Author: Joan He
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Released: May 4, 2021
Add The Ones We’re Meant to Find to the top of my books read in 2021, please! It’s a brilliant novel, one that I cannot recommend enough. Written by Joan He, it promises to be a blend of We Were Liars, Black Mirror, and Studio Ghibli.
That being said, I want to throw my own addition into that mix. There were so many elements in this novel that reminded me of The Uglies. And I loved every second of it. So fans of that original trilogy should seriously consider checking it out.
Cee has been trapped and alone on an island for years. Well, mostly alone. She does have a bot to keep her company. So, that’s something. But in reality, all Cee wants to do is get off the island and find her sister, Kay. She knows that Kay is out there somewhere, waiting for her.
Meanwhile, Kay, aka Kasey Mizuhara, is living a very different life. She’s safely inside an eco-city, one built by people like her parents. She doesn’t understand why her sister went missing or what she can do to bring her back. So you can imagine how quickly she jumps at the chance to find the truth when presented to her.
“The problem with oceans? They always seem smaller from the shore.”
Words cannot express how much I loved this book. It was amazing, intense, rich, and so painfully human at times. It is everything I could have asked for in a futuristic novel. Cee and Kay were amazing leading characters, showcasing the complexity that has come with their world.
This novel was somehow very bleak at times and yet had such strong solarpunk themes. There was a real sense of hope – at times – for the future and what humanity could do to repair the damage done.
Naturally, that brings up one of the points I loved about this book. It opened up room for conversation. Not just about pollution and conservation efforts, but how humanity tends to regard these efforts. We seem to always be bouncing back and forth, from one extreme to the next, and that was beautifully captured here.
“When I dream of her, it’s in vibrant color, unlike the gradients of gray of my monochrome days. But everything is hazy when I wake. The details merge. The colors fade.”
The two different narratives in this tale, Cee and Kay’s, couldn’t have been more different if you tried. And yet, they fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. As the story progressed, it began to make more sense of how these two characters came to such different points.
I adored every moment of their journey, and part of me felt broken when it all came to an end. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Not to either of them, but especially not to Cee, who found a way to write a story directly into my heart.
This is one of those novels that seemed to project imagery right into my head. Because of this, it has left me feeling rather desperate to see an adaptation of it. I don’t know how likely that is; I just know that I would love to see a movie version of it.
As I sit down to write this review, I see that The Ones We’re Meant to Find is hovering just below a 4-star rating. While I know that this isn’t a bad rating, it does make me feel like it’s already underrated. That’s clearly my bias showing, and I’m only bringing it up to make it clear just how much I loved this book.
I can see the ending being somewhat divisive. Personally, I feel like the ending was every bit the ending we deserved. By we, I mean the characters and the readers. No more, no less.
Thanks to Roaring Brook and #BookishFirst for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.