Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Review by Doreen Lundon, JCSP Librarian, Mount Seskin Community College.

Meet Laila Piedra, a straight-laced student with a love for reading, watching and more particularly writing sci-fi. When her favourite teacher and number one writing fan, Mr. Madison, is hurt in a car accident, Laila starts to look at her writing differently. She has a new-found feeling of lived experience that affects what goes into her stories. A new teacher is assigned to her creative writing class to replace Mr. Madison, a Pulitzer Prize winning author who is unimpressed with Laila’s work. She pushes Laila to step away from her stories and to take risks, something she has successfully avoided her whole life.

This is a beautifully descriptive tale of friendship, fandom, creativity and self discovery. Laila’s journey takes her out of her comfort zone and into perilous situations within her relationships and out in the world of her peers. A thoroughly modern YA tale with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters, Final Draft stars a plus-sized, biracial, pansexual lead. Anxiety, depression and grief are dealt with realistically and with great empathy. At first glance the story may seem predictable, but each time the author gently takes you in an unexpected direction. Laila’s story is both timeless and refreshingly new with an ever-present empathetic view.

Young Adult Fiction

Age 14+