Bellwether Prize Winner Hillary Jordan's provocative new novel is the fiercely imagined story of a woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed - their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crime - and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder.
Some of the recent comments posted about When She Woke. Join the discussion! You can see the full discussion here.
Do you think there should be a sequel, or perhaps a prequel?
A sequel would be interesting, but only if the author really felt like she had something to say and wasn't writing just to make money. I realize authors need to make money, but I'd rather see her write something else if she doesn't feel strongly... - mariannes
How do you think you would react in Hannah's shoes?
I am trying to think about this as I would have when I was in my early twenties. I think I was pretty independent then. I am not so sure I would have had the abortion. I have a strong belief about that and I think I would have cherished the... - Navy Mom
Literary References in When She Woke
Thank you #terrio for you insightful posts. I have enjoyed reading them. I thought the novel had a feeling of "big Brother" is watching because Hannah could be tracked with those nano things that she had injected into her. That was a scary... - Navy Mom
Overall, what do you think of "When She Woke"?
I was amazed that I would read a book like this and even more surprised that I enjoyed it. My husband reads all science fiction books and has invited me to try some. I have always declined . I would have to say that When She Woke peeked my... - rosannes
Patriarchy but Women still in charge
Hannah's mom, also, definitely held the power in that family... her dad would have been willing for Hannah to come home, but Mom put her foot down. - judyt
Simone and the Novembrists
I had difficulty with the tactics that were used by the Novembrists. They might not have been as brutal as the Firsts but I don't think their actions were justified when it came to killing others. It seems to me that the means justifying the end... - jknapp
Women pay the price for men's power
As a white male, I know that I have leverage and options that women and most minorities do not have. That needs to change if we are not only make this world more livable, but possibly, to survive. We males have not come to a point where... - bsauerbrey
In short, When She Woke is a fast and engaging read, and ideally suited for someone looking for an entertaining book requiring little thought. It's popcorn, not steak: enjoyable and addictive, but in the long run not very filling. (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).
The Book Case
It reads like a thriller, and one that makes you think hard, to boot. I've already placed this one on my favorite-books-for-book-clubs list.
The New York Times Book Review
In the chillingly credible tomorrowland of Jordan's second novel, Roe v. Wade has been overturned, abortion has been criminalized in 42 states and a vigilante group known as the Fist of Christ brutalizes violators ... Jordan's feverishly conceived dystopia holds its own alongside the dark inventions of Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury.
Jordan manages to open up powerful feminist and political themes without becoming overly preachy - and the parallels with Hawthorne are fun to trace.
Jordan offers no middle ground: she insists that readers question their own assumptions regarding freedom, religion, and risk. Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it, and savvy educators will pair it with Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. Essential.
Starred Review. Jordan blends hot-button issues such as separation of Church and State, abortion, and criminal justice with an utterly engrossing story... Absolutely a must-read.
[A] provocative, politically charged novel... [Hannah's] journey to reclaim herself is equally chilling and riveting.
Valerie Martin, author of The Confessions of Edward Day
Hillary Jordan channels Nathaniel Hawthorne by way of Margaret Atwood in this fast-paced, dystopian thriller. Unputdownable.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Sharon Pretty Good...for Awhile I will not summarize the plot since other writers have done a fine job. What I will say is that the book arrives at a point where it feels as though the writer ran out of steam. The last part of the book was a surprising let down for me.
Rated of 5
by Kathleen Changed my mind on Dystopian novel's I usually see dystopian in a book description and immediately count the book out. This one mentioned THE SCARLET LETTER, so I was hooked. The price on Kindle didn't hurt either.
I loved this book, it has so much to discuss: politics, religion,... Read More
Rated of 5
by techeditor pleasant surprise WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan was a pleasant surprise for me. From what I had heard, I had expected a futuristic book about a world where abortion was a crime punishable by turning the criminal’s skin red. Yes, there’s that. But there’s so much... Read More
Rated of 5
by Aaron S Not quite Hawthorne... Hillary Jordan takes the concept of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter and takes it into a new era, one in the potentially not so distant future from our own. She acknowledges her borrowing of the premise of Scarlet Letter openly, and does enough... Read More
Rated of 5
by bob sauerbrey From shame to what? This excellent variation of the themes of self-righteous power, the disempowerment of the vulnerable, and the steps toward freedom & courage is difficult to put down, even when it is most disturbing. The story is a nod to the prurient morality... Read More
Rated of 5
by Martie When She Woke Intriguing and very interesting first half and then became common toward the end as though the author ran out of exotic ideas. This story could very well be a future reality, the way the religious right is gaining so much power in the U.S. I... Read More
The United States started adopting laws restricting abortion in the early 1800s, ultimately outlawing it in most states by the turn of the century. Interestingly, at the time, abortion wasn't proscribed as a moral issue the same way it is today; it was criminalized primarily because it was a dangerous practice with very high mortality rates, before the advent of antiseptics and antibiotics. These laws didn't necessarily stop the abortions from being performed, however. According to an article in The Atlantic, "The American Medical Association's crusade against abortion was partly a professional move, to establish the supremacy of 'regular' physicians over midwives and homeopaths... Nonetheless, having achieved their legal goal, many doctors - including prominent members of the AMA - went right on providing abortions."
Withal, bans remained until the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade...
That rare coming-of-age story able to blend the dark with the uplifting, Irma Voth follows a young Mennonite woman, vulnerable yet wise beyond her years, who carries a terrible family secret with her on a remarkable journey to survival and redemption.
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U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...