Before I get into this, I'd just like to say these are my opinions. I am in no way saying that you should have these opinions or that mine are correct. This is simply a post open to discussion, and you're free to share your opinions as well. :) I love hearing them!
Characters, for me, are the basis of a story. Not plot, not the action, not even the writing. The characters have to be phenomenal. They have to be in depth, and they have to feel real. They need to make me cry and laugh just like the people I know in real life. And if they don't do that, if they feel flat and boring and only the plot is in depth and excellent, then I won't like the book as much as others would. The characters are half the battle for me.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson is a good example. There were such great characters in this book (I talked about them in my review) and I loved reading about them. I was barely even aware I was reading a story. It felt like something real, like a true story of someone I knew. And those are the kinds of books I like to read. I don't want to know I'm reading a story - I want to feel as if I'm living it.
That said, the other elements have to be a part of the story as well. Plot and the quality of the writing shouldn't be set aside to focus on characters, as much as they matter. The plot has to have a good pace and the writing has to be at least somewhat good. It's just that personally the characters matter the most for me. I'm curious to see if it matters to others as much as it matters to me.
Sorry the post is a bit short today! I have exams to study for, it this post will just be a quick read. :)
What do you look for in a story? How much do characters matter to you?