I've critiqued Middle Grade, Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Poetry, Short Stories (many) Thriller, literary fiction, and LOADS of women's fiction. I'm genre-promiscuous. The one thing I have a tougher time ripping apart so the author can put it back together is memoir, or thinly-veiled fiction about the author.
Now, most of the time I can do it. I can find issues with pacing, or characterization, or whatever.
But this one time.
This one time, I just did NOT like the main character at all. At ALL.* She was vain and mean! And did terrible things other people's expense! And didn't change a whit throughout the story! And it was So. Clearly. Her.
Gawd. What do you do then? "Hey, the story was fine, but I didn't really like, um...you."
I gave her kind of a half-assed critique, but was too chicken to come right out and say what I was thinking. I know--to each her own. Other people might dig it.
What would you do? Tell her your real thoughts? Or dance all around it?
*If I've critted for you and you are reading this thinking OMG SHE'S TALKING ABOUT ME, don't worry, I'm not. I guarantee the author doesn't read this blog.