Review: How We Ricochet by Faith Gardner

How We Ricochet by Faith Gardner

How We Ricochet
Faith Gardner
Published May 24, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About How We Ricochet

Intimate, impactful, and incisive, this newest novel from Faith Gardner, critically acclaimed author of GIRL ON THE LINE, is an unflinching look into the devastating consequences of a mass shooting for one girl and her close-knit family, for readers of THIS IS HOW IT ENDS and ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES.

It seems sometimes a charade that we continue celebrating in the face of relentless tragedy.

How dare we? But then . . . what else is there to do?

Betty’s mom needed new pants for her job.

That was why Betty was at the mall with her mom and sister when the shooting started.

Afterward, nothing is the same.

There are no easy answers to be found, and Betty’s search for them leads her to Michael, the brother of the shooter. But this path only shows Betty one thing: that everything she thought she knew—about herself, about the world around her—can change in a heartbeat.

A moving, powerful journey of life after tragedy, HOW WE RICOCHET is an unflinching and necessary story for our time that will resonate with readers everywhere.

How We Ricochet on Goodreads

My Review

The whole book is told from Betty’s point-of-view. I liked that, and I truly loved the writing, so I think that was great. I did honestly wonder what the story would have been like if it had been divided between Michael and Betty’s points-of-view.

This is one of those books where there’s a LOT going on. Betty, her mom, and her sister are recovering from the experience of the mall shooting. The girls have a difficult relationship with their dad, who has been absent from their lives for ten years besides occasional phone calls and random gifts in the mail. Betty is trying to break into the fashion industry as a copy writer, something she isn’t sure she has a real passion for anymore. Her sister is spiraling into a bad place, and Betty doesn’t know how to help her. Her mom has leapt into a new identity as an activist for gun safety, leaving Betty feeling super isolated.

And then, of course, there’s her getting to know Michael, the brother of the shooter. There’s the way they dance around one another’s grief. The way they process their losses side by side, comforting each other without speaking about it. I loved the way their relationship unfolded. I liked that they were safe harbors for one another in the storm.


On the whole, I found this to be a deeply moving story with great writing and heartfelt relationships. This is the first book by Faith Gardner that I’ve ever read, but I am super interested in her other books now, too.

The cover copy compares this story to a book called THIS IS HOW IT ENDS, but I wonder if they meant THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp? That second book is a story about the unfolding of a school shooting, which is why I wondered about that.

How We Ricochet on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Betty and another character identify as pansexual. One of her close friends is gay. Betty experiences some symptoms of PTSD after being near a shooting involving her mom and sister. Her sister also experiences debilitating PTSD symptoms.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Betty was next door during a shooting in a store where her mother and sister were. She heard the shots but didn’t see it happen. Her mom briefly describes what she witnessed.

Drug Content
Betty’s sister takes medication for panic attacks. She and Betty and others drink alcohol.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of HOW WE RICOCHET in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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