Dystopian has been making a comeback and this book is no exception. This breathtaking book about two sisters desperate to find each other as the world is ending is honestly a masterpiece. I’m so thankful TBR and Beyond Tours chose me to participate in this tour because I cannot stop thinking about this book and I’m so excited to share this story with you! Be sure to follow along with the tour and check out the schedule to see all of the amazing posts!
Thank you to Roaring Books Press and TBR and Beyond Tours for supplying me with a copy of this book through NetGalley. This is an honest, spoiler free review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
Published: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Genre: YA Dystopian Thriller
Content Warning: terminal illness, suicide, violence (including choking), death, death of parent (off page), vomiting, large scale natural disasters and mass casualties, some gore.
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.
This book had it all for me: sci-fi/dystopian, mystery, thriller, beautiful writing, thought provoking situations, ethical dilemmas, and all of the emotions. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that has made me feel and think so much. Following the story of Cee and Kay (Celia and Kasey), we get a story of two sisters desperate to find each other. Kasey in her city in the sky. And Celia, trapped on an island out at sea. Throughout this book we also get a first hand look at what our future could look like.
Climate change has destroyed their world. Mega-earthquakes, massive tsunamis, polluted land and waters, are effecting everyone, and it’s clear that the world will need time to heal. Watching the political and scientific side of dealing with climate change was so interesting. The ideas they brought forward with tech we could only hope to see one day made me think how would we solve this problem now, especially since we still have a chance to reverse what we know is inevitable.
In the meantime, watching Kay and Cee try to find each other was absolutely heartbreaking. It was clear the two sisters loved each other dearly, even if Kay has a hard time distinguishing and addressing her own emotions. Watching the build up of what happened to Celia and where she is gave me goosebumps – and what we come to learn will have you absolutely shocked.
I really did love the mix of this book between the mystery of Celia’s disappearance and the two sisters struggling to find each other versus the ecological disasters taking place and the ethical dilemma of solving it. In these eco-cities, entry is determined by ranking and that rank is based on your personal behaviours and the ones of you family and even ancestors. It doesn’t matter how eco-friendly you are right now if your great-grandfather was an oil tycoon. This means that there are only a select few who can stay safe from the deadly disasters taking place on the ground. And it brings up a great question: who has the privilege to determine who is safe and who is not.
I cannot tell you enough how much I love when books pose these kinds of situations. It really brings into perspective the personal responsibility and privilege that goes into how people live their lives and in the choices of who can be saved and who can’t. And don’t even get me started on the ethical dilemma posed of creating AI with the ability to feel and think as if they are alive. To essentially make them human and give them the freedom of choice.
And all wrapped up in this, the discussion of grief and how different people process it. Celia and Kasey lost their mom in a copter accident (which I assume is similar to a helicopter?) when they were little. Celia grieved through her emotions, while Kasey grieved with her actions. And watching them come to terms with what happened to their mother, and Kasey coming to terms with Celia’s disappearance, really brings into perspective the hardship of grief and that not one person deals with it the same.
Overall, this book makes you think and digs deep into emotions, ethics, right vs. wrong, grief, and personal responsibility vs. privilege. By the end of this book, I was in tears. The ending is left open to interpretation and it makes me so upset, because I really want to know what happened. If you’re in the mood to be philosophical and get in your emotions, this is a perfect book to read. I’m astonished how beautifully this book works together and blends so perfectly. I cannot recommend this book enough and can’t wait to read Joan’s other book, Descendent of the Crane!
Top 5 Reasons to Read this Book!
1. A thriller with a twist you will never see coming
2. In-depth discussions about grief, privilege, personal responsibility, and the love between sisters
3. Amazing technology I wish I could have
4. Too many emotions and you’ll probably cry
5. Breathtaking story writing that will leave your head swimming for days
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.
One winner will receive a finished copy of The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. This giveaway ends on May 10th and is US only.
You can enter HERE.