#Teen Tonic #Book Review of Ricochet by Kathryn Berla

When seventeen-year-old Tati sends a saliva sample to a DNA ancestry testing site her results come back inconclusive. What’s wrong with her DNA? And what does it have to do with her unexplained seizures and the beckoning tunnel she sees during them?

What Tati discovers is more than she could have ever imagined possible. Parallel universes exist and her abnormal DNA compels and condemns Tati and her other selves—shy Ana—privileged Tatyana—and on-the-run Tanya, to a lifetime of ricocheting between their parallel lives in the multiverse.

With knowledge of their existence a deadly threat in every universe, the only chance all four have to survive is to work together to take down the scientist responsible: their father (From the Book Blurb)

My thoughts:

I love science-fiction in general and the idea of multiverse in particular. So when I read the blurb for Ricochet by Kathryn Berla I didn’t hesitate, grabbed the book and started reading straightaway.


There are four points of view, so it took me a bit of time to get used to the four narrators: Tati, Ana, Tanya, and Tatiana. The author clearly put a lot of effort into differentiating their worlds and their voices. In fact, I quickly found myself relating more to one of them than to the others! Two of the protagonists live in the USA, having been adopted by American parents, although they do know that their origin is Russian. Overall, their life circumstances are fairly similar and you can concentrate on how the differences came about. The other two are much more connected to Russia. You can say that the task of following the four different stories was slightly reduced by this narrative device.

The ‘science’ idea the plot is based on is… Wait a second, this is a spoiler! You might want to skip the section between the following two images:

……

The ‘science’ bit the plot is built around is based on the most famous cat in the history of humankind. Yes, it’s Schrodinger’s cat. An electron can exist in more than one state simultaneously i.e. a wavelike state and a particle state, but when it is observed, it loses its duality. Once you open the box, the cat is either dead or alive, but not both at the same time. This theory gave rise to the idea of parallel universes, infinite versions of our life that would collapse the moment we tried to observe them. In this book Tatyana’s father, the proverbial mad scientist and megalomaniac, finds a way to alter the genetic code of the embryo of his own child to provide portals to three other parallel universes. The portals would allow the four girls to travel and observe the other universes. Imagine Schroedinger’s cat looking at itself – dead, half-dead or three-quarters dead. So, it’s a multiverse limited to four ‘states’/’identities’. This ‘genetic modification’ resulted in periodic seisure-like fits (which doctors could not explain or find any remedy for) when one of the girls tried to approach and observe herself in one of the other three worlds through a thin membrane. It was also the reason why the DNA tests run on the girls were inconclusive. With time, the girls’ genes began ‘healing’ themselves which would lead to complete disappearance/closure of the portals and total separation of the four protagonists’ worlds. In other words, the cat was able to periodically observe itself for 18 years.

……

After this brief digression we are back to the original spoiler-free zone!


The story also touched on teenager-parent relationships (e.g. Should you try to stop your parent from leading an unhealthy lifestyle that might lead to serious medical problems later or should you let them continue making their choices because they are an adult and your intervention would mean a strange role reversal), first love, trust issues, and setting boundaries between friends when one of them doesn’t want to change the nature of their relationship.

At some point the pace became really fast and the story started bearing similarity to an action thriller with lots of chases and narrow escapes. This was the bit where I got confused and started wishing for fewer secondary characters. I’m still not sure about the ending– I think if it had been told from the point of view of another protagonist, the one who was the most attached to the girls’ father, it would have carried more emotional significance. The way it was it felt almost too detached.


The cover is really beautiful and deserves a special mention. Overall, a quick read with varied characters and a lot of action, recommended for fans of sci-fi (who do not mind bending a few physics rules for the sake of an interesting plot) and fast-paced thrillers.

  • Have you read any books by Kathryn Berla? if yes, any you would recommend?
  • Do you like reading about the multiverse? If yes, what’s your favourite book that explores this idea?
  • Do you like multiple points of view? What is the number of POVs you feel most comfortable with?

Join the Conversation

15 Comments

  1. I’m not a big fan of reading about teens, but I adore the science being based on Schroedinger’s cat! This sounds like a fascinating concept, so I might have to seriously consider picking it up. I love the idea of mulitverses, but haven’t read too many books about them. There’s just so much room for exploration in them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah so you didn’t mind my little spoiler! 😁 This one is very clear about its target audience, and it’s not adults….but I recently saw another one dealing with the topic – The Schroedinger Girl – which is supposed to be a psychological thriller 🐈

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not read about the multiverse, but it seems to me a very attractive reading. Especially this opportunity to live several different lives.
    How many points of view do I feel comfortable with? frankly, never in such a vein had I thought before. I can only say that when you read the thick serious novels of the classics of literature, then together there is a huge number of worldviews, as in life. and this is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Multiverse is such a fascinating idea to explore – infinite universes that differ because we all make choices and even the smallest one has consequences.
      I’m so glad you mentioned that literature opens us up to a huge number of opinions, attitudes and experiences, some real, some imaginary. Some of them will uplift and enlighten us, while others might make us feel very uncomfortable.
      When I wrote my somewhat ambiguous question, I was thinking about narrators, but your answer is much deeper and more complex ❤❤❤ Thank you for your wonderful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I realized that about storytellers. But for some reason I can’t imagine this situation. It is not clear how many storytellers I will not understand. it seems to me that no matter how many there are, if their storylines once touch, then it will be possible to understand them correctly.
        But did not conduct such experiments.🌞

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But it also depends if they are all reliable, although even if some of them aren’t, they are still adding to the big picture. Even a crooked mirror reflects and you’re right it is fascinating to piece the puzzle together. It just seems so difficult to develop feelings for all of them if there 6-8 or more…
        I still keep thinking about the broader meaning of points of view. Recently I read a review for Lolita asking if there is a limit how far we should go trying to understand the other’s point of view…
        Sorry for my ramblings and thank you for your patience and understanding 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It seems to me that it is very, very subjective to understand the point of view of another. You can understand any point of view if you want to do it. if another person is very nice to you, then you will try to understand him endlessly … in the most seemingly unjustified situations you will justify him, in the most unsightly actions you will forgive him … This applies to both living people and characters of literary works …

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carla! She’s probably going to be very sceptical of ‘the science’ that drives the plot in this book. It’s great to know she is a genetic specialist, because there are so many issues and dilemmas nowadays related to this area. It’s great to know that conditions like PKU can be diagnosed and treated before they cause damage.

      Liked by 1 person

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