Hello friends!! Today, I’m incredibly excited to bring to you a blog tour of one of my most anticipated releases for this year: The Ones We’re Meant to Find, and am pleased to announce that it did not disappoint. It truly struck a chord with me, at its core, a commentary on climate change, technology, the complexity of human nature, sisters and acceptance.
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for organising this book tour and selecting me as a tour host!
THE ONES WE’RE MEANT TO FIND by Joan He
Genre(s): Science Fiction | Age Group: Young Adult
Published: 4 May 2021 | Read: 22 April 2021
No. of Pages: 384
Click here to view Trigger Warningsgore, violence, death, death of a loved one, suicide, terminal illness, drowning, choking, natural disasters
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 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.
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours, the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for a sincere review. All the quotes used in this post are from an advance reader copy and may differ in the final publication.
Because it was possible to love someone without fully understanding them. Possible to love parts of them, and not their whole.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a YA Sci-Fi novel that follows two sisters, Cee who has been stranded on an abandoned island for three years with no memory of her past, except that she has a sister whom she has to find, as well as having a calling towards the sea. Kay on the other hand, is a STEM prodigy who lives in a technologically advanced skydome, one of the eight levitating cities in the world after natural disasters and climate change struck. Kay has given up hope on her sister’s return, until she tries again to understand her mysterious sister and retrace her last steps.The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a story of two sisters whom are both polar opposites in their personality, likes and beliefs, one guided by logic, one by emotion. And I thought that the juxtaposition in their characterisation as well as the situations they found themselves in were brilliant. But more so, these characters were beautifully developed, with the self-realisation and journey rooted in finding purpose, coupled with their precipice-fragile and vulnerable relationship with each other, The Ones We’re Meant to Find was such a heartfelt read. The side characters I felt were unpredictable and injected their own flavours of morality and purpose into the lives of these 2 sisters, making it flow so seamlessly.
But The Ones We’re Meant to Find was not just a simple, sweet story about sisters and their love for each other. It goes so much deeper, particularly in the second half of the book where it becomes intrinsically thematic yet managing to maintain its resonance. Before I skim the surface of those themes, another area I would like to mention was the complexity of the world-building because. oh. my. goodness. Joan He vividly envisions this futuristic world, so marvellous in its technological exploits, and yet the fissures running through it so clear. And it’s uncannily scary how realistic it is. That future is one where technology is all-consuming, to the extent of being part of people, part of their identity, but resulting in privacy and self-control being things of the past. And what’s more is the environmental status of the world at that time. Megaquakes, all the natural disasters you can imagine… people are even ranked based on their carbon footprint, having to live within safe domed cities. and through Kasey in particular, a salient message of the consequences of climate change as well as the simple yet meaningful question of whose responsibility it is rings through.
But science was infinite. Science knew no revenge. No emotion.
This is a work of science fiction, one may say that it is inevitable that the theme of bots vs humans would surface. Just like the other elements, The Ones We’re Meant to Find did it wonderfully. I think after merely a few twists and turns, it left me in an existential crisis no joke. We’re forced to confront the uncomfortable truth about bots, how uncannily like humans they can be, what roles they play in influencing the world. We’re faced with memories and emotions, aspects we deem special to humans, manipulated in such unthinkable ways. The countless paradoxes on this topic included, as well as the exploration on the complexity of well… humanity, were incredibly thoughtful and resonated.
We’re nothing as timeless as stars in orbit. More like two grains of sand before the tide rushes in. Here, then not. Human.
“Celia had loved the sea. Loved the whitecaps that foamed like milk, the waltz of sunlight atop the peaks. Kasey did not. The sea was a trillion strands of hair, infinitely tangled on the surface and infinitely dense beneath. It distorted time: Minutes passed like hours and hours passed like minutes out there. It distorted space, made the horizon seem within reach.
Okay I think it’s now time for me to perhaps shake off the reverent mood and rant about Joan He’s incredible writing style and plot skills?! From the quotes I’m certain you can appreciate the lyrical prose that I just want to take into my hands and stroke tenderly argh. There were also some curious stylistic choices such as Cee’s chapters in first person and Kay’s in third person, and yet the switch between the two helped pace the story and build up the drama and momentum so well.
Something else that was incredible would be the foreshadowing, every twist had me half screaming internally and half smacking my head at my naivety but truly, it was riveting and I 100% loved the ride.
Melancholic, due to the intangible yet perceptible heaviness of the air with the depth of the topics explored. But also moving with its grace and sensitivity. The Ones We’re Meant to Find was incredibly written and will certainly resonate with you. This YA sci-fi definitely makes it to my top ten for 2021!
And I think that we have less choice over the ones we’re meant to find.
rating // ★★★★½
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joan He 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 storytelling was her favorite form of expression. She studied Psychology and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the Delaware River. Descendant of the Crane is her debut young adult fantasy.
click HERE to stand a chance to win a finished copy of The Ones We’re Meant to Find (US only), ends 10 May 2021
Are you going to pick up The Ones We’re Meant to Find? Have you read Joan He’s debut: Descendant of the Crane? What other Asian sci-fi novels have you loved?
edit: DISCORD GROUP FOR BOOK BLOGGERS ANNOUNCEMENT!!
my fellow book bloggers, the lovely Ahaana @ Windows to Worlds and Becky @ Simply It’s Blue have created a discord group for book bloggers: click on this link to join: https://discord.gg/gwB6Mf6hZX, it’s basically a place for us to interact with the community and help each other out (e.g share ideas, arrange collabs more easily!). it’s been an incredible experience so far, please come! (and many thanks once again to ahaana and becky for asking me to help mod <3)