Characters are the most important part of the experience for me. I want to read about real people. Not real as in I’ve already met them, but real as in believable. As in I could imagine someone being that way or acting this way. Behaving in expected ways, not random out-of-character ways. And don’t even think about having a new character show up just to make a point, then disappear, never to be heard from again (I’m talking to you Kristin Hannah).
When they talk to each other, I want it to be as though I am standing there listening to them talk. When you’re standing in the school hallway with your bestie, you don’t say “that class sure was hard today, was it not? I need to hurry home and complete my homework.” No, you say “damn, Ms. Smith was bitchy today, right? What the hell crawled up her ass?” If I am sitting there thinking ‘that is not how real people speak,’ that means I have been pulled put of the story. Don’t pull me out of the story.
And finally, I need heart pounding hotness! Not necessarily graphic soft core stuff (though I enjoy that once in a while!), but real love that makes your heart pound and your palms sweat. The kind that fills your head with the other person so there’s no room for anything else. In other words, pure, true love. You know, the kind that only a young teenager can feel.
Everything is graded on a 1 – 5 star ( ) scale, with 5 being the best.
Characters = 1 star is for the flattest, lamest characters, who are total clichés and do absolutely nothing for me. A well-rounded character with depth and personality earns 5 stars. (Also, a character who appears in the pages solely for the purpose of driving the plot or making a big reveal earns a big fat 0.)
Dialogue = 1 star is for wholly unbelievable dialogue that you would never in a million years hear anyone actually say. Surprising and funny dialogue where I can actually hear someone talking like that in person earns 5 stars.
Plot = 1 star is for stupid, contrived plots where you suspect everything coming and are surprised by nothing or worse, bored. Intriguing twists and heart pumping suspense or drama earns 5 stars.
Steamy Hotness = 1 star is for no hotness at all. Lots of steamy sexy yummy goodness earns 5 stars.
Overall = 1 star is for a book I could barely make it through. A book that is hard to put down and stays with me long after I have earns a 5 star rating.