MixedWashington Independent Review of BooksEven the most casual observer of North Korea can sketch out double-crossing, intrigue, and the deeply survivalist nature of its politics. Alice Stephens’ debut novel, Famous Adopted People, harnesses these characteristics into a darkly comedic game of cat and mouse. At the center of this suspenseful story is Korean-American adoptee Lisa Pearl, who, as an adult, is abducted and taken to North Korea. She serves as both predator and prey while searching for a way out ... Stephens’ rapid-fire dialogue almost physically propels the characters forward but doesn’t leave enough space for the consequences of their decisions to jell properly ... While Famous Adopted People is sharply clever and wields family dynamics in a way that impressively shakes up its seemingly unflappable protagonist, I found myself getting lost a little too often alongside Lisa, wandering through its labyrinthine spy-fortress setting without aim.