wife and the couple’s twin children, Judith and Hamnet.
2. ‘Project Hail Mary,’ by Andy Weir – The bestselling author of “The Martian” has penned another white-knuckler about astronauts, this one following a junior high school science teacher who is sent into the deep space to try and save the world.
3. ‘One Last Stop,’ by Casey McQuiston – The best-selling author of “Red, White and Royal Blue” returns with a brand new novel, a love-story (of sorts) about a bisexual dreamer who falls for a stylish, time-traveling commuter from the ‘70s who’s trapped on a New York subway train, but totally open to love.
4. ‘A Deadly Education,’ by Naomi Novik – Yes, Novik’s 2020 fantasy novel features a less-than-safe boarding school for promising young magic users, but this one, called the Scholomance – filled with terrifying and deadly monsters and a heart-stopping graduation ritual, makes Hogwarts look like Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.
5. ‘Circe,’ by Madeline Miller – The notorious animal-transforming sorceress from “The Odyssey” tells her own story, and guess what? It’s not the same story told by the piggish men she encountered.
6. ‘The Chosen and the Beautiful,’ by Nghi Vo – An inventive re-telling of “The Great Gatsby” from the point of view of mysterious secondary character Jordan Baker: professional golfer, troublemaker, and free spirit who, in this version, was adopted from Vietnam, and is not wholly unfamiliar with magic.