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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
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When She Woke (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Hillary Jordan

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9321179,353 (3.72)114
Member:jcmontgomery
Title:When She Woke
Authors:Hillary Jordan
Info:Algonquin Books (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Work details

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (2011)

2011 (19) 2012 (20) 2013 (10) abortion (63) adultery (11) ARC (13) crime (9) dystopia (98) dystopian (47) ebook (15) feminism (10) fiction (107) future (7) Kindle (14) love (7) punishment (7) read (12) read in 2011 (9) read in 2012 (14) religion (54) Scarlet Letter (26) science fiction (73) sf (7) signed (7) Texas (16) theocracy (13) to-read (67) unread (7) wishlist (7) women's rights (7)
  1. 140
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Anonymous user, BeckyJG, bookworm12, sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: The Handmaid's Tale is the classic forerunner to dystopic fiction of sexist futures. When She Woke picks up the mantel with a more modern version of a misogynistic theocracy taking over government. Both show terrifying futures for the state of women in society.… (more)
  2. 100
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: WHEN SHE WOKE is a modern retelling of the classic.
  3. 20
    The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall (sturlington)
  4. 20
    Bumped by Megan McCafferty (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: It's YA, but the fertility issues are similar in both novels.
  5. 20
    Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (ellbeecee)
    ellbeecee: Near-future dystopian fiction that makes you consider what's going on and the various paths that could be taken.
  6. 00
    Archetype by M. D. Waters (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar themes of gender/reproduction in the future.
  7. 00
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (sturlington)
  8. 11
    Christian Nation: A Novel by Frederic C. Rich (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar theme of a post-evangelical government takeover and its ramifications on civil liberties
  9. 01
    The Misconceiver : A Novel by Lucy Ferriss (bhowell)
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» See also 114 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
Overall, I think this was a good book. It was described to me as a cross between Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which are two of my all-time favorite novels so of course I was intrigued. Jordan sets up an interesting future world, but I felt the plot and character development did not live up to the amazing potential that she created when she made this world in the first place. It was a good read, but did not meet my expectations based on the summaries I had read of the novel and I do not think it lived up to its potential. ( )
  CareBear36 | Mar 8, 2014 |
The religious fundamentalists have taken over in many states and are legislating morality and punishing lawbreakers with Chroming, a process that brightly colors your skin, different colors depending on your crime. Technology has also allowed exact monitoring of peoples location. Our heroine, Hannah Payne, is Red, indicating that she is a murderer, in her case by aborting her unborn child. Because it is reminiscent of The Scarlet Letter, The Handmaid's Tale, Children of God, it doesn't have the feel of any original ideas, but it is a good read. Another reminder of the consequences of intolerance and restrictions on individual liberty is always welcome. ( )
  gbelik | Feb 18, 2014 |
Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke is a heart-stopping thriller raising countless questions about faith, love and loyalty. A dystopian novel set in the not-so-distant future, Jordan’s America is a stark, unforgiving and frightening place — but one that remains recognizable, making it all the more hair-raising.

Every time I caught a glimpse of our current world, I imagined a time at which our prisons would be too full for new inmates. Of what it would be like to have your skin altered to reflect a crime you could have committed ten, twenty years ago — and how it would feel to have every movement charted on a port for public consumption. Of violence against Chromes being the norm, and for racism to be all but eradicated in favor of hatred and misunderstanding for a new enemy. Friendships, relationships, family life, work . . . nothing can be pure for a Chrome. Nothing can be the same.

As a character, Hannah is a strong-willed, broken but determined young woman. So many times I wanted her to scream out the truth, reveal everything in the hope of saving herself, but I knew she couldn’t — wouldn’t — do that. Still in love with the man who fathered her child, she knows that exposing him will cause a tremendous scandal and wound for her community — and possibly make those who depend on him for spiritual guidance question their beliefs. Still somehow hoping to find her way back to God, Hannah simply can’t do that. Not even to free herself.

You have to commend her, really. For everything she endures, everything she suffers, Hannah never wavers in her commitment to guard the identity of her love — and to push forward despite it all, finding some way to return to her family and faith. After nearly everyone has abandoned her, including her own mother and sister, Hannah manages to summon the courage to imagine a life after the abortion. After Chroming. Even if it means disappearing from life as she knows it.

