Hello, there! Thanks for joining me again today. I’m really excited to be here as a member of Joan He’s street team. I was with Joan and Hesina’s Court for her debut, and I’m glad to be here once more for her sophomore novel. I marvel at Joan’s ability to craft words so well, and I’m so happy to be sharing my review for the street team tour today. A huge thanks goes out to Paola for organizing this wonderful tour!
Title: The Ones We’re Meant to Find
Author: Joan He
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Dystopian
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: 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 awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.
STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
Joan He 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 storytelling was her favorite form of expression. She studied Psychology and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the Delaware River. Descendant of the Crane is her debut young adult fantasy. Her next novel, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, will be forthcoming from Macmillan on May 4th, 2021.
Where to even begin on this post? I absolutely loved it. I was drawn in from sentence one. Something I’ve admired about Joan’s writing is how lyrical it is. This one especially felt like she was mimicking the soft sounds of waves crashing on a shoreline as well as waves during a storm. Growing up in a beach town, I felt transported in this novel, despite the major differences (no eco-cities here. . .yet.).
The central focus of this book is the fractured relationship between Celia/Cee and Kasey/Kay. I love how the chapters alternate between the two’s perspectives, and it should be noted that one is written in first person and the other is written in third. I think this is really clever of He because it really ties into the characterization of each young woman. Through Celia’s perspective, and even Kasey’s view of her sister, we see that Celia is someone who craves to live in the moment. She wants to feel the sunshine on her skin, the wind blowing through her hair, and she wants to dance in the waves on the shore. It all feels more real when you read her chapters. Kasey is still someone who feels very removed from herself, and I think this was an excellent choice to writer her in third person. It really put you into Kasey’s headspace. It made me want to know more, read more, learn more about Kasey.
As someone who has three sisters, I always am drawn to novels about sisters. Previously I discussed this in my review of Yolk by Mary H. K. Choi, and I think it’s worth stating again. The bond between sisters is something that is worth exploring because of the power of these relationships. I don’t know where I would be without my sisters, and it’s very obvious that though they have a relationship fraught with tension Celia and Kasey care deeply for each other. Somehow I don’t think waking up on a deserted island with your only mission to get back to your sister means that you don’t like her. I love how He plays with the dynamic between these two. They don’t ever come onto the same page in real time until the very end — I’m going to stop here to avoid spoilers! You can see, however, through memories that the sisters cared for each other in the ways they knew how, and I think that is what makes this special.
Let’s talk setting. I will be 100% with you, I didn’t read the description of the book before jumping in. I often do this with authors I’ve previously read and enjoyed — I would read these people’s grocery lists if I’m being honest. It was a bit of a shock to me to discover such a distorted yet recognizable world in this book. I love what He did with this. It’s incredibly fascinating to me when an author can world-build so well. Early on you can see the cracks in the dystopian society, and Kasey is slowly catching onto what larger games may be in play. It all is so intricately planned that I found myself unraveling the truth until the very end because it was so masterfully and carefully executed. To me, these are the best kinds of books, ones that have strong characters/voice and have a nice blend/support of a truly interesting world.
Overall, this is definitely a book you need to dive into. If you like dystopia, are into ecology/science/STEM, or are a fan of sisterly bonds this is right up your alley. I can’t wait for you to get to know Celia and Kasey!
Follow the rest of the tour and check out the other amazing hosts!
Monday, April 26
Tuesday, April 27th
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Thursday, April 29
Friday, April 30
Saturday, May 1
Sunday, May 2
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Tuesday, May 4
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Thursday, May 6
Friday, May 7