Plot Summary: What happens, When & Where, Central Characters, Major Conflicts[return]This is a romance novel with a twist, The main woman--Eva--has made a vow to be celebate. Her best friend Simone and sister Maya tease her about her lack of romance, but she is serious and seemingly not going to budge. Until she meets Adam, a "brother" who she finds attractive despite his dreads. They meet at a party and start hanging out together. Eva makes it very clear up front that she is committed to God and her celibacy, and Adam, despite being himself an abstainer for over a year, is frustrated by her stand. He himself grew up in the church and even "got saved" but God is not a part of his life right now, despite his having survived a bout with testicular cancer.[return][return]Style Characterisics: Pacing, clarity, structure, narrative devices, etc.[return]Ruiz paints very vivid characters, Eva's cultural mix of Afro-Latina is experienced through music, language, food, and other sensual depictions, as is the African-American culture of Adam and the other characters. The point of view shifts back and forth from Eva to Adam which works well. The romantic plotline is somewhat typical--a couple attracted to each other but having to struggle through various obstables before their relationship can work out. The tragic circumstances Ruiz puts in play at the end seem overdone, but other than that the story is enjoyable. The characters are not "Sunday school" perfect either, they are fallen, imperfect, and very real which gives depth and honesty to their spiritual struggles. The conversion scene stood out as not being overdone either--sometimes things are best left unsaid, and Ruiz knows when to stop and let the reader's imagination take over.[return][return]How Good is it?[return]Very enjoyable for the depiction of culture, vivid characters, and a strong spiritual message.