Hello everyone, I’m so excited to welcome you to my tour stop for The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He! As you all know, I absolutely adore Joan’s writing, I literally cannot stop talking about and recommending her debut novel, Descendant of the Crane.
But The Ones We’re Meant To Find is so much more different than her previous books. It’s a speculative science-fiction about two sisters and climate change with a mystery at its heart. I was super excited when I got an e-arc for this book because it has been an anticipated release of mine ever since Joan announced it. At the same time I also kept postponing reading it because I knew it would end up destroying me...
And it sorta did.
Anyway, before we jump into my thoughts about TOWMTF I want to say a quick thank you to Paola from Love, Paola who organised this wonderful tour. If you want to know what other people think about this book do check out the posts by other lovely bloggers whose links will be provided below 🙂
5 Reasons to Read The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He
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.
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Kasey and Celia
The story is told from a dual point of view by the two sisters Kasey and Celia who are completely different from each other. Kasey is practical, methodical and somewhat detached whereas Celia is sensitive, outgoing and the life of every party. I love reading about siblings who are very different from each other and especially in this story, we get such different narratives from both sisters and it’s very easy to tell both of them apart. I honestly don’t think I have a favourite, I love both of them.
I like how Kasey is hell bent on finding her sister and retreats into science when trying to find a solution. I relate to her when she sees herself as lesser than Celia. Kasey has a low self-esteem and constantly questions herself and wonders if there is anything wrong with her. On the other hand I’m more emotional like Celia and wow does she take us on a rollercoaster. Celia’s only aim is to get to her sister and she’ll do anything to get off the island. Both of the sisters find themselves enveloped in loneliness and I absolutely adored reading about them.
The Intricate Worldbuilding and Setting
Gosh, I can’t even begin to imagine how much would have gone into building this world. There’s more than what you can see and comprehend. This world is set in a future where climate change has left the earth almost impossible to survive with eco-cities being built in the air and resources being finite. This feels so inevitable with the way we humans use our resources, one day such scary dystopian worlds will be our reality. I think Joan does a great job exploring that and the consequences it would have on nature and humanity and the life as we know it.
I would say it takes some time to wrap your head around the world, especially if you are someone like me who doesn’t read a lot of heavy sci-fi. But yes, I feel the world is haunting in a way, I absolutely cannot imagine living the way Kasey and everyone else in this book does and I’m quite happy with the way in which Joan got some of the political and class nuances in the story.
The Questioning of What It Means to Be Human
Recently I’ve come to love books that question some of the deeper stuff concerning life and humanity. I believe I talked above about the fate of humanity in the age of climate change but my favourite part of this book has to be the way in which we question what it means to be human. Joan does this in many ways, especially by introducing bots and artificial intelligence. She really makes us ask what makes us human? Is it our emotions, our ability to think, self-actualization? What if we could give that to a bot? Would a bot with hopes and dreams and memories and goals not be a human?
There’s probably no answer to this debate but I absolutely love to indulge in it. I encountered a similar debate in The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman and I really believe this is the age of sci-fi books asking us questions that make us think and churn long after we’ve flipped the last page. I’m all here for it.
The Mystery that Keeps You Turning Page After Page
Without the mystery aspect to it, TOWMTF would probably have been quite a boring and dragged out book but of course Joan had the genius idea to spin everything into a mystery puzzle while dropping hints here and there for the readers. You can tell something is off from quite the beginning. Since we get a dual narrative it gets established very early on that Kasey believes her sister disappeared 3 months ago while Celia has counted her life on the abandoned island for about 3 years. Yikes…
In all honestly I don’t actively seek to figure out mysteries, I prefer to read on and let the plot reveal itself in due time. But there was a specific moment right before the main plot twist where I guessed what was happening. That right there is the point from where there is no going back. You sort of solve the mystery but it just leaves you with more and more questions. I read somewhere that the author wants the readers to leave with more questions than answers when they finish the book, and it clearly reflects in the writing. Even the ending is very open and well… I certainly have loads of unanswered questions.
The Plot Twists Which Will Destroy You
Seriously, there are so many plot twists. I was just reading this book like yeah things are so slow like I wish they would speed up and then BAM! There’s a plot twist that changes everything and after that the twists just don’t stop coming. I actually speed read through a good chunk of this book but now I wish I had actually taken some time to process those twists because it’s all giving me a hangover at this point.
But at the same time…
The pacing was quite slow up till 50% of the book which made it a little hard to keep coming back to. There wasn’t an information overload but a lot of things were set up in this 50% but still, it felt sluggish in my opinion so be warned of that if you pick up this book. The pay off after you pull through is kinds worth it though!
Secondly, if you are not a fan of open endings…. this book had the most open ending and believe me when I say that I am still struggling to wrap my head around it. This book overall takes some brains to comprehend, especially when Joan throws twist after twist upon the reader and that combined with the open ending has left me reeling. I wish we had gotten something more definitive but hey, that’s what I think. If you’re not bothered by open endings or even adore them then you’ll probably have no problem here!
Here are some of my favourite quotes from The Ones We’re Meant To Find 🙂
“The problem with oceans? They always seem smaller from the shore.”
“Alone is an island. It’s an uncrossable sea, being too far from another soul, whereas lonely is being too close, in the same house yet separated by walls because we choose to be, and when I fall asleep, the pain of loneliness follows me as I dream of more walls.”
“Because it was possible to love someone without fully understanding them. Possible to love parts of them, and not their whole.”
“Everyone lived at the expense of someone else. Those who refused to admit that, who’d rejected the solution because they could afford to, because it inconvenienced them … well, maybe Actinium was right and they didn’t deserve saving in this finite, material world, where more for someone meant less for someone else.”
“None of us live without consequence. Our personal preferences are not truly personal. One person’s needs will deny another’s. Our privileges can harm ourselves and others.”
If you would like to see what some other bloggers have to say about TOWMTF feel free to check out their posts linked in the schedule below 🙂
Monday, April 26
Tuesday, April 27th
Wednesday, April 28
Thursday, April 29
Friday, April 30
Saturday, May 1
Sunday, May 2
Monday, May 3
Tuesday, May 4
Wednesday, May 5
Thursday, May 6
Friday, May 7
Have you read The Ones We’re Meant to Find yet? Is it on your TBR?
Are you drawn to books that ask such deep questions about humanity? I sure am!
What sort of sci-fi books do you like to read the most? I prefer ones where there aren’t to many explanations needed since it’s hard for my brain to process.