Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay. Determined to find her, Cee devotes her days to building a boat from junk parts scavenged inland, doing everything in her power to survive until the day she gets off the island and reunites with her sister.
In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara is also living a life of isolation. The eco-city she calls home is one of eight levitating around the world, built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.
Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But as the public decries her stance, she starts to second guess herself and decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.
One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.
- Title: The Ones We’re Meant to Find
- Author: Joan He
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
- Target Audience: Young Adult
- Representation: Asian protagonists
- Content Warnings: Parental death, assault (choking), death, suicide, drowning, terminal illness, natural disasters, blood mention, minor gore, post-apocalyptic themes, large-scale natural disasters, mass casualties.
- Rating: ★★★★★
Hi, hello everyone! I’m super excited to be a tour stop for the TBR & Beyond blog tour for The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He! This book has been at the top of my anticipated reads for a while, and I’m so excited to finally have it in my hands. Let me preface this review by saying it absolutely did not disappoint – it met all of my expectations and even exceeded them. This book was a wild ride from the start. Joan He took careful steps in order to create and establish not only an interesting science fiction world, but interesting characters within it too. The Ones We’re Meant to Find is set in an eco-city, a solution created to escape the bad conditions on Earth. However, it’s also set on an island in the middle of the ocean, deserted save for one person: Cee. Cee is the eldest sister and an interesting perspective to read about. I loved her character – her dedication to finding her sister, her fearlessness, and overall, her kindness. She would drop anything and everything in order to find her sister, Kasey, and it shows. Her narrative and arc are so believable, readers find themselves planning alongside her in order to figure out ways to find Kacey.
Meanwhile, Kacey’s point of view takes us to the sky-cities – and what an interesting point of view it is! I really enjoyed Kacey’s point of view. It was a lot different to Cee’s, so it kept the book fresh and interesting as each chapter went by. Kacey is a very science-oriented character, so reading about her love of science and the ideas she had brewing in her brain was super fascinating. Her unconditional love for her sister was truly lovely, and I loved trying to figure out the mystery of how Cee went missing alongside her. The eco cities were interesting to learn about, too, and I wish it was expanded more throughout the novel. They were such fascinating concepts: floating cities in order to protect humanity, ruled by a ranking system, that I would have loved for some more world building or more extra details about it sprinkled in.
“We are not stars. We get to choose the places we go and the people we find.”
I think where this book excels is the plot. Joan He has taken time to carefully and meticulously plot an interesting, thrilling and suspenseful novel that has readers turning pages and pages well into the night. I know for me personally I spent so many hours up at night wanting to progress further and further until the mystery was solved. Twists and turns come out of nowhere, surprising unsuspecting readers and pushing them towards the end of the book. Joan He is a master storyteller, and this novel solidifies that fact. Despite having read their previous book, I definitely feel inclined to pick it up due to my enjoyment of The Ones We’re Meant to Find. Simply put, this book is a plotted triumph.
Joan He has a way of writing that just transports the readers into the world she created. Oftentimes I felt as if I was alongside Cee, standing on the sunken pier and looking at the endless vastness of the ocean. Her writing is so vivid, so lifelike, so real, that you often forget that this book is entirely fictional. Her contrasting use of language and point of view between the two different protagonists is genius, and is used in a great way. It makes it easier for the audience to differentiate the two girls, to see how different they are from each other, while keeping the book engaging and interesting. Her writing of a scientific world feels lifelike, and it almost feels as if she has seen into the future with how many miniscule details she included. Like I said before, as much as I would have loved further details in this world, it is in no way empty. Joan He has created a vast, atmospheric universe that makes me want to read more and more works of hers set in it.
One of the things I didn’t fully love was the romantic element. I’m not a fan of instalove, so I wasn’t very engaged in the romance. That being said, I liked both characters a lot, so with a little bit of time and patience as the book progressed, I began to cheer for both of them to get their happy ending. My favourite relationship in this book, however, was the relationship between Cee and Kasey. We don’t often get to see a close sister relationship in a young adult (from what I’ve experienced, anyway), so it was really refreshing to have it in The Ones We’re Meant to Find. Having both characters driven and motivated to find each other really showed the audience how strong a family bond can be, and the lengths people will go to make sure that bond stays intact. You don’t question Kacey or Cee’s love for one another throughout the book, and despite being separated, you could feel their bond resonating through the pages. It was a lovely dynamic to read about.
“And I think we have even less choice over the ones we’re meant to find.”
All in all, The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a wonderful science-fiction which breaks past the idea of what science fiction should be. It’s suspenseful, it’s thrilling and, simply put, it’s addicting. Readers are left longing for more answers as they dive deeper and deeper through the book, and will find themselves not being satisfied until they finish. It’s a story about love, loss and separation, and questions just how far you will go to find your family. I think this book is a hit, and I highly recommend it to people, even if you aren’t a science fiction fan. It’s a book that I can’t fully put into words why it’s as brilliant as I say it is, it’s just something you need to read yourself. The Ones We’re Meant to Find is young adult science fiction at its best.
Joan was born and raised in Philadelphia but still will, on occasion, lose her way. At a young age, she received classical instruction in oil painting before discovering that stories were her favorite kind of art. She studied psychology and Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the city waterfront. Descendant of the Crane is her young adult debut.
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