Book Review: When She Woke

Author: Hillary Jordan
Genre: Science Fiction; Mystery
Release Date: October 4,2011
Pages: 243
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family. But after she's convicted of murder, she awakens in a new body to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes--criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime--is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.

Originality, Originality, Originality. Someone please call Steven Spielberg ASAP! I need the visuals for this book RIGHT NOW!

*Deep breath* Now that I got that out the way....

Hannah is what many consider deeply religious, some may even call her a radical Christian.  After falling in love with a married man, Hannah wakes up and finds herself in the one place she never expected--