cover image How We Ricochet

How We Ricochet

Faith Gardner. HarperTeen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-302235-5

Gardner (Girl on the Line) portrays complex, vulnerable characters navigating the aftermath of gun violence in this emotionally charged novel. On the day of a Bay Area mall shooting, 18-year-old Betty is helpless to do anything, awaiting the fate of her mother and older sister Joy, who are trapped inside the same store as the shooter. Though physically unharmed, the cued-white family is left untethered by the experience. Betty’s mother becomes a fierce advocate for gun control, compromising her relationship with her daughters; Joy, 21, refuses to leave their Berkeley apartment and develops a reliance on alcohol and prescription medication; and Betty, compelled to learn more about the shooter and why he died by suicide in front of Joy after the incident, seeks out his half-white, half-Indian American brother Michael, 17, a former classmate. As their unlikely friendship develops, stirring unexpected feelings in Betty, and tension within the family builds to a dramatic climax, Betty struggles to come to terms with “how dangerous the world really is.” Though the story is told from Betty’s point of view, her mother’s fury and her sister’s terror are as palpable as Betty’s burning desire to understand why the event happened and whether it was preventable. Ages 13–up. (May)