It’s to Lee’s great credit that we perceive the political world through the personal travails of her three characters: there is nothing heavy-handed or didactic here, just a group of ordinary teenagers living in extraordinary times ... This is a novel of great sincerity and moral courage, a book that can stand as a resonant response to the challenge that fiction has no place in the white heat of political turmoil.
...[a] devastating yet ultimately hopeful novel ... Lee shines a harsh light on the treatment of North Korean immigrants in this foreign world. The result is eye-opening and heartbreaking, even if Danny's story seems a bit far-fetched ... an intense, unforgettable, compassionate study of human resilience.
Lee knows North Korea and gets almost [everything] right, down to exacting details ... Lee has worked with North Korean refugees and she knows intimately their terror when trying to survive in a world where it is impossible to distinguish between friend and foe; where betrayal is a fact of life and people manipulate each other with currencies of sex and religion.