Reader Spotlight: Haeli the Teenaged World Traveler



In the Reader Spotlight series we ask our smart, diverse and multi-talented readers what makes them tick, and what they're seeing in Spun Yarn manuscripts. Our readers span the gamut of literary taste, so expect to see a little bit of everything! 

Haeli grew up and attended school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but when she turned 15 her parents decided it was time to travel before she grew older and went off on her own. Haeli's family got rid of everything they owned, sold their house, and bought an RV to travel the US and Mexico. Since then they've been to many cities in Mexico, attended a WorldSchooling conference, reunited with Haeli's exchange sister, and are now touring the National Parks. Though Haeli misses her friends, she wouldn't exchange the new Worldschooling perspective she's gained for all the lakes in Michigan. 

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The Spun Yarn: Wow Haeli, you are certainly not the average teen. We're curious – what does a typical day in your life actually look like? 

Haeli:  Lately, I hike all day, then come home to eat dinner and watch a movie. When we're not in the national parks, I usually spend my time reading, editing YouTube videos for my YouTube channel Haeli’s Layne, playing Minecraft with my little sister, and writing the middle grade chapter book I'm currently working on. Of course, I can't go a day without writing to my best friend Faith. We're even better friends now than when I left. 

The Spun Yarn: So this is tough, but we do it to everyone: pick a favorite book and tell us what you love about it.

Haeli: Harry Potter, no question. My Dad started reading the series to me when I was five or six years old, and I was hooked from Chapter 1. I wasn’t a good reader yet, because I didn’t have the patience. The special reading program in school helped a little, but I really started reading when my Dad told me he wouldn't continue the series until I had read the first three by myself. That's all I needed. It was a hard book for a seven-year-old, but I finished the third one by the time I was eight. I'd become one of the best readers in my class, because I found out I loved to read.

The Spun Yarn: You generally read YA manuscripts for us here at The Spun Yarn. What's been your favorite moment as a reader so far?

Haeii: When our editor Sarah emailed me and told me the author of the manuscript I'd just reviewed was inspired by my feedback to keep working on her book after an eight-year hiatus.  I told the author in my feedback how much I truly loved the story, and later the author put a quote from me on her wall! I literally cried when I heard how I had affected someone in such a good way! I can’t wait for that story be published!

The Spun Yarn: So what do you think makes a really fantastic YA novel stand out?

Haeli: Lately I've been into dystopias with complicated but cute romances, such as The Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent. I think the thing that makes a good Young Adult book, or at least one that hooks readers, is a couple's ongoing conflict, such as fighting and lying. I get so annoyed that I basically yell at the characters to TALK to each other! I have to admit that it hooks me though, and I can’t stop reading until the end when the characters are finally in a good relationship. I also think character development is very important, but there are many different tastes in YA, which is why I'm glad that my opinion on a manuscript is one of three.

The Spun Yarn: You've hit on one of the most valuable aspects of the three beta reader package. We're excited to have you read more manuscripts for us and discover new authors you love!