Thank you so much to Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to be on this blog tour!
Title: The Ones We’re Meant to Find
Author: Joan He
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Genres: YA Dystopian
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.
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.
After being utterly devastated by the author’s debut, Descendant of the Crane, I knew I had to get a hold of her sophomore novel. I was ready for my heart and my feelings to be twisted in every which way.
From the first chapter, I was trying to guess what THE TWIST could be–I knew there would be one just from the feeling of the novel. It’s mysterious and atmospheric in every word, and with one sister looking for her possibly-dead sister and the other stranded on an island… the thrill of figuring out what happened was soooo good.
It helped that I was immediately compelled by the voices of both sisters. Cee is moody and determined and witty, and Kasey is cool and logically-minded. I wanted to know how everything fit together, and so I kept reading. The first half of the book is slow-paced and almost meandering in some ways. It sets up the worlds both sisters are in, though it pays more attention to characterization of the sisters instead of the world building. There are many quiet moments at first, slowly building up to a much faster-paced second half, where many questions are answered and the complex themes are revealed.
Even though I loved the two main characters and the complex themes, I found myself a little underwhelmed at the reveals, and I found myself wishing for more complexity in other aspects of the book–mostly in the world building and the side characters.
This is a strong, compelling, thematic book that makes me even more excited to read what Joan He has in store with her writing.
Meet the Author
Joan 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 stories were her favorite kind of art. She studied psychology and Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the city waterfront. Descendant of the Crane is her young adult debut.
We’re giving away one print copy of The Ones We’re Meant to Find (international welcome)! You can enter here.