The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Firstly, a huge thank you to Text Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication Date:
Length: 375 pages
Sci-Fi | Young Adult | Dystopian | Mystery

CW: n/a

Two sisters. An unputdownable story.

Cee woke up on the shores of an abandoned island three years ago with no idea how she got there. Now eighteen, she lives in a shack with an ageing android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and she has to escape to find her.

From the safety of the eco-city floating above Earth, now decimated by natural disasters, sixteen-year-old Kasey mourns Cee whom she’s sure is dead. She too wants to escape: the eco-city is meant to be a sanctuary for people who want to save the planet, but its inhabitants are willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Is Kasey ready to use technology to help Earth, even though it failed her sister?

Cee and Kasey think that what they know about each other and their world is true. Both are wrong. If you loved We Were Liars or Black Mirror, you’ll love The Ones We’re Meant to Find, a clever, inspirational scifi thriller with a dash of Studio Ghibli. 



Last year I read He’s debut Descendant of the Crane and was in awe of the way she is able to carefully craft the characters in her story and write so beautifully, even if the plot could be dark and heavy at times. Whilst The Ones We’re Meant To Find is very different from her debut, I was still eager to read it and be immersed in He’s writing once again, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The novel focuses on two sisters, Kasey (Kay) and Ceila (Cee) in a dual narrative where they are both determined to find out what has happened to the other. I adored being able to see the different perspectives of the sisters, not only did this allow us to learn more about them as individuals as well as a sister unit but it also helped enrich our understanding of the girls through seeing them through their sister’s eyes too. In the beginning when we’re first introduced to them, I thought they were incredibly similar, so much so that I would sometimes forget whose perspective I was reading. However, the more I spent time with the characters, the more I could see how different they were and how unique they were, not just in comparison to each other but to everyone else around them too.

The dual narrative also ensured that this novel was perfectly paced, just as you thought you were beginning to figure something out for one sister, the perspective would change. I also loved the way that I didn’t figure out what was going on until the exact moment you’re supposed to put the pieces together, mere pages for the reveal itself. This was incredibly satisfying for me and also a testament to He’s writing talent for being able to carefully control this from the page. Having the dual narrative beautifully illustrated the parallels in the lives of the sisters, from figuring out how to find their way apart to the introduction to new characters in their lives. Not only do the new characters of Actinum and the unnamed boy bring great contrast to Kay and Cee and highlight how differently the sisters interact with others; but they are wonderful additions as characters in their own right. I found myself caring about them just as much as the sisters.

This novel is set in a future where the world has been ravaged by climate change and humans have had to adapt in all kinds of ways to be able to live in a world that is becoming incredibly inhabitable. I was fascinated with the idea of the eco cities and the different ways that people have turned to technology in order to carry on living a somewhat normal life (eg. virtual travel rather than actual travel). The whole world and concept was so beautifully crafted that I was simply captivated by it all. So much care and attention was put into every aspect of this novel and it’s something that I really appreciated. He’s descriptions of the world were beautiful and yet they were also bittersweet at times which felt very poignant.

Overall, in case you couldn’t tell, I adored everything about this novel. Plot, setting and characters all came together and complemented each other so perfectly and I loved the strong image of the sea that flowed through the novel. Like the sea, The Ones We’re Meant to Find had moments of beautiful calm as well as powerful and tumultuous conflicts and revelations. This is most definitely a must read. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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