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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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1,1061337,485 (3.73)125
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)

  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
    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. 00
    The Misconceiver : A Novel by Lucy Ferriss (bhowell)
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» See also 125 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Even though I have not read The Scarlet Letter yet, it is fairly obvious that When She Woke is the retelling of that story in futuristic terms. In a time where church has more authority than government or people – people who have committed crimes are now chromed (have their skin color changed based off their crime). The book gripped my attention quickly but, unfortunately, seemed to go down hill as the story continued. The characters did little for me – even the main character meant very little to me and cared little about what happened to her. In fact, my interest was more in it's secondary characters (Hannah's Dad, sister, Kayla, Simone, etc) and Hannah's devotion to Aiden through most of it was a bit annoying for me given the circumstances. In the end, this book is about making one's own choices and freewill even if it's against the social norm of the time. It was just an ok read for me. There is definitely slant towards pro-choice and some extreme religion so this book may not be for everyone. ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
I almost didn't read this book because of the many terrible reviews written about it, but I'm glad I did.

The story is fast paced, and interesting. The religion aspect of it put a lot of readers off but I found that it really added to the story and the dystopian world within it.

The idea of chroming was such an intriguing idea, and the journey Hannah took was inspiring and ultimately the right path for her.

A lot of complex issues are explored in this book like abortion and it does make you question the previous beliefs you had.

A good book that interested me but I wouldn't read it again. ( )
  4everfanatical | Feb 5, 2016 |
It was a good premise for a book obviously since it was loosely based on the Scarlet Letter which was a much better book and a classic. This was an updated version geared towards a younger generation. I finally stopped about two-thirds of the way through-it just was not a satisfying book. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
It was a good premise for a book obviously since it was loosely based on the Scarlet Letter which was a much better book and a classic. This was an updated version geared towards a younger generation. I finally stopped about two-thirds of the way through-it just was not a satisfying book. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
2 stars (tears streaming down my eyes, figuratively speaking, since I liked Mudbound so much better)

Perhaps I have read too many dystopian novels, perhaps I was expecting something much different with character development, but by half way through this book I was no longer enjoying it even though I wanted to read it and see what happened, not just because of this challenge I was doing at the time.

Hannah Payne, single, wakes up red as part of her punishment for having an abortion, her sentence lengthened for refusing to name the father, a married pastor, or the person who gave her the abortion. The other part of her punishment includes a month in solitary confinement, her every moment caught on video tape unless she is sleeping when it is dark; even the bathroom is behind glass. All but her time in the bathroom is streamed live to the world. She has been sentenced to live 16 years as a Chrome, red for the violence associated with her crime. Red is for manslaughter or second degree murder. There are yellow, blue and green chromes as well. After her thirty days are up, she is released to fend for herself, only needing to stay in her home state and to show up every four months for a new injection of the gene altering virus.

Like all dystopian novels, the premise and set up is hyperbolic; it's not that cruelty to the degree you see doesn't exist in the real world, but to make a point, things are always moved beyond what would actually happened to make a point. Like most dystopian novels, the science is not completely valid, but serves the purpose of the novel. It is neither of these things that gave me such grave disappointment after a good start and even though as improbable as it seemed, I liked and was able to empathize with Hannah in many ways.

I gave this overnight and much of today to mull over just what it was that disappointed me so much; I knew much of it, but to step back and figure out why, despite so many unlikable characters mixed in with the likable ones, I liked Mudbound so much better.

First, Hillary Jordan is good at fleshing out the POV people, but not very good at most of the non POV characters, particularly in this book. So many of them were very two dimensional and poorly drawn out stereotypes, and I mean throughout the book. Even though there are obvious tie-ins to A Scarlet Letter, which I liked much, much better, I often was reminded of Margaret Atwood's novels, particularly A Handmaid's Tale, despite the different plot, primarily the disappointment I usually feel with how Atwood draws characters and the frequent detachment you feel, even though that's not exactly what I felt here.

Secondly, Jordan is good at showing us the thoughts and emotions of the POV characters, but not as good at portraying philosophies or religions; on all sides of it I was egregiously disappointed as they all felt stereotyped and worn out, and even in books where I have disagreed with all of them, I have found them better fleshed out. ( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (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)

(summary from another edition)

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