Book Review: “The Ones We’re Meant to Find”


Courtesy of Roaring Brook Press

Reporter Eirini Schoinas reviews the book “The Ones We’re Meant to Find.”

Our world is suffering from increasing environmental damage, and many are wondering where this is going to take us. Joan He’s young adult science fiction novel “The Ones We’re Meant to Find” takes us to a climate-ravaged future in which humanity continues its exploitation of the earth.

Today’s problems are magnified, and even with some solutions in place, humanity is still in peril and a better solution is needed. 

Set in this haunting futuristic world, the book follows two storylines. 

In one storyline, STEM prodigy Kasey is searching for her sister Celia, who disappeared into the ocean. Due to a declining environment caused by human action, many but not all of the world’s citizens now live in floating eco-cities for protection. They live sparsely and spend much of their time in virtual worlds to avoid consuming physical resources. Celia’s departure is unthinkable, so why did she leave?

The other storyline follows Cee, who has been marooned on an abandoned island for three years. She has no idea how she got there or what her life was like before. With the many gaps in her memories, all she knows for sure is that she must escape the island and find her sister Kay. 

The story alternates between the storylines of the two protagonists chapter by chapter, providing small clues for each of the mysteries. The near future setting makes the story feel strangely familiar and eerie. It isn’t until the halfway point of the novel that concrete answers begin to emerge, which ultimately leads to a dramatic conclusion in the final chapters.  The unfolding mysteries keep the story consistently captivating. 

The story explores many existential questions including what it means to truly be human and what it means to be true to yourself. Kasey must decide whether to compromise her own morality and lie by omission for the greater good of humanity, while Cee must wrestle with sacrifice to remain true to herself. 

Ultimately, I really enjoyed reading the book. I appreciated that the technological innovations described in the book felt like a plausible, natural evolution of what is available today. The dystopian world described in this book was a reminder of the urgency of action needed to avoid a similar fate. The book incorporates many twists and turns that will constantly keep you guessing. Early on, I personally guessed completely wrong on most things. 

If you’re looking for a book that differs from many of the predictable storylines of young adult novels, “The Ones We’re Meant to Find” is the book for you. The book is captivating, and while the story can be confusing at times, it ultimately comes together by the end. It is a heartbreaking emotional rollercoaster that may even make you cry, but is well worth it in the end.