Thanks for responding. I knew it would be a long shot, but it cost nothing, and what costs nothing these days? When I first wrote the novel years ago–in longer form–I had it read by the children of some friends.
The agent hasn’t started sending the manuscript out due to his vacation, and it was his idea to get current feedback on it before sending it out, not mine. Mainly to see if the controversial aspects of the story–the father’s insanity and his suspicion that the protagonist is not his child–cause problems. I no longer know parents of children in the right age group.
I’m sure there are areas where one could advertise for readers and succeed, but I don’t live in one. I approached the local library system to see if their young readers groups would be receptive, but they don’t have any such groups due to lack of interest on the part of the kids.
I might have to go further afield to find readers. There’s still the flake factor, which reduces the feedback received, but there’s nothing to be done about that.