Stephens’s debut novel follows Lisa and Mindy, South Koreans and best friends since their childhood adoption by American parents. In their twenties as the novel opens, the two meet in Seoul at Mindy’s insistence to track down their birth parents. But Lisa has just lost her job teaching English in Japan and, rather than establish the truth about her past, goes on a drinking spree that somehow lands her in North Korea. Held captive by the mysterious Honey, she joins an international band of misfits and finally must grapple with the truth of who she is and why she is there. Stephens, born in Korea and herself one of the first generation of interracial adoptees, writes the “Alice in Wordland” column for the Washington Independent Review of Books.