Not that I’m afraid of criticism, mind you. After 34 years’ experience as a professional actor, 25 years as a middle school teacher and nine as a stand-up comedian, I’ve become pretty thick-skinned. But I think people are too quick to give a novel one star. Call me crazy, but now that I know what goes into creating one, I’d reserve those single-star ratings for works of epic failure, works of dreck so loathsome or lazy that no other score is possible. And, to me, such works are nearly mythological in nature: I may have seen one or two over the years, but I can’t recall the circumstances or anything else about the books.
If you don’t like a novel, consider the possibility that it’s simply not to your taste, not “your thing,” your cup of tea. That doesn’t mean it won’t be wildly popular with others. Why spoil their party? If the book seems somewhat less-than-average, okay, give it a two. If it’s average, a three. One star reviews are excessively harsh and, from what I’ve read in various forums, can be seen as punitive, which is the last approach one should take with a young or novice writer. You want them to get better? ENCOURAGE, don’t discourage. Be generous and offer suggestions as to what might make the next effort better.
Anyone can criticize. Support creation.