The biggest way I connect to books is through the characters. In The Martian, Andy Weir created a character so real to me that I was pretty much instantly sucked in. If Mark Watney was a real person and had gone to my high school, we probably would have been friends. And if we'd stayed in touch, he and my hubby would occasionally hang out and tell boob jokes to each other while I despaired of Mark ever finding someone willing to put up with such a smart-ass for the rest of their lives.
Not everyone will love this book (or Mark) as much as I did. The science, while fascinating, is plentiful and sometimes a bit dry. The style is predominantly epistolary, the majority of the story being told by Mark through his log entries with some cutaways to his crew and the goings on at NASA. It all came together magically for me and I had a blast reading it, but it's not going to be everyone's cuppa. And that's okay. I loved it enough for several dozen people. Maybe more.