Final Draft by Riley Redgate
Releases June 12
First of all, I am so sorry about that title. I could not resist. Second of all, I already know this is on my top ten of the year and I plan to read 260 books this year. Please. Read. This.
This is one of those rare books that is an organic piece of life itself. It has been a full month since I watched this movie and I am still so shook by it and so invested and,,, oh my god. Guys, do not sleep on this. This is going on my preemptive top ten of the year and no one can stop me.
Okay, so now that I’ve stopped crying again, let’s get to why this book is so good. At its heart, I think this book is a perfect conveyment of what it is really like to be a teenage girl growing up in our current society and what it is like to struggle with yourself, to struggle with your friends right before you go to college. So for me – I am also beginning to deal with the college application process – there’s that sense of how personal this book is for me.
That’s one level to it, but there are so many more. Like, okay Final Draft stars a pansexual biracial Ecuadorian plus-size lead with anxiety. And listen, the way the narrative talks about Laila’s experience of being pansexual, of being biracial, of being Ecuadorian, of being plus size, of having anxiety: it’s all there and it’s all amazing. And if you relate to any single one of these things, you will get her. Because the way Riley Redgate writes Laila is so… empathetic. I have never felt a character on the same level that I felt this character. Redgate will just make one passage at the end of a chapter focus on a specific part of Laila’s experience in the world, and suddenly you feel as if your life has been changed forever. Like that one chapter where Laila talks about how she was taught to be ashamed of sex and romance to the point where her pansexuality felt shameful, and it’s not even about her being queer, but about her being ashamed to feel at all – I felt that.
You know, I think integrating so many different discussions into the narrative could have made for a slightly all-over-the-place book, but it does not at all. Redgate knows exactly where to place her quotes and exactly how to compose the narrative so that every aspect of Laila’s life feels like an authentic part of a big picture and more importantly, a fundamental part of her character arc.
I don’t know how that’s possible. But… she did it?
This book is also about Laila falling in love with – it’s kind of a spoiler but I DON’T CARE I HAVE TO SCREAM – her best friend, Hannah, who is a Korean lesbian. And can I just scream for a minute because their romance is SO SUBTLE AND SO PERFECT. Oh my god, I spent the first 45% of the book thinking I was imagining it, maybe, but totally shipping them anyway. You do not understand. Hanna/Laila being canon is the best thing in my life and the only thing keeping me alive for the next year.
Listen, guys, this book made one of the biggest impacts on me of any book I read this year. I don’t remember the last time I read a YA contemporary so real, so in touch with the emotions and moods of every character. and a total masterpiece. I have no idea how ANYONE could write something this fantastic but I do know that this is one of the best books of 2018 and one of my absolute F A V E things I’ve read. I highlighted literally about half this book. I completely love this book. Please read it.
Have you read this one? Have you read any other Riley Redgate? Are you interested? [Please be interested!] And let me know in the comments!