I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Sci-Fi Age Range: YA Star Rating: 2 stars Series: standalone
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.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
It’s always a pity when you have high expectations of a book and they aren’t fulfilled. I really liked her debut, THE DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE, and was expecting this to be a twisty book with a mystery that pulled me in and had me questioning everything, while a niggling unease settled deep in my bones.
Instead, I spent the entire time reading THE ONES WE’RE MEANT TO FIND deeply, deeply confused. I could not work out what was going on, to such a degree that it wasn’t a “ooh, mystery I want to get to the bottom of” experience, but rather a “I cannot follow what is happening from one page to the next” experience. To be honest, if it wasn’t a book on the shorter side and an eARC (and thus I felt the needed to read it fully to better review it), I would have DNF’d.
One of the comps it was marketed with was Black Mirror, so I was expecting something twisty and sinister, and I suppose it does deliver on the “tech is being used in a not great way and nothing is as you think it is” premise of that property. The two POVs were happening in what was probably different timelines, so I was waiting for the explanation, the twist that went “oh” and explained what had happened.
However, when the first and biggest one came, I was just too lost to really care. It made sense, but that was about as much impact as it had on me, particularly as there was about 40% left, and that final section seemed to be dragging out a single idea in Cee’s section and stuffing a load more twists that I didn’t follow and didn’t seem set up in Kasey’s chapters.
The that that I was struggling to follow what was happening, lead to a disconnect between me and the characters. As I couldn’t work out what was happening to and around them, I couldn’t understand their actions – there was no framework to figure out what their options were so to work out their emotional and mental states triggering their choices. This further undermined some of the reveals that were supposed to shake their identities and get me empathising with them, but that didn’t happen.
Read my reviews of other books by Joan He: