I’m back! I took a nice long break from blogging while i finished semester two of uni and got my blogging mojo back. At the start of my haitus I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Final draft by Riley Redgate, which I devoured within a few days.
4 out of 5 stars
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.
This book was an amazing coming of age story, giving a pretty accurate depiction of the struggles of the teenage life of Laila – a relateable character who is currently struggling with her body image, sexuality and her writing. Laila discovers herself and comes to terms with the former through the latter. After losing her favourite teacher – and almost friend – she gains a new one, whose comments of her writing appear harsh and critical at first. However, it is this that begins to help Laila to step outside of her comfort zone, throwing herself into life and the social world she’s ignored for so long. She also encourages her to explore her experiences of grief and hidden sexuality, which not only allows her to create a better story, but also to create a sense of acceptance and a kinder inner narrative. Once this is reached her improved sense of happiness almost jumps off the page, and the difference between Laila at the start of the book and Laila at the end of the book is the embodiment of self-discovery. I love the message this sends across – without struggle there is no progress. No-one in this world has gained anything worth having without having to fight for it first, and this is definitely the case with Laila’s story, and subsequently her newfound understanding of herself. I loved this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a touching, coming of age YA novel.
Final draft will be released on the 12th of June!