TITLE: Final Draft
AUTHOR: Riley Redgate
PUBLISHER: Amulet Books
GENRE: Young Adult, LGBT+, Romance, Contemporary
RATING: 4/5 Stars
Laila Piedra doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and definitely doesn’t sneak into the 21-and-over clubs on the Lower East Side. The only sort of risk Laila enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before graduation, Laila’s number one fan is replaced by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who sees nothing at all special about Laila’s writing.
A growing obsession with gaining Nazarenko’s approval—and fixing her first-ever failing grade—leads to a series of unexpected adventures. Soon Laila is discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, and the beauty of temporary flings and ambiguity. But with her sanity and happiness on the line, Laila must figure out if enduring the unendurable really is the only way to greatness.
What I Liked:
- Redgate's signature style was very much present! I loved her sense of humour, diverse characters (especially the side characters), and a simple plot that was well-crafted. It also contained some great musings from the MC on a variety of topics - masturbation, LGBT+ relationships, body positivity, grief, friendship and drugs.
- I liked that Redgate didn't fall into the 'MC falls for cute guy who seems aloof but is secretly pure, misunderstands everything and then finds out that it was ALL A HUGE MISUNDERSTANDING and gets with them' trope. He was aloof for a reason. It wasn't a misunderstanding. And that's okay. Thanks for keeping things interesting.
What I Disliked:
- While I liked this book a lot, I'd probably name it my least favourite of her three. Part of this is because Redgate created a much more subdued MC, Laila, this time around and I didn't connect with her as much as I did previous MCs. That's not to say that Laila was a bad MC though, she was still complex and well-crafted and I was still 100% here for her. I think my favourite character in the book was Hannah though.
This was a truly enjoyable read and I'm glad I finally got round to it. Redgate really shows all of those authors that think diversity is a checklist to be ticked off how it's truly done. I'm here for a pansexual, biracial MC ANY day and a lesbian, Korean best friend is also high on my priority list. There were plot threads that seemed to amount to very little, but I think that's the nature of school. Things FEEL like they'll impact largely on your life and then they leave very little damage in the end. A great read that features a writer too!