Perfect for fans of Rick Yancey and Marie Lu, The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a sci-fi fantasy with mind-blowing twists, ready to burst onto the YA scene, from the critically-acclaimed Descendant of the Crane author, Joan He.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
Published by: Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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 Metropolis—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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What Inspired Me to Write My Book
It started with a dream.
I know, I know. No, I wasn’t dreaming about vampires sparkling in the sun or anything like that. But the image that came to me was just as striking: it was of a girl, diving to the bottom of the sea. She was searching for something. What? I wondered.
My mind went back to my favorite books as a teen. The paranormal boom happened when I was still in middle school, and while I enjoyed those books, they didn’t capture my imagination the same way the 2010 young adult books did. By then, I was actually a teen, and I distinctly remember walking into Borders (remember those?) and picking up a paperback of THE HUNGER GAMES. I was hooked. Pretty soon I was reading DIVERGENT, LEGEND, and any YA dystopian I could get my hands on. YA dystopia was really my gateway into the YA genre as a whole, and they left a deep impression on me, particularly in how they signaled the relatability of their main characters. A single scene with a younger sibling, for example, could frame a protagonist as human and vulnerable before they went on to topple dictatorships or save the world.
What if, I wondered as I pondered my dream, the girl in my dream is searching for her younger sister, but that sister is more than a storytelling device?
And so came the heart of the story. I wanted to both pay homage to my favorite YAs, and also challenge the canon. Yes, canon. When a trope, a circumstance, or even a certain kind of character appears frequently enough in a band of literature, it narrows what readers come to expect. It sets up a standard that subsequent literature must meet, or fall “short” of. For example, have enough of these scenes where a main character’s actions are motivated by this need to protect their sibling, and it signals that a worthy hero must be living their life for someone else. It signals that there can only be one type of main character, a type with a bleeding, caring heart within them, no matter how badass or stoic their outer shell. Even the prevalence of first person present as a point of view choice signals that a main character’s emotions must be immediate. But do they really have to? As a teen, I wasn’t nearly as in touch with my inner monologue as many of the characters I encountered. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy reading them. I absolutely did. I wanted to be them. But in reality, I was someone who responded awkwardly to situations. I underreacted to things people cared about, and overreacted to others. I never had the perfect comeback or refrain in conversation (I still don’t to this day). I was emotional, but overly so. I was annoying, not vulnerable.
I checked none of the boxes for a YA main character.
The decision to make the main characters in my book Asian was one that came easily. Why not? But the decision to write two vastly different characters—one who’s personality is much closer to what exists in the canon, and one the opposite—was a conscientious choice that I struggled with. YA teaches us to connect with a certain kind of character; I knew I was writing one who might be “unrelatable.” But that’s the inspiration of this book: a choice to play into the expectations you might have when you realize this is a dystopian story about sisters, and then to subvert them entirely.
Joan 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 stories were her favorite kind of art. She studied psychology and Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the city waterfront. Descendant of the Crane is her young adult debut.
For updates, please sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c5rvdL. For business related inquiries, please contact her literary agent, John Cusick of Folio Lit.
Author links: Website ~ Instagram ~Twitter ~Goodreads ~
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