Right now, I'm editing part of my critique partner's novel while he's editing mine. This has actually never happened before, and we've been having fun saying that we can't be mean to one another because we have each other's babies. There is a big difference between what we're reading, though. I have the latest (of many) drafts of the fantasy novel he's been working on for years. He has the fourth draft of my second complete novel, which is contemporary suspense. I've read almost every draft of his novel; this is his first glimpse of mine.
I've mentioned how honest my friend is about my writing. I mean, he told me straight out that the intro of this book sucked. In fact, it sucked so much that it actually made him much less eager to read the rest of the novel. He has started it since, however, and is teasing me with Facebook messages that say things like, "Just thought I should tell you, I'm reading TOSOL again. The darkness is overwhelming." When we got together last, he asked me who I was reading when I was writing the novel. I mentioned John Green, and he nodded. "You can see his influence," my friend said, totally making my day. Another thing that did so? Him saying he was pulled into my novel. I was practically dancing.
I think this all goes to show that a) one can recover from a bad beginning and b) I am growing in my writing. :)