The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

“None of us live without consequence. Our personal preferences are not truly personal. One person’s needs will deny another’s. Our privileges can harm ourselves and others.” – Joan He

 One of the most electrifying, surprising, engaging page-turner YA reads of the year, I just had to make this our September Booktails pick! Imagine Studio Ghibli wrote an episode of Black Mirror…that’s what Joan He’s novel, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, has brought to the literary world.

After waking up to find herself stranded on an abandoned island with nothing but the memory of a sister waiting for her to return, Cee’s entire world becomes about finding her way home. Unfortunately, after three years of trying to escape the island only to be lured back time and time again, Cee’s island home has become her captor, her prison, and her only source of comfort and support.

Back home in her floating city, Kasey navigates mourning a sister whose body was never found, assumed lost to the sea forever. Kasey attempts to shift her focus to the tumultuous future of the eco-city, humankind’s last sanctuary. Her unique gifts and scientific knowledge could ensure a future for Earth, but the remaining citizens might not be willing to make the sacrifices needed for Kasey’s plan to work.

As Cee inches closer to desperation, an unlikely body washes up on the shore of her island. Meanwhile, Kasey works to argue her case to the world. Two sisters, set adrift by odd circumstances, must find their destiny.

This novel immediately ensnared me in its grasp through superior world-building and its vision of a future that’s not so far off from our own. Taking place on an Earth that’s practically unlivable due to climate change, The Ones We’re Meant to Find created intense feelings of anxiety and impending doom that only added to the perplexity of the plot.

A combination of thriller and science fiction, He wrote a story whose air of mystery had me creating a new wild theory every few chapters, none of which were anywhere near correct.

Gut-wrenching and unpredictable, this novel quickly found its way to my favorites shelf. An unusual glimpse into the future of climate change, the persevering nature of sisterhood, and the tenacity of the human spirit, I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages and genre preferences.

Due to the subject matter, I wanted to insert a few content warnings for those of you interested. This book contains some violence, death, gore (minimal), terminal illness, suicide, and the general topic of natural disasters and casualties.

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