The major plot begins with a politician's need for a heart. She is young, but feeble due to her having meningitis when she was young. In this society, animal organ replacement is the norm, and human donors no longer exist, but this politician refuses to take an animal heart replacement. She wants a human heart. To get this, her workers enlist the help of Rudy. They know he is willing to get the heart by any means necessary because of the monetary reward that comes with it, and this drive to find a "willing" human participant is what creates the tangled web of character stories. I will explain two of them, here.
Ti-Jeanne: Her family lineage is a gift and a curse. In addition, her choice of a boyfriend has not helped her situation. She is a seer and can see the moment when people will die, and although she hates it, she is connected to the spirit world at all times. She has run from that aspect of her life for as long as she could, but her visions begin to get worse, and she needs the help of her grandmother to figure out how to live in the physical world while being a conduit to the spirit world. It is because of her gift and her choice of a boyfriend that sets up the conflict in the story. She is forced to face her fate and go up against Rudy to save herself, her family, and her friends.
Tony: Ti-Jeanne's ex-boyfriend, gang/posse member, and buff addict (drug created from the venom of bufo toads). Because of his choices, Ti-Jeanne chose to leave him and to keep his son away from him. In fact, he had no idea that the baby was his because she refused to tell him. Due to Tony's medical expertise (before he got fired for his addiction), he is roped in to one of Rudy's schemes which requires him to kill someone for their heart. But, Tony's not cut out for that life and turns to Ti-Jeanne and her family for aid.
What I loved about this story was the characterization. I felt like I got to know the characters and their motivations well. The author did a great job explaining all that happened without boring the reader with backstory. I especially like the realness associated with Ti-Jeanne and her feelings about motherhood. There were times when she looked at the baby with love, but then there were other times when she just wanted the baby to be quiet. She was happy; she was annoyed; she was frustrated. But, these are all true feelings that mothers have. It's not all happiness, bubbles, and unicorns, and the author captures that.
I did have a hard time with the dialect and the spiritual elements that the characters were consistently talking about and using, but it wouldn't be the same story without it. By the time I finished the first couple of chapters, though, I was able to better figure out. The story was good enough to make me want to stick it out.