I've had 2 readers go back and read the most recent edits to "HOMD." One is my 13 yo son, the other my dear friend, D.
While it might seem on first blush to be a poor choice for objective readers, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that these two are some of the best, most honest readers a writer can hope for.
My son is brutally, bluntly honest about his reactions. He will not hesitate to tell me that something didn't work for him, or if he didn't understand it. This particular story, of all the novels I have written (at least the ones it is appropriate for him to read!) is his favorite. He has read it multiple times over the years between first and this latest draft. I wanted him to read this incarnation, as he is so familiar with the story, he would be able to tell me if the additions felt organic or if they felt tacked on.
My dear friend, D. has known me for over 20 years. We were roommates together in graduate school and we have long been reading the same genres and recommending books for one another. She is an ideal reader for a variety of reasons: She has an amazing eye for detail and continuity, yet she also sees the larger view and is able to move from micro to macro seamlessly. She loves the genres of books that I write. Unlike me (with two teenage boys), she has a teenage girl, so her perspective on the YA female is invaluable. And most importantly, she understands *me* and my goals. She knows I don't need hand holding or pats on the back and that what I crave is the feedback that will help me make the story better--whatever that takes.
I am beyond pleased that both of these demanding, exacting readers have given my most recent edits of the "HOMD" their thumbs up.