This feedback is on Part 1 (Installment #1) of the 4 part serial novel.
Some of these are a bit heart wrenching in a subtle way. But it shows I hit my target right on the mark. Readers identified with the characters. I was also happy to see that among gifted readers, the book has no gender. Among nongifted readers, it is very strongly a boy book. What this means is that among gifted readers, who the character was rather than their gender was the important fact. I deliberately wrote the characters in the book to be toward the center of the gender stereotype spectrum, both male and female.
I asked the kids who their favorite character was and which chapter was their favorite chapter. Those two in combination tell me how they perceived the book.
Boy - 11 years old
The science concepts are not difficult and VERY cool.The whole book is interesting! I like how I can relate to the characters. I’m different just like they are. They are misunderstood and only their parents understand them – I understand that! Keep doing what your doing. It's great.
[I know how you feel too. It's one reason I wrote this book. I wanted more people to know how it feels. And I wanted people who feel differently to know that they are not the only ones. It's a big theme in part 2 (installment #2). "I want to know how it feels to be you" says a character.]
Boy – 11 years old
The science was hard, but started to make sense 1/2 way through. Tova is my favorite character. At first she wasn't sure about what she was doing, but then she got it as she became more experienced. All the chapters were good. Keep the development of the science slower so we can process how their brains work.
[You are reading MS3 (manuscript 3). In MS4 I've put a lot more lovers bickering going back and forth between Stefan and Tova2. And they are there invisibly commenting about what's going on so you get to see into their head a lot more. So instead of the science being jammed into one chapter, it is spread across 3 chapters. However, in exposing more of what goes on their heads, while Stefan's dad is still very close to Stefan, the mom is slightly evil. Hopefully this won't ruin it for you. ]
Boy – 11 years old
Favorite character ELOF2 – b/c I liked his personality. The 2nd part of Chapter 1 was my favorite b/c it talked about the background. Solid work – the beginning is a little hard to understand / confusing b/c it pops right into Stefan and the realm. The realm of mystery makes it interesting.
[You'll be happy to know that by the end of Part 4 you know all there is to know about Elof2. I changed Part 4 before I went out with it to give Elof2 a first class ending.]
Girl - 10 years old
Ty is my favorite character b/c he knows everything. Every chapter was good. Metaphor: Stefan not having any friends is similar to what I've experienced. Sometimes I saw where it starts out as paul25 and has only 2 people yet that same character says that is is Peter25.
[Yes there is a mistake in that version of the manuscript, it should always be Paul25, there is no Peter25. It's amazing how many errors I find every time I read the manuscript, no matter how many times I go through it. I know how you feel. I mostly went through normal schools and wore "the cloak" most of the time. That limited the available number of friends. Other cloaked people were too shy to come out or twisted and cynical from the abuse they had received.]