“But what use was logic? It ended where love began,” (He 360).
Cee has been trapped on an island for three years, slowly gaining her memory back. She doesn’t know how she arrived on the island, her own past, and it took her a bit to remember her name but she does remember that she has a sister named Kay somewhere across the ocean and Cee has to find her. Meanwhile sixteen-year-old Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city, a floating city in the sky where she and it’s residents are protected from the natural disasters happening below. All eco-city residents are required to do is spend a third of their time in a stasis pod and attend meetings virtually to preserve their carbon footprint. Kasey enjoys life in the eco-city but her older sister Celia longs for a more human experience, the ones their ancestors had before climate change. But now three months later Celia is missing and while logic tells Kasey she’s dead she can’t stop herself from retracing her sister’s path, because Celia had secrets but so does Kasey.
I went from being a person who had never read any climate change books to reading two in one year. Still, I don’t think this is a genre I’ll be actively looking for. It’s privilege and selfishness on my part, being reminded about how much we’ve screwed the world and continue to do so is bleak and makes me existential, and I suffer from enough enough existential dread before reading books about climate change.
But still, The Ones We’re Meant To Find is an excellent read, and of the two climate change books I’ve read this year this one is definitely superior. Not only does it have an absolutely gorgeous cover but it’s a story with characters that reader’s can relate to even if they don’t necessarily agree with their thoughts and decisions. The world does take a bit to get into, and while reader’s can certainly relate to the climate change crisis the book is set in a future society it can be hard to figure out the terminology and what exists in this world. This can be frustrating for reader’s, especially if there’s any thought that this is a near future (which I would argue with the bots and tech advancement this isn’t) it might be hard for readers to rework their brain into accepting the setting of this book. Once reader’s do though it’s easy to accept this world for what it is, to understand Cee’s life on the island and Kasey’s life in the eco-city.
The book alternates chapters between Cee and Kasey, Cee’s chapters are written in first person and Kasey’s in third which I thought was an odd choice at the beginning but made sense once I learned the characters better. Kasey is not an emotional character, calculating and logical a first person perspective just wouldn’t have worked so I’m glad He chose to write the perspectives in such different ways. Cee and Kasey were such interesting characters to read as well, both so different that there wasn’t a perspective I preferred over the other, I was eager to see where both their stories were headed. I thought Kasey was a very unique character, and as many reader’s have commented on (and some have identified with) Kasey appears to be coded as autistic. I found it odd that this was never confirmed in the book and that He herself has not confirmed it, on her Instagram she writes about how she feels about Kasey as a character and gets more into her psyche but still doesn’t confirm whether or not she’s autistic. I’m curious if He has heard about this theory by reader’s and what her answer would be.
I thought the book was very beautifully written and He does an excellent job with the tone, making it melancholy and thrilling as certain secrets are revealed. That being said, the big “twist” happens about halfway through the book. A few more secrets are revealed afterward but nothing quite as thrilling as the big one, but the story continues, not lagging per se but I can understand why some reader’s stopped enjoying it after this point. If anything the tone of the first half of the book is thrilling while the second part is melancholy, both done well and both fitting together but I suppose that’s the risk with revealing something halfway through a book.
But I still enjoyed it, including the open-ending which I found out about before I started the book and was worried whether or not I would like it. I think it was the only way to end the book, not abruptly but with questions. I think it makes an excellent discussion topic and really had me pondering over it after I finished the book. Overall The One’s We’re Meant to Find is an excellent addition to the YA genre, specifically with it’s topic of climate change and the moral questions it brings with what is the best way of saving the world, if one exists at all. I look forward to reading more of He’s works.
Publication: May 4th 2021
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pages: 384 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, YA, Sci-fi, Mystery, Speculative Fiction, Climate Change
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤.75
“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, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.
In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city 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 nevertheless, she 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.”