What makes When She Woke so compelling are the shades of current society in Jordan’s splintered future — as well as the dynamics between Hannah and her love as well as Kayla, a fellow Chrome she befriends in a harrowing place designed to purge them of their sins. I loved that the pair bonded in a hopeless situation, and it was their loyalty to one another that guided them through countless miseries.

And make no mistake: there were miseries. This isn’t a happy tale, friends, though I must say how pleased I was with the ending. Even when life seems unbearably bleak, tiny rays of hope crack through the darkness. I wondered at points if When She Woke was making a statement against the hold of the religious right over America, perhaps, or how easily swayed the people can be by the thoughts of man — not God. But in the end, I don’t think that’s so. Jordan had me questioning many aspects of modern society, but she didn’t belittle the Paynes’ faith. Wonder about it, certainly, but not cut down.

In the end, I found this novel deeply imaginative and incredibly interesting. The idea of melachroming was very unique, and it’s been a while since I read a work of dystopian or science fiction that captivated me so completely. By the conclusion I felt as though I’d spent days white-knuckle gripping a sinking life boat with Hannah, riding out the waves and hanging on as best I could.

If you think this might be a book you’ll enjoy, it is. ( )
1 vote writemeg | Jan 20, 2014 |
In a near-future America, abortion is a crime -- and Hannah Payne has just been convicted of murder. To reduce overcrowding in the federal prison system, the government has developed the process of melachroming, altering the color of a person's skin based on their crimes. Hannah is now bright red, a Chrome, and everyone who looks at her knows exactly what she is. Hannah could have reduced her sentence by revealing the name of the baby's father, or by betraying the abortionist who did the procedure, but she did neither. Now, she must deal with the realities of life as an outcast -- a life more dangerous than she could have imagined.

I get "dystopia fatigue" fairly quickly, but it's been long enough since I read one that I was able to really enjoy this one. It has a few really good points: there's a logical explanation for why society has developed in the way it has, and though Hannah's family and social group is ultra-conservative, there are indications that not all of society follows the same pattern (some dystopian societies are more homogenous than credulity allows). On the other hand, I didn't like the ending -- some things were wrapped up too neatly, while others were left open enough that it almost seems as if it is allowing for a sequel (though I don't think a sequel is called for). I did like the parallels with The Scarlet Letter throughout the book, which never overpowered the story but dovetailed nicely in the small details. ( )
  foggidawn | Jan 15, 2014 |
Dystopian fiction, set in the near and recognizable future where the boundaries of church and state have gotten uncomfortably blurred. It's readable, and nastily believable. Jordan never quite goes for the throat, but that's OK... things are scary enough these days. ( )
  lisapeet | Jan 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
These early scenes, in which Hannah wakes up in the Chrome ward where she’s been sentenced to remain for 30 days, are promisingly inventive. ... Lacking the satiric sting of “1984″ and “A Clockwork Orange,” the pathos of “Super Sad True Love Story” and “The Book of Dave,” or the kind of newfangled vocabulary each of these works used to describe their worlds, Jordan’s dystopia turns out to depict a much smaller future than its bold opening chapters, with their clever homage to Hawthorne, had so valiantly attempted to guarantee.
added by lquilter | editSalon.com, Donna Rifkind (Oct 10, 2011)
 

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Hillary Jordanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corrigan, HeatherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
“Truly, friend, and methinks it must gladden your heart, after your troubles and sojourn in the wilderness,” said the townsman, “to find yourself, at length, in a land where iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people.”  —NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, The Scarlet Letter
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This book is for my father
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When she woke, she was red.
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Book description
Hannah Payne awakens to a nightmare. She is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home. She is now a convicted criminal, and her skin color has been genetically altered. Her crime, according to the State of Texas: the murder of her unborn child, whose father she refuses to name. Her color: red. The color of newly shed blood.

In Hannah's America, sometime in the future, faith, love, and sexuality have fallen prey to politics. Convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated, but "chromed", forced to appear in a new and sinister form of reality TV, and released back into the population. Stigmatized in a hostile world, they must survive the best they can.

Until her arrest, Hannah had devoted her life to church and family. In seeking a path to safety, she is forced to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes the personal.

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In the future, abortion has become a crime as a series of events threatens the existence of the United States. One woman wakes up to discover that her skin color has been changed to red as punishment for having the procedure done. Now she must embark on a dangerous journey in order to find refuge from a hostile and threatening society.… (more)

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