Book Review: The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He || concept? brilliant. execution? not so much

Hiya everyone! How are you doing?

I certainly hope your state of mind is better than mine at the moment. I have this big exam coming up tomorrow, and exhaustion, anticipation, tension (but also a little relief) have built themselves a cozy home in my brain. But lets not go into the woes of us students’ because we have a review of a very anticipated release of mine today! Very exciting, right? *wiggles eyebrows*

The Ones We're Meant to Find

Title: The Ones We’re Meant To Find

Author: Joan He

Genre/Age group: Young Adult Science Fiction

Synopsis

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.

Buddy read with the lovely Janhavi @A Cottage Of Words!

Is it my fault I started reading this book with very high expectations? After hearing countless times how this book was the best of the best (not the exact terminology, but you get the point) and then after reading that amazing synopsis (don’t even get me started on the gorgeous cover), I really thought this was right up my alley. Boy was I wrong.

Imagine this. You are hurtled into a speeding train without any warning. And you’ve got no idea where it’s from, where it’s going to, who are the people around you etc etc. Apart from the obvious physical implications (ouch!) you know that impending feeling of… confusion? Okay so perhaps not the best metaphor, but this was how I felt for the entirety of this book.

Of course I don’t expect to understand every single thing in a sci-fi set decades (centuries? millennia?) in the future. But if I am reading a book, I should at least have an idea about the plot? I have a rule against using gifs in my reviews, otherwise I would have used this opportunity flaunt something of the type, “What’s going on??”. Maybe its just me, but the technological terms, the constantly switching timelines and loads of other stuff was totally beyond my comprehension skills.

“The problem with oceans? They always seem smaller from the shore.”

Let’s talk about what I liked before we go full attack mode again. Number one, the concept behind the story. It was extremely cool, intriguing and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Next comes the world building and the atmosphere. There were several elements which were so interesting to grasp. A city in the sky? “Holoing”? Oh, and the best one was that humans actually invented something that would prompt you with the best phrases during a speech/conversation! I am terrible at socializing, so an AI like that would be incredibly helpful at awkward conversations that I have to face at social events.

So one of our main characters, Celia, is stranded on an island with almost no memories, and for a while, the entire survival plot was done really well (and no it wasn’t turned into a Swiss Family Robinson kinda thing) though I found some things like a ready made house and a robot a little to convenient. But I am willing to overlook that, and I will go as far as to say that I enjoyed reading Celia’s chapters (chapters told from her POV) for most part of the book. Kasey’s though… they were a whole different thing.

Before we go deeper let me introduce you to our two protagonists. Celia is the older sister – a cheerful, outgoing personality (before getting stranded on an island alone of course) who apparently hated the artificiality of their futuristic world. Kasey is a couple years younger than Celia and a polar opposite – introverted, would rather be around gadgets than people, extremely logical and scientific. Due to this, Kasey is often branded as insensitive.

“When I dream of her, it’s in vibrant color, unlike the gradients of gray of my monochrome days. But everything is hazy when I wake. The details merge. The colors fade.”

In the beginning, I found that I could relate to Kasey. Party-awkwardness, a little inexpressiveness are some traits I have in common with her. But the chapters after that were a roller coaster, and not a fun one at that. Literally all the chapters from Kasey’s point-of-view were difficult to grasp, and after a while I began skimming through them. *mock gasp* Yes I know it is a sin in the bookish tradition, but you do get how boring those parts must have been right? They just felt so bland, especially when compared to Celia’s chapters, which were mostly full of colour (omg now those you’ve read the book might think I am mocking Celia, but the pun was unintentional i swear). It came as a huge surprise to me that for once, I actually preferred a first-person narrative over third-person (Celia’s chapters were 1st person POV, Kasey’s were 3rd person) as I generally tend to dislike books with first person narrative *cough* the infinity courts *cough*.

No one, and I repeat, no one has ever mentioned this book without talking about the shocking twists, so I figured I’d cover that too. The thing is, I was waiting for my mind to completely blow up, but I ended up feeling a little underwhelmed by the plot twists. I remember thinking, this was what everybody was talking about? this is it??

Some of the side characters like Hero and Actinum were nicely written, and while I appreciate that, the ending made even less sense than the rest of the story. A character suddenly becomes the “villain” for the last couple of chapters… I mean, what??

Okay that was one chaotic review, but at least it covered everything I wanted to say. Overall, I was very disappointed, but 2.5 stars seems like a fair rating to me.

Have you read The Ones We’re Meant To Find? Which is your favourite book set in the future? Let’s chat in the comments!

~ Rachel

Missed my previous posts? Check them out now!!

Blog Tour: Down To Earth by Betty Culley + Moodboard

8 Things I Look For In Books // does it show that I am desperate for recs?

Books As Road Trips // a random post that emerged out of the void

Author: Rachel

Hey there, I am Rachel. I am crazy about books, and through my blog - "A Bookworm's Paradise", I try to connect with all the other bookworms out there.

27 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He || concept? brilliant. execution? not so much”

  1. Ugh this sounds chaotic. Yeah I actually skipped this one and now I’m glad I did. It’s so hard when books dont live up to the hype but even worse when parts of them are great and other parts just suck. I’ve had a few with great concepts that just did not work

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It totally was! Ah so true, especially when you’ve been waiting quite a while for a book to get released and then realize it was not worth the hype – and only because of the poor execution of an amazing concept 😫😭
      Ooh I am curious to know, which were those books with good concepts but still not up to the mark?

      Like

    1. Ah yes I am sorry to 😦 it was such an anticipated release *sigh*… Ooh I do remember reading your lovely review on it, I think you received an arc? It was one of the many reviews that got me interested in this book, and even though the execution was not really up to the mark, the concept was mind blowing, so thank you for that!
      Thank you so much for reading ahaana💙

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh thank you so much Maddie!! Well don’t let my chaos of a review spoil your enthusiasm for this book, because in spite of everything, it might still be worth a read because of the unique concept and futuristic setting! …And now I’ve put you in a dilemma, haven’t I?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh yes I do think it could have been something I would have enjoyed as well because fast paced books are my thing… If only those major flaws in the plot and characters…
      Anyway thank you Bertie!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, I had super conflicting opinions on this one, as well. It was just super confusing, like you said! I also actually found it hard to connect with the characters, and I think I just came into this looking for something that was super different–I was looking forward to this cool sister relationship where they’re book trying to find their way back to each other and stuff like that! Honestly, to me the plot twist really was shocking, and the twists in the plot were the one thing that I liked about that book, there were a lot of ‘Oh my gosh WHAT???’ parts in this book for me, but I found the ending to be really uncomfortable, honestly. Like, it’s just…weird to think about that. Anyways, great review!

    Like

    1. Yes, yes yes! I think I too picked up this book with an entirely different idea of the story (that cover!!), one where we’ll have this cool sibling dynamic and all that. I never expected it to be so intense, and maybe that’s why it all went over my head if I’m being honest. As for the characters, I did like Hero and initially Celia and Actinum, and perhaps I would have give it more stars solely because of these characters and the futuristic setting… But that ending was seriously the last straw. And I see you’ve found the right word for it! Uncomfortable, that’s exactly how I felt after finishing the book!
      Thank you so much reading! I’m glad you liked my review (and also glad that I’m not the only one who couldn’t enjoy TOWMTF haha) Have a lovely day Phoenix!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I think especially because I really love sibling dynamic stories, that’s why this one especially disappointed me. It was definitely MUCH more intense than I guessed! I honestly didn’t like Hero, I mean he was nice but then…got not-nice. I completely forget who Actinum is ha because my memory is terrible but yeah, I liked Celia a lot for most of the book until the end. Kasey, I honestly just never felt like I connected her, it was really hard to understand her chapters at the beginning because I felt like I’d just been dumped in the world, and then things just felt rather lackluster. Yeah, the whole book was interesting until the ending, but it just felt weird. Definitely uncomfortable. I understand it, and I get why it was written that way, and it was a cool twist, but it just didn’t feel right to me.

        Like

      2. Haha of course you forgot about him and I can’t even blame you because that was yet another complaint I have about this book – even after creating such an immersive world and all that, there was practically nothing unforgettable about the whole thing. Same same! It’s a pity about the ending, otherwise I could have said after finishing the book that Celia was an amazing character, because she was, for most part of the book.
        … And now I feel like it’s just the two of us, two innocent souls against the rest of the bookish universe who loves this book with all their heart haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha yeah there weren’t even that many characters and yet I can’t remember what most of them were like!
        I don’t think we’re the only people who don’t like the book…I’ve talked to a few others who don’t, including May from Forever and Everly (I don’t know if you know her, she’s a pretty well known blogger though?)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh really? Hmm I think I do follow May, can’t remember at the moment tbh😅
        That’s great then, this way we won’t be greatly outnumbered by the fans, oooh and maybe we could form a cult – umm no too intense…. or is it? 😂

        Liked by 1 person

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