Blog Tour // The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He (Review + Playlist)

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, but I’m back and super excited to be participating in the street team book tour for Joan He’s The Ones We’re Meant to Find! Check out Paola’s launch post here, featuring the full schedule!

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

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Joan He was born and raised in Philadelphia but still will, on occasion, lose her way. At a young age, she received classical instruction in oil painting before discovering that storytelling was her favorite form of expression. She studied Psychology and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the Delaware River. Descendant of the Crane is her debut young adult fantasy. Her next novel, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, will be forthcoming from Macmillan on May 4th, 2021. 

It’s not every day you find a book like The Ones We’re Meant to Find; I’ve never read anything quite like it before. That being said, I think the best way to describe it would be We Were Liars crossed with 2014–16ish dystopia. The dystopian elements felt subtle, but definitely present and well written.

Told in haunting dual perspective that traverse time and space, we’re introduced to two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Kasey is a STEM genius who feels distanced from the world. Cee is trapped on an island and has a singular mission: find her sister. Both characters were compelling and it was interesting to follow them on their separate journeys through past and present. Hero and Actinium added so much to the book as well, in particular their interactions with the sisters were never straightforward, a complexity that continued throughout, especially after the twist was revealed. 

I love the exploration of themes in this book, from the impact humanity has made on the earth to questions about the morality of bots. Memory, too, was such an interesting aspect of the novel, and in particular its role in the ending, which I found super effective and intriguing. This is a book that draws you in and waits until you’re fully immersed before making you think about the issues that are equally relevant in fiction and reality.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a book best read without knowing too much before going in, but I will say that I do kinda wish I’d read the full Goodreads synopsis before starting, simply because then I would’ve been able to settle in faster. Regardless, the atmosphere is set up beautifully and retained the whole way through, a calming flow much like the ocean that is central to the novel. This is such a thoughtful and poetic book, and I recommend it from my heart. 

~I received a copy as a member of the author’s street team and willingly reviewed it~

THE ONES WE’RE MEANT TO FIND: PLAYLIST

As promised, the playlist! A lil explanation follows:

Tracks 1-10: Dystopia

A lot of these songs take me right back to 2014–2016, besides being some of my favourite songs from that era they all carry a dystopian vibe to me and I wanted that atmosphere to start off the playlist. We also have some newer tracks to reflect the futuristic elements of the book. I chose Islands as the feature track for this section because it’s very much a song focused around connection and disconnection; Sara Bareilles herself has commented that the song is about being okay with being alone. To conclude the section, I can’t say I had much more reasoning beyond the fact that Fallingwater matched the vibes and has the word water in the title?

Tracks 11–20: Cee

A mix of ocean and boy crazy? Of course I was going to feature ocean eyes for Cee, and many of these tracks are on the sad love spectrum but I hope they also tell a story when played in sequence. To conclude, Back In My Body; I’m mainly thinking about the last few scenes we had with Cee and how her view on life changed.

Tracks 21–30: Kasey

For Kasey I wanted to have tracks that captured her questions about her own self worth as well as how much she misses her sister. Sasha Sloan’s Normal is one of my favourite songs ever, applicable to so many situations and I picked the track as the feature particularly because of one of the first scenes we get with Kasey at her kitchen island. By the end of the novel, Kasey has grown lots, and with Gasoline, in particular I’m thinking of the line “Low on self esteem, so you run on gasoline”, and the line that follows in the post-chorus: “I think there’s a flaw in my code”.

Tracks 30–39: Sisters

This section is a combination of apocalypse and devotion I’d say? I adore the lines of Die Alone, in particular the pre-chorus: “You asked me, “Do you wanna die alone / Or watch it all burn down together?” / I said I’d rather try to hold on to you forever”. I was super torn about picking the concluding track but I went with Alaska simply because I love the way it sounds and it almost reflects being in a completely different universe from where it all began!

Tracks 40–50: Actinium and Hero

To round out my playlist I wanted to have a few shorter sections for other key characters! I don’t want to say too much here just as I left it fairly vague in my review, but from here; read the book 😈 But more specifically, Tracks 40–50 are Actinium and 45–50 are Hero; and I had similar intentions in terms of having a feature track and concluding track here, with the aim of telling a story.

Have you read any books that take you back to a different time period? What are your favourite genres that aren’t currently as popular as they previously were?

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