Title: The Ones We’re Meant to Find
Author: Joan He
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Age-range/genre: YA; Dystopian, Sc-fi, Mystery
Trigger warnings: terminal illness, drowning, suicide, natural disasters, mass casualties
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary: [from goodreads]
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.
Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.
STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a sci-fi dystopian novel set in a futuristic world that’s deeply effected by natural disasters and pollution. The novel is told in alternating perspectives, about Cee who is stranded on an island and trying get to her sister Kasey, and Kasey who is struggling to keep afloat following her sister’s disappearance and trying to find out what happened to her. Pitched as ‘Black Mirror’ meets ‘We Were Liars’, it’s a wonderful mix of sci-fi and sisterhood.
When I dream of her, it’s in vibrant color, unlike the gradients of gray of my monochrome days.
☆ My favourite things about TOWMTF ☆
★ the emphasis on sisterhood
★ amazing worldbuilding
★ the twists!!
★ the depiction of the effects of environmental changes
Immediately I’m drawn two the bond between the sisters. With beautiful writing, Joan He really captures the love Kasey and Cee have for one another and and how they yearn to see each other again. You could see how much they cared for each other, despite how different they are. It’s incredibly genuine in its exploration of sisterhood, with Kasey looking up to Celia and viewing her as an example to follow, and Cee considering Kasey to be someone she needs to care for and protect.
Perhaps its because we’re both the younger sibling, but I related to Kasey the most. While Kasey is reclusive and is perceived as cold, Cee is outgoing and warm. Both their personalities really sprung out in their respective chapters, highlighting how different the main characters are. There are a lot of different opinions on which sister people preferred reading about, which is honestly something I love to see because it means the characters invoke different feelings in everyone. This interesting considering that Joan He tweeted that she wrote Cee to be easy to love while Kasey is a foil to her; I think there’s something to be said about how amazing both sisters are, and what an wonderful writer He is in creating two lovable main characters.
“Everyone lived at the expense of someone else.”
Though I adored Cee and her ambition to leave the island and reunite with her sister, I particularly loved Kasey’s chapters more as they delved into the worldbuilding in the novel and how futuristic it is. The technological advancements are fascinating but difficult to grasp at first, so I think seasoned fans of sci-fi novels will find it easier to understand than I did.
These chapters highlight how far society has come – to both its benefit and downfall. Kasey lives in one of the eco-cities, which is basically a bubble against outside harm, while the wider population is continuously effected by natural disasters and pollution, and industries that could help care more for their wealth than anything else. Joan He’s writing is so vivid for these events that it’s painful to read, especially when the world she created is not too far off from our own. The novel shows the consequences of humans taking advantage of the world’s resources, and its terrifying to know that similar things are happening in the real world too.
My only gripe with the novel was the pacing. The beginning half has somewhat of a slow-pace, but I was already invested in Kasey and Cee that I could barely put it down because I needed to know if they would find their way back to each other. Overall, it’s an unpredictable page-turner full of twists and intrigue to keep the air of mystery and have you needing to know more. The novel was touching and gut-wrenching and beautiful, and both its depiction of sisterhood and the long-lasting effects of climate change will stick with me for a long time.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.