The Ones We're Meant to Find
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Warning - This Review Contains Spoilers - Spoilers Section Will Be Warned Ahead Of Time
Rating - ⭐⭐1/2
"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."
The Ones We're Meant to Find is a standalone YA dystopian novel by Joan He, and is a new release that came out on May 4th.
Strap yourselves in, because this is going to be a long one.
If I could use any word to describe this book, it would be confusing. I spent at least half of this book not fully understanding what was going on. And while a lot of the questions I had were ultimately answered, any satisfaction was bogged down by the direction of the plot. Let's start with the one positive thing I have to say before going into more detail on why I thought this book didn't work.
I did like the writing style. I thought it was a bit descriptive and poetic at first, but I found it easy enough the breeze through the book. That, unfortunately for me, is where the good things end.
Overall, I was mainly just bored and confused. Bored because I didn't care at all about the characters or the plot, and confused because things at first weren't adding up and when they did, I didn't like the way they fit.
In the beginning, you are given some crumbs and along the way they slowly start getting answered. One of our MCs, Cee, also conveniently has amnesia so we are equally in the dark as to what is going on.
Needless to say, I spent a lot of time during this book trying to match up how things were connected because something wasn't right. I eventually got what was happening and saw the twist coming, and it was not a good one. We will talk more about that later in the spoiler section, but for now let's talk move on to the plot.
Going into this I knew that this was a dystopian (which isn't my favourite genre ever), but I wasn't expecting for it to be as environmental as it was. While that might not necessarily be a bad thing, I didn't think the sci-fi elements really worked well in this. I think, at least for me, this would have been better if it was simply just a 'lost at sea' story. I didn't feel like the sci-fi elements added anything particularly good to the story.
However, I find that even a story following someone stranded on an island is hard to read because there are many things that can break the illusion. For me it mainly comes down to hygiene as there is no possible way that someone can look good when they are stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere. I also highly doubt there was enough food for her to survive that long but, you know, semantics.
As for the characters, as I said before, I really didn't care to read about them. There was nothing about them that was particularly enticing or made me want to know more. I also thought that the addition of U-me was not a good one, as all they did was repeat the same lines over and over again. I get the need to add a companion so that Cee didn't lose her sanity on the island, but U-me added nothing to the story.
From this point on I go into more specific details, but there are some major spoilers sprinkled in there, so proceed with caution if you want to continue reading. If you don't want to be spoiled at all, then you can stop reading here.
Now, let's talk about the addition of a romance that made no sense. A boy ends up washing up on shore, and immediately tries to kill Cee, which is something that occurs several times throughout the book. No real explanation was given as to why that happened as well which was frustrating. I would have been fine if the reason why this boy washed up was to provide Cee with some platonic companionship, but no, it had to be romantic.
A romance that happens way to quickly considering the fact that both of them have amnesia so they don't know anything about themselves let alone each other. The romance also amounted to nothing in the end, so this addition just seemed pointless. Not to mention the fact that he tried to kill her...several times... because that just screams romance.
As for the twist, ah the twist, I could see it coming and I didn't like it. You could see that there was something not quite right with Cee, and that was because she wasn't even human. She was, in fact, a bot that Kasey made and filled with the memories from her actual sister Celia. In addition to that, everything she did was because she was programmed to. I don't even know how to describe how much I don't like that idea. I feel a bit cheated knowing that everything Cee was doing was not of her own volition.
Time to get even more nitpicky by talking about small details that should have been left out either because they gave away the twist or because they didn't add anything to the plot.
For a good chunk of the book, Cee was unable to see in colour, but later on she was able to. That was because by drowning, she somehow accidentally 'unlocked' the next step in her programming. Why this was added, I have no idea. Other things that gave away the twist was the fact that despite being stranded for 3 years and going through severe trauma that should have killed her, she was still alive and kicking.
The next detail I guess this detail was on theme considering the cover and the whole 'stranded on a deserted island' plot, but the amount of drowning in this was a bit ridiculous. Celia died at sea, and then Cee drowns both accidently and intentionally several times throughout out it. After the first few mentions it started to feel like overkill.
There were also a good amount of small non-plot oriented details that bothered me mainly because they weren't explained. While small, those details do matter because it is rather frustrating when they are included with no explanation given. And that frustration can easily distract me from what's going on.
First of all, Cee constantly uses the word 'joules', which I assume is some form of expletive. That would make sense if, for one, what the word was used for was actually explained, and two, if she didn't already use swear words.
Secondly, M.M. is constantly referred to, but we are not given even a single hint as to who they were. There were some possibly mentions of them being a former occupant of the island, but no further information was given.
Overall, there were so many misses from the direction of the plot to the small inconsequential details.