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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Hillary Jordan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1621396,986 (3.73)126
Title:When She Woke
Authors:Hillary Jordan
Info:Algonquin Books (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Work details

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (2011)

  1. 160
    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. 30
    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.
  4. 20
    Bumped by Megan McCafferty (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: It's YA, but the fertility issues are similar in both novels.
  5. 10
    Archetype by M. D. Waters (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar themes of gender/reproduction in the future.
  6. 00
    The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar themes of marked criminals/lower elements and female fertility
  7. 00
    The Misconceiver : A Novel by Lucy Ferriss (bhowell)
  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

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» See also 126 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
This book is evocative, provocative, thought provoking and very original. Although this is a riff on The Scarlet Letter, Jordan has put a thoroughly modern spin on an old tale. Highly original and compulsively readable. I am not a fan of dystopian fiction, but I loved this book. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
Hmmm what to say...? As so many other reviewers have said, the first half was really good. Believable dystopian society setup, a sympathetic main character, interesting fresh idea... And then about halfway through it just fell apart. Some of the things that happened were WAY out of character for the protag, and changed my feelings about the whole book. And then all the religious propaganda at the end, I don't get it. This could have been so very very interesting given the rather original plot line... Oh well. ( )
  KnivesBoone | Jul 29, 2016 |
I really wanted to give 3.5 stars. The opening was a WOW! It grabbed me from the first line. Unfortunately, it lost momentum for me towards the end. I feel like some story lines just ended instead of being closed, and it was anticlimactic as well. I wanted more from such a great beginning. However it was still an enjoyable read. ( )
  karconner | Jul 5, 2016 |
I saw Jordan speak at a very, very small reading at my local library (literally 12 people including me and the two librarians) and I was impressed. Not only by the novel's premise, but by Jordan herself. Although I didn't get the nerve to talk to her (I hadn't read the novel yet, it had only been out for a few days at this point) and I've been kicking myself ever since.

The horrifying - and all too plausible - future in this novel was intriguing, and Jordan backed up a great idea with perfect prose and a completely readable style. Of course, I totally predicted the ending a few times, but I was happily wrong. I would gladly revisit Hannah and her life in another novel, but I have a feeling Jordan has moved on to bigger and more brilliant things. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
This was the inaugural selection for my book club, and all in all it was a great read. I'm a relative novice when it comes to book clubs, and this is the first one that I've ever started. We threw a bunch of books into a hat, and this was the randomly selected choice.

Just reading the book blurb had me intrigued by the story. "When She Woke" is an obvious dystopian bastardization of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter." While I'm familiar with the books premise, I have not read it. It is on my "Bucket List"of books to read.

I bought the book the very next day, and I eagerly began reading it as soon as I got home. I found my excitement quickly turning to dismay, and then anger as I read. So many political hot button issues within so few pages. After a while I honestly wasn't sure what I was feeling anymore.

I probably read the first quarter of it within a few hours, but while I was interested in the story, I found that it was getting a little slow. Slow enough that I found myself putting it down more and more, and each break became longer and longer. Eventually, I did not pick it up again. Next thing you know, the next club meeting was around the corner. I forced myself to pick it up again, and was ready to use the "how to get through a difficult read formula" to get it finished in time for the discussion. I gamely plugged on for another chapter or two, and like someone cast a spell, I was suddenly hooked again. The plot and pace of the book picked up, and began speeding towards it unpredictable ending.

At times I found myself just kind of stunned by a certain turn in the story, and I was saddened when I reached the last page. Like many stories, I truly want to know what comes next. I would have given the book a good rating if no other reason than my reaction to it. I have to admire anything that causes the gamut of emotions that this book did within me. Based on this alone, I would be predisposed to reading another title from Hillary Jordan. In fact I find myself eager to do so.

I find myself eager for the upcoming discussion about this book. I'm also looking forward to whatever our book club chooses for its next selection. If it's even half as good as this was I'll be satisfied. ( )
  BethMcV69 | Jun 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (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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“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
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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