STARRED REVIEW
June 2018

Preparing to launch

By Riley Redgate

Laila Piedra is a senior in high school, facing down the final weeks before graduation, when everything in her life goes sideways. For years, she has enjoyed the encouragement of her creative writing teacher, Mr. Madison, who is the only person with whom she shares her sci-fi stories. Writing and being with her three best friends is the entirety of Laila’s world. She doesn’t cause problems and she’s never been on a date, much less in love. But Laila is (mostly) happy.

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Laila Piedra is a senior in high school, facing down the final weeks before graduation, when everything in her life goes sideways. For years, she has enjoyed the encouragement of her creative writing teacher, Mr. Madison, who is the only person with whom she shares her sci-fi stories. Writing and being with her three best friends is the entirety of Laila’s world. She doesn’t cause problems and she’s never been on a date, much less in love. But Laila is (mostly) happy.

When Mr. Madison gets in an accident and is replaced by a prize-winning novelist, Laila isn’t prepared for the avalanche of changes. Readers will think they already know the trajectory of Laila’s path: new teacher helps protagonist become a better writer. The reader would be correct, but only to a point, as author Riley Redgate (Noteworthy) surprises us with a heart-wrenching twist.

Final Draft may be filled with the high school angst and self-discovery that’s expected of young adult novels, but the story is deliciously elevated by its emotional depth and Redgate’s snarky prose. With the book’s explorations of sex and some adult language, the publisher’s age recommendation of 13 and up may not be true for all, but Final Draft should be a must-have for high school libraries.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Final Draft

Final Draft

By Riley Redgate
Amulet
ISBN 9781419728723

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