MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reader reviews and comments on When She Woke, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

When She Woke

A Novel

by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan X
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 368 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

Reviews

Page 1 of 2
There are currently 12 reader reviews for When She Woke
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Esther Bradley-DeTally

A Must Read
I read this book when it first came out; my memory is hazy, but my feelings still sit up and shout, "read this book." The book was published at the same time of author and I think overlooked. When She Woke is excellent, a gripper, and I couldn't put it down. I found it very different from Mudbound and admire that in an author, to produce such diversity. Highly compelling. A must read.
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, women's rights, fear, shame, alienation and shunning.
The cover show's the protagonist, Hannah, as a red woman. That is how people are shown to be criminals instead of being keep in prisons. The ramifications of that are immense.
This is a very fast read but gives a powerful punch. You will be thinking about this novel long after reading it. I have suggested to many people to read it, it was that good.
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 of the 19th century as played out in a not too distant future. Wonderful character development throughout while exploring issues too uncomfortably familiar in a bigoted, narrow, and simplistic national culture duped by those who promise to keep it safe at the expense of the dignity and conscience of every single person in that twisted world where the narrow views of the few manage the behavior of the many. Dystopian literature at its best.
Power Reviewer
mainlinebooker

fascinating
A wonderful Margaret Atwood type of dystopian tale but, I tend to disagree with the reviewers. I was looking for something more. In fact, what I loved about it was how this mild dystopian nature could be related directly to today's events. I thought it was a winner and definitely "fed" my soul; I could not put it down. GREAT for discussion groups..
Power Reviewer
Sandi W.

Man's inhumanity to man
I enjoyed this book with its parallel to the Scarlet Letter. It shows what inhumanities our society is capable of. Altho Hannah would not have been my friend I could empathize with her.The writing made me push for a conclusion. 3.5 stars
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 more to it. And Jordan’s writing is very good.

You can believe me. This comes from a pro-lifer.

At first, I thought my expectations were accurate. But, although pro-lifers in this book have tunnel vision and are cruel, which might have irritated me, the story has so many twists and turns, I really did enjoy it.

My biggest surprise about WHEN SHE WOKE was that so much happens in a relatively short book. I say “relatively” because most books that have this much action are twice as long as WHEN SHE WOKE.

Too many authors love the way they write so much that they write too much and subject the reader to many paragraphs that can easily be cut without detracting from the story. But Jordan has cut the garbage paragraphs in WHEN SHE WOKE. Don’t skip. Jordan’s writing is concise, and all of it is necessary.
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 differently that it won't weigh on your mind too heavily.

The protagonist, Hannah, has had her skin died red as punishment for murder, turning her into a social pariah. Jordan uses the novel to explore issues such as abortion, separation of church and state, women's rights, and religion. Her politics seem rather clear, but even if you don't agree with them, the book has enough drive and the characters are likable enough that they can carry the story.

The novel starts strong, but falters a bit towards the end as events start to rush faster and faster. It doesn't feel quite as much building to a crescendo as it does an attempt to wrap the novel up. Still, it is an enjoyable novel that does well with the premise. Hawthorne would be pleased, I think.
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 remember reading Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here." Oh yes is can!!! Best not to be silent when freedoms start slipping away. I think this would make a good movie. When She Woke kept making me think, "hey, this is Hunger Games for adults."
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2

Beyond the Book:
  Roe vs. Wade

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hamnet
    Hamnet
    by Maggie O'Farrell
    William Shakespeare's name is never used in Hamnet — a conspicuous absence around which Maggie...
  • Book Jacket: After the Last Border
    After the Last Border
    by Jessica Goudeau
    According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the number of displaced people around the world is ...
  • Book Jacket: Crossings
    Crossings
    by Alex Landragin
    Crossings is a beautiful, if slightly messy, time-bending debut. It reads like a vampire novel, sans...
  • Book Jacket: Pew
    Pew
    by Catherine Lacey
    A quote often attributed to Leo Tolstoy states that "All great literature is one of two stories; a ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    With or Without You
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A moving novel about twists of fate, the shifting terrain of love, and coming into your own.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Hieroglyphics
    by Jill McCorkle

    A mesmerizing novel about piecing together the hieroglyphics of history and memory.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Every Bone a Prayer
by Ashley Blooms

The the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.