What I do:

Keen Eye LLC reads pre-published Young Adult novels and gives feedback.

What you do:

You’ve written a YA novel. You’ve revised it multiple times, edited it, and are ready to see what people who are not your friends or relatives think of your writing.

Beta Reading Portfolio:

Beta Reading YA Novels

As a beta reader, I’m giving feedback about my reading experience. Though I am a copyeditor, I will be reading your novel with my leisure eyes, as if it were one of the many sitting on my nightstand.  Does something catch my interest from the first pages? Am I captivated by the plot or the characters and want to keep reading? Is the setting something I can visualize?

I beta read stories that are polished. They have been through several drafts and are ready for a general audience.

I have extensive Young Adult leisure reading experience. I’m a Goodreads Top Reviewer and participate in a book group with Children’s Librarians.

My wheelhouse is contemporary YA, but I read all kinds of YA.

Of note: If your novel is a fantasy, I’m not the best reader unless it takes place in the present and could happen to me:

  • The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim-type fantasy=yep
  • Game of Thrones-type fantasy=nope

Here’s How It Works

First chapter feedback

Rate: free

  • You pick a question you want answered from my list of ten first-chapter beta reading questions
  • You send me your first chapter (maximum 15 pages)
  • I send you feedback
  • If we’re a good fit, I send you a quote for the basic and deluxe feedback plans.

Basic feedback plan

Rate: $0.0015 per word ($15.00 per 10,000 words)

  • You pick ten questions from my list of 85 beta reading questions
  • You send me your full novel
  • I send you a contract
  • You agree to the contract and pay me a deposit
  • I read and provide feedback for those ten questions

Deluxe feedback plan

Rate: the basic feedback plan + $100

  • You decide you want me to answer all 85 beta reading questions
  • You send me your full novel
  • I send you a contract
  • You agree to the contract and pay me a deposit
  • I read and provide feedback for all 85 questions

How much will the basic feedback plan cost for my novel?

I’ve done the math for you in the chart below.

Keen Eye LLC

First Chapter Beta Reading Questions:

Main character:

  • Was it easy to get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is?
  • What did the main character look like?
  • What were the character’s goals?

Other characters:

  • Were the characters believable?
  • Were there the right number of characters?

Conflict:

  • What are the stakes?

Plot/pacing:

  • Is the goal strong enough to sustain the XX,XXX-word story

Questions:

  • After reading the first chapter, what questions were unanswered?

Setting:

  • Was the setting clear from the beginning?

Structure:

  • Did the story hold your interest from the very beginning?

All Beta Reading Questions:

People

Main character

  • Was it easy to get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is?
  • What did the main character look like?
  • What were the character’s goals?
  • What three words describe the main character?
  • Was the main character relatable?
  • Did the main character behave inconsistently?
  • What characteristics were endearing?
  • Is the author masquerading as the protagonist?

Other characters

  • Were the characters believable?
  • Were there the right number of characters?
  • Which character was most enjoyable?
  • Do the characters behave inconsistently?
  • Was it easy to visualize each character?
  • Were there emotions between the characters?
  • Were any characters too much?
  • Were any characters stereotypical?
  • Do any characters get in the way of the story?
  • Do I care about the characters?
  • Do the names fit the characters?

Conflict

  • What are the stakes?
  • What are the stakes after the first chapter?
  • Are the stakes high enough?
  • Was there enough conflict?
  • Is the antagonist sympathetic?
  • Is the antagonist believable?

Dialogue

  • Is there enough dialogue?
  • Did it bog down in places?
  • Was the dialogue interesting and did it sound natural?
  • Are the dialogue tags good?
  • Were the characters doing things while they were talking?

What happens

Plot/pacing

  • Is the goal strong enough to sustain the XX,XXX-word story?
  • Is the rhythm of the story good?
  • What parts were funny or sad?
  • What was the main plot?
  • Was the main plot strong?
  • What were the subplots?
  • Were the subplots strong?
  • Was there a point when the story lagged?
  • Were there parts where you skimmed?
  • Was there anything problematic?
  • Was there anything missing?
  • Does the pace suit the genre?

Interesting?

  • What made the plot unique?
  • Were there any parts where the plot was predictable?

Questions?

  • After reading the first chapter, what questions were unanswered?
  • Was anything confusing?

Story logic    

  • Were there points that were unbelievable or illogical?

Tension and release

  • What was the most suspenseful moment?
  • What were the most emotional scenes?
  • What were the most detached scenes?

Setting

Where does it take place?

  • Was the setting clear from the beginning?
  • Was the setting interesting?

Does the world make sense?

  • Did you have to re-read any part to understand why the world is this way?

Time period

  • Were there any inconsistencies in the time period?

Style

Prose

  • Does the writer have a distinctive, engaging style?
  • What does the prose do best?
  • Is the viewpoint in the right tense?

Imagery and description

  • Was there the right amount of description?
  • Did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you?

Balanced show vs. tell           

  • Is the story told using the active voice?
  • Are there any info dumps?

Unique

  • What scene was the most memorable?
  • Did anything strike you as predictable?

Structure

Beginnings

  • Did the story hold your interest from the very beginning?
  • At what point did you think “now the story has started”?
  • When did you want to put the book down?
  • Is there too much backstory?

Middles

  • What are the balls that are in the air during the middle of the story?
  • Is conflict rising?
  • Do readers need a break?

Endings

  • What was your immediate thought upon finishing?
  • Was the ending satisfying?
  • Was the ending believable?
  • Does it fulfill the book’s promise?
  • Was the ending worth reading the book for?

Mechanics

Grammar, Spelling, Syntax

  • Were there any repeating grammar errors?
  • Were there any repeating spelling errors?
  • Any other quirks?

Comps

Adjectives

  • What are three adjectives to describe this story?
  • What three words would you use to describe the voice?

Read alikes

  • What books did this manuscript remind you of?

YA-specific things

Age

  • What is the age of the main character?

Unique Voice

  • What about this story makes it unique and would appeal to a YA audience?

P.O.V.

  • Is the story told from a perspective that works for a YA audience?

Doesn’t preach

  • Does the story unfold in a way that avoids dictating how readers should feel about specific things?

Beta Reading Portfolio:

You can email me directly: pcc.keen.eye@gmail.com

What I Like:

Here is a list of my 2019 YA five-star reviews on Goodreads:

  • A Heart in a Body in the World—Deb Caletti
  • American Girls—Alison Umminger
  • American Panda—Gloria Chao
  • Dig—A.S. King
  • I, Claudia—Mary McCoy
  • Inventing Victoria—Tonya Bolden
  • Neighborhood Girls—Jessie Ann Foley
  • On the Come Up—Angie Thomas
  • Ordinary Girls—Blair Thornburgh
  • Sorry For Your Loss—Jessie Ann Foley
  • The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge—M.T. Anderson
  • The First Part Last—Angela Johnson
  • The Fountains of Silence—Ruta Sepetys
  • The Revolution of Birdie Randolph—Brandy Colbert
  • This Time Will Be Different—Misa Sugiura
  • We Are the Perfect Girl—Ariel Kaplan
  • With the Fire on High—Elizabeth Acevedo

And my 2019 YA four-star reviews on Goodreads:

  • Birthday—Meredith Russo
  • Butterfly Yellow—Thanhha Lai
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me—Mariko Tamaki
  • Like a Love Story—Abdi Nazemian
  • Ordinary Hazards—Nikki Grimes
  • Patron Saints of Nothing—Randy Ribay
  • Serious Moonlight—Jenn Bennett
  • The Afterward—E.K. Johnston
  • The Field Guide to the North American Teenager—Ben Philippe
  • The Vanishing Stair—Maureen Johnson
  • Unpregnant—Jenni Hendriks
  • Wayward Son—Rainbow Rowell

My 2018 YA five-star reviews on Goodreads:

  • The Sun is Also a Star—Nicola Yoon
  • Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend—Karen Blumenthal
  • Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam—Elizabeth Partridge
  • Ghost Boys—Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue—Mackenzi Lee
  • The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy—Mackenzi Lee
  • Truly Devious—Maureen Johnson
  • The Poet X—Elizabeth Acevedo
  • You’re Welcome, Universe—Whitney Gardner
  • Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961—Larry Dane Brimner

And my 2018 YA four-star reviews on Goodreads:

  • The Anatomical Shape of a Heart—Jenn Bennett
  • Boys Don’t Knit (in Public)—T.S. Easton
  • The Stars Beneath our Feet—David Moore Barclay
  • What I Leave Behind—Alison McGhee
  • My Plain Jane—Cynthia Hand
  • Damsel—Elana K. Arnold
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before—Jenny Han
  • P.S. I Still Love You—Jenny Han
  • Always and Forever Lara Jean—Jenny Han
  • Thunderhead—Neal Shusterman
  • If You Come Softly—Jacqueline Woodson
  • I Have Lost My Way—Gayle Forman
  • Finding Yvonne—Brandy Colbert
  • The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary—NoNiequa Ramos
  • Leah on the Offbeat—Becky Albertalli
  • Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet—Jennifer L. Armentrout, ed.
  • The Journey of Little Charlie—Christopher Paul
  • Dry—Neal Shusterman
  • When My Heart Joins the Thousand—A.J. Steiger
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters—Samira Ahmed
  • Dear Martin—Nic Stone
  • Conviction—Kelly Loy Gilbert
  • The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives—Dashka Slater