Book Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

The Ones We’re Meant to Find

Author: Joan He
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 4, 2021)
Hardcover, 384 pages
Science Fiction, Young Adult Sci-Fi


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.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m not even sure where to start with reviewing this book, beyond saying holy crap, it’s so good. Part sci-fi/speculative fiction about where we’re headed as a society if we keep on the way we’re going with polluting our world and treating it like it’s disposable with infinite resources, part mystery/thriller, part sisterly love story, part self-discovery… This book is just so break-taking.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find is two narratives that weave around each other: there’s Cee’s story, trapped on a deserted island and trying desperately to escape the island and get back to her sister Kay, told in the first person present tense; and Kasey’s story, living in an eco-friendly sky city trying to find what happened to her missing sister Celia, told in the third person past tense. The interplay between these two different stories and timelines is so deftly interwoven; revelations in one storyline often reveal (or raise questions) in the other.

I found myself pulled into this book as surely and inexorably and Cee is pulled to the sea. I’ll definitely look forward to reading more by Joan He.

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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