Title: Final Draft
Author: Riley Redgate
Review: I have tried reading Riley Redgate’s newest book several times and after reading Noteworthy & Seven Ways We Lie and loving both I had high expectations for this book. The first time I tried reading this I abandoned it about halfway through, several months on I have decided to give Laila another chance, but I am currently 85 pages in and there is only a single line that I have really enjoyed, so it wasn’t looking good for this book. The friendship dynamic between the characters is great and I really like the characters, but nothing is happening at the moment.
As we cross into the second half of the novel, Laila is coming out of her shell very slowly but only because her new creative writing teacher is a published author and tells her that in order to write good work, she must experience the same emotions and activities as her characters, within reason of course and Laila really takes this to heart. However, she does keep in touch with Mr, Madison even after his accident and through his physical therapy. Laila continues to gain some new experience including but not limited to getting her first fake ID, going to a club and getting her first make out session. While these are all great experiences for Laila as a character, this night out is the most exciting thing to happen in the novel so far.
Watching Laila discover new things that every teenager discovers at some point was interesting for someone so focused and reserved and there was one scene that was beautifully written in the most realistic fashion despite the very slow start I was actually starting to get into Final Draft. With less than 100 pages left, I wasn’t really sure how Riley Redgate could pull out the punches, she has with her other novels. Seeing Laila slowly shed her anxieties to become more like her friends was wonderful as she becomes her own person. However, when Laila experiences betrayal and heartbreak for the first time and despite not loving her as a character I really wanted to give her a hug, but this is the first of many painful experiences Laila will go through as she gets older.
When faced with a new challenge Laila feels like her whole universe has been turned upside down but what worries her the most is getting a passing grade in creative writing which seems like a very weak character motivation to me, personally. When Laila’s world is torn apart, she ends up taking a dive off the deep end just like most people would in this situation if they were in her shoes. I did feel, however, that because Laila wasn’t exposed to these situations, she has developed any coping mechanisms for these situations and given everything she has gone through I am very worried for her.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, Laila is working harder and harder to achieve perfection and she has yet to realise that perfect doesn’t exist. However, in her quest to be perfect she is shutting everyone else out which results in a huge argument between her and her best friend, Hannah, which is unheard of for this pair. The ending of Final Draft was interesting as we see several elements touched upon finally flourish. While Final Draft isn’t my favourite book by Riley Redgate, it was well worth the read as she explores teen pressures, sexuality and one girl’s journey to find herself.
Buy it here:
Also see: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
I received this review copy from Abrams & Chronicle