The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He is a fascinating sci-fi dystopian. We follow Cee, and Kasey, in two timelines that we aren’t sure if they fit together.
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 to escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be a sanctuary for those committed 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.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy. These quotes may not reflect the published copy.
“She lived in color. Lived for love and friendships.”
Imagine a world where we have continued to destroy our planet, and what we have done to cope with the consequences. We still have corporate businesses running things, despite the façade that it’s to save the planet. This is the world that Kasey and Celia live in. Alternatively, where is Cee, and why is she the only one on this island? Who is Kay? Are these the same two people? This book was interesting in that sometimes it felt like fantasy and other times like a dystopian. When we are hearing from Kasey’s side of the story, it’s clear this is dystopian sci-fi. When we hear from Cee’s side, it feels like a fantasy tale. This brings the two genres together in a way that makes this book something everyone may enjoy.
“Her mistake wasn’t trusting the tech. It was trusting the humans the tech served.”
This story approaches several different concepts that truly bring in the Black Mirror comparison. Are humans a danger to themselves and the planet? Do they deserve the right to choose how to live if it diminishes the ability for others to live? What would you do for your sister at the end of the world? What’s the difference between intelligent AI with human memories, and humans? These are the questions that are asked in this book. I don’t always enjoy being placed in a think-piece situation with Sci-Fi. However, this book wrapped it up in lush writing and a fantastic plot, which made it an enjoyable process.
“We’re nothing as timeless as stars in orbit.”
Part of me still has questions about the ending, wanting to know what happens to everyone. I’m a little sad this is a standalone, as I still have questions. I think this is normal for these kinds of books and gives you space to process and truly think about the possibilities. Joan He has crafted a beautiful plot, with an interesting world and a thought-provoking ending. This was truly a fantastic book.
“This is our normal. Voyeuristic androids and tears shed over our overlords.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.