Perfection in Book Shape // ARC Review: Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Title: Final Draft
Author: Riley Redgate
Publication Date: June 12th 2018
Publisher: Amulet Books
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Abrams Chronicle (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon US || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra 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 her graduation, he's suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed. At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.
SO. That happened.

I actually read one of my most anticipated releases of the year from one of my favourite contemporary authors and it DEFIED my already VERY HIGH EXPECTATIONS.

And I’m at a loss for words, staring at this blinking cursor thinking about HOW TO SUM UP MY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS MARVELLOUS CREATION, unable to pick up another book because BOOK HANGOVER wondering how to move on when, well, Final Draft was perfection in book shape.

More than anything, this book was real.

It was candid about insecurity and striving for perfection and approval, about growing up and physical attraction and understanding your own body and Riley Redgate wrote Laila Piedra SO EMPATHETICALLY that the events of the entire book felt like they were unfolding right in front my eyes in real time, and not within the pages of a book.


1.       Laila, our main character is a pansexual, biracial, Ecuadorian PLUS-SIZED lead that struggles with mental health issues like anxiety. HOLY WOW. Also, Riley Redgate deals with each and every one of these elements with finesse.
2.        Final Draft, like all of Riley’s books comprise of all these LEVELS. On the first, this book is about a young write trying to attain perfection. On another, it’s about a biracial teenage girl and her relationship with her friends and family. On yet another, it’s a portrayal of grief and lashing out. And, perhaps the most important level is how Riley Redate explores the relationship we have with ourselves, physically, emotionally and sexually and reading all of these elements balancing each other out was such a brilliant experience.

3.       The friend dynamic. I absolutely loved Felix, Hannah, Leo and Laila’s   relationship with each other and I AM SO HAPPY THERE WAS NOBODY SAYING “OH are you in love with one of the boys?” BECAUSE BOYS AND GIRLS ARE CAPABLE OF BEING JUST FRIENDS, YOU KNOW.

4.       Laila is an INTROVERTED PLUS-SIZED WRITER WITH ANXIETY and, well, I don’t think I can ever describe how much seeing a character like me represented on the page means, especially one written so well.

5.       I quite loved Riley Redgate’s portrayal of Nadia Nazarenko as well. She was ruthless, cut-throat and a highly dedicated writer and I loved reading about her.

6.       THE ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK, JUST LIKE IN RILET’S DEBUT, Seven Ways We Lie, was so GORGEOUSLY SUBTLE and I didn’t know whether to ship the two characters in question or not because if I wasn’t right, my heart would’ve broken but OH MY GOD – THIS BOOK, AND THIS SHIP WAS EVERYTHING I HOPED IT WOULD BE AND MORE.

In conclusion, Final Draft is one of those books it should be a crime to not read.

A BRILLIANT, diverse cast of characters, packed into the pages of a multi-layered book that explores anxiety, sexuality, friendship, perfection, family and more and… JUST PICK IT UP ALREADY. 

Image result for riley redgate author
Riley Redgate is a graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Her first two novels, Noteworthy and Seven Ways We Lie, earned critical acclaim. She lives and writes in Chicago.

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