Cover image for Final draft
Final draft
Final draft
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : Amulet Books, 2018.
Physical Description:
262 pages ; 22 cm
Eighteen-year-old Laila Piedra is a biracial aspiring author whose creative writing teacher always told her she has a special talent, so when he suddenly dies and is replaced by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman's approval and is led to believe she must choose between perfection and sanity, but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.


Call Number
Material Type
YA F REDGATE New or Popular Book YA Fiction

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Riley Redgate is a recent graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where she was an economics major. Her first two novels, Noteworthy and Seven Ways We Lie, earned critical acclaim. She currently lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY.

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Laila wants to be a writer more than anything. She loves science fiction and is writing her very first novel that she'll only show to her writing instructor. He encourages her to share it with her friends, but she is reluctant. When her instructor gets into an accident, her world is upended as the substitute, a famous author, becomes harshly critical of her writing. She claims her work lacks verve and suggests that Laila go out and experience life. Laila does things she would never normally do-goes to parties, gets a fake ID, and takes risks-all in the hopes of bringing more to her stories. The protagonist is half Ecuadorian and half French Canadian; she is also pansexual and plus sized. Many of the characters in the book also come from different backgrounds and sexual orientations. While the writing is very well done, the formatting can be strange sometimes when depicting the story that Laila has written (there is no spacing between the words). Redgate's engaging style draws readers in, and the main character will resonate with young people. VERDICT A recommended purchase for YA shelves, -especially where Redgate has fans.-Kristin Joy -Anderson, Bloomingdale Public Library, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Laila Piedra is as well-behaved as they come: her hobbies consist mainly of writing sci-fi stories and watching a cult TV show with her friends. Her creative writing teacher is nothing but supportive, and he encourages Laila to take pride in her work. When an accident puts him out of commission for the rest of Laila's senior year, however, Laila suddenly finds herself at the mercy of Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize winner who is thoroughly unimpressed by her students. Laila is unexpectedly tasked with learning how to be present in her own life. That means taking a few risks and having a few adventures, but it also means exploring her sexuality coming to terms with not just who she's attracted to but with the fact that she has sexual feelings at all. Redgate (Noteworthy, 2017) offers up an intensely focused portrait of a girl who, through first love and first loss, begins to find the story she wants to tell. For many cautious teens, watching Laila come into her own will be a triumph.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist