The ones we're meant to find by Joan He

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This dystopian novel creates a world where eco-cities protect people from a toxic environment. Celia (Cee) and Kasey Mizuhara are sisters who are devoted to each other but very different in temperament. They live in a class structure determined by the degree of environmental damage an individual’s family heritage has inflicted on the planet across their lifetimes.

The reader meets Cee living on a deserted island. She has few memories to rely on yet is determined to find her sister. Kasey is searching for her sister. Cee disappeared in mysterious circumstances and it seems Kasey is the only one looking for her.

The story is expertly crafted to combine science fiction and mystery, revealing a complex world where environments, science, politics and relationships are exploited. Told in alternating narratives each sister adds to a story that reaches an unexpected and apocalyptic conclusion. The reader is offered opportunities to consider: What does it mean to be human? What sacrifices can be justified in the quest to preserve humanity? Are human lives more valued than other life? To what extent do we really make choices? How do we know what is real? There are many questions raised by He in her writing – and not all will be answered. Cee will draw the reader to her because of her zest for life - and this will ultimately provide an exceptional provocation in the end.

The twists and turns of this story are what makes it a page turner. The reader will find themselves reflecting on the intriguing and complicated threading of ideas and issues that support an engrossing read.

Themes: AI; Climate change; Loyalty; Sacrifice; Relationships – friends and family.

Linda Guthrie