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 hiking through the Catskills during a thunderstorm in March and 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 is a gorgeous novel with diverse characters of different ethnicities and sexualities that are true to life in their messiness and earnest missteps. Redgate treats each character with care, gently guiding them through uncomfortable situations and tender, heartfelt moments. Final Draft hits every mark: A must-read."
"Redgate 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."