My (20's F) friend (30's M), we will call him "Jesse", started writing a short story several years ago. Over the years, he would occasionally ask if I had any interest in reading it, to which I would say yes. Every time I attempted to read it, I would get a few chapters in and lose interest as it frankly wasn't super well written. Jump to the start of the pandemic and Jesse decides while he is unemployed, that he is going to make a push to finish and publish the story as a novel. He found a small publisher to take it on and worked tirelessly on it for several hours a day. He was very adamant about the date he wanted it to come out, which I thought was odd as this was a date he imposed on himself somewhat arbitrarily saying that "he needs deadlines to get things done". I understood this though I did wonder whether this was the right approach as a first time author-- I would have thought he would want to take as much time as necessary in order to have the best possible finished product. But it didn't make a difference to me, so I just left him to his work.
Jump again to the book's release. He finished it on the timeline he wanted, even having it professionally edited and had at least a dozen "beta" readers. He was getting pretty good feedback and I was looking forward to reading it. I finally got my copy (don't worry, I paid for it because I am not that shit of a friend) and figured it would take me only a few days as it was a young adult/coming of age novel.
Guys...it was not good.
I was right it did take me a few days to finish, but mostly because I got no joy out of it whatsoever (aside from a few inside jokes that only I and our friends would have understood). When he excitedly asked me what I thought, as I am the most avid reader of any of our friends, I tried to be as supportive as I could without being too critical. Basically I said as little as possible and decided I would continue to be supportive of him and just let my copy collect dust on my bookshelf.
However he has announced that he has ALREADY STARTED WRITING THE SEQUEL and wants to have it published by 2023. He is so excited and already asked if we all would read it. But honestly, as much as I love him and want him to do well, I don't think I could get through another book.... So, would I be the asshole if I didn't read his sequel?