Your search for a word (second hand) could either be "subsidiary" (lower class), or "derivative" (unoriginal).
There have been few times I "felt" the characters in a book. The book "Wuthering Heights" had me entrenched into the passions of the characters, and their tragedies.
Before that, as a child of 8 I was enchanted by Peter Pan during a live performance on TV. I was flying when they did and I was so sad when the girl was in trouble in the story, (can't remember the details).
Characters bring sensibility to us, to feel, know and maybe to experience the same psychological effects of those stories. It's all good.
I haven't read any fiction since the 1970's.