The Camy Tang File:
Reviewed by Sheryl Root
Only Uni by Camy Tang
"Camy Tang has a true gift for creating lovable, flawed and imperfect characters that resonate with her readers."
There is no danger of sophomore jinx with Camy Tang's second novel, Only Uni. Camy continues the same high standards set in the first book of the Sushi Series, Sushi for One?, by creating vibrant and poignant characters as well as a story that brings the reader to both laughter and tears.
The Sushi Series is about four Asian-American cousins who each, in turn, fight the battle of being OSFC (Oldest Single Female Cousin) with their Grandma Sakai. Grandma will do anything to ensure marriage (and grandchildren) for her granddaughters, so the cousins quickly learn they must defend themselves or risk being shanghaied into an unwanted relationship.
Only Uni takes us into the life of Trish, the wild and flirtatious cousin who has already stepped a little too far over the line with past boyfriends. Now, determined to rededicate her life to God and put her old ways behind her, Trish finds that the guilt of her past and the temptations to fall again are not as easy to escape as she had hoped. After reading First and Second Corinthians, she makes three rules for herself. No more looking at men. No more dating non-Christians. Persevere in hardship by relying on God.
But Trish has no idea how soon her rules will be tested. Her old boyfriend, Kazuo, insists that she is his muse and refuses to leave her alone. Everywhere Trish goes, Kazuo seems to follow! While Trish remembers the verbal abuse and anger that made her leave him in the first place, she also remembers how special and loved she felt from their intimacy and finds herself fighting a continuing attraction. Her struggle to leave Kazuo behind isn't helped by Grandma Sakai, who is determined he is the perfect man for her.
Then there is the immediate attraction Trish feels for her new co-worker, Spenser. But no matter how hard it is, she has to put her new rules into practice. Trish assumes that, as much as Spenser flirts, it can't be possible that he is a Christian. As Spenser finds his own faith challenged by Trish's zeal, their friendship slowly begins to bloom. However, Spenser soon realizes that Trish's past has closer ties to him than he imagined and finds himself torn between his desire for payback and growing feelings for Trish.
As Trish struggles to find her "fit" at church and prove to her cousins that, this time, she really has changed, is it possible to leave the past that haunts her behind? And, when faced with an unexpected and life changing consequence, can Trish hold fast to her faith, trusting that she is a new creation in Christ and that God has good plans for her future?
Camy Tang has a true gift for creating lovable, flawed and imperfect characters that resonate with her readers. While she never glosses over the pain, it's always balanced with humor and hope. Although Trish is a character I don't have much in common with, I found myself drawn into her life after only a few pages, feeling her sorrows and joys as if they were my own.
The third book in the Sushi Series, Single Sashimi will be released in August 2008. While I believe Zondervan has only contracted with Camy for three books in the series, I'm fervently hoping they'll go for number four as well. After all, how can they entice me into the lives of these four cousins and then only let me know how three of their stories turn out? Camy, if you need me to start a petition, I'm your girl … :)
Sheryl Root is Partner Database Manager at OneHope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach every child with God’s Word. She’s also a writer and a reader of everything she can get her hands on … books, blogs, magazines. In other words, she’s both a data geek and a book nerd. She loves to be able to support Christian authors and spread the word on great books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a wonderful community of published and yet to be published writers. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sheryl_Root.