I absolutely loved how concisely and cleanly the beginning set the tone and mood of the book — I was instantly hooked. Bao’s character introduction in particular immediately made me love him, establishing him as kind and generous and already finding ways to solve his desperate need for a family. Bao and Lan’s scenes together are equally perfectly paced and well-timed, gaining your sympathy for them both and growing your appreciation for Bao’s kindness. The opening also establishes the world through conversations that feel like genuine explanations; we learn about this world’s problems as Lan does, in a way that is satisfying to the audience. - Read more of Elise's "The Bookish Actress" review on Goodreads!