This round is judged by Elliott Holt, an author.
The two books being played off against each other are 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette?' by Maria Semple. Bernadette is a wife, architect and a mum. who goes missing. She's an agoraphobic living in Seattle and has a virtual assistant based in India. Bee, her daughter sets about finding her.
and 'The Orphan Master's Son' by Adam Johnson. Set in North Korea, a boy grows up to become a professional kidnapper. He has to 'navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive.' He then boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress.
Now I really want to read both of these books, however I've heard so much more about The Orphan Master's Son that I automatically assumed this would go straight through to the next round. So I'm really intrigued to see how Elliott Holt felt about these two books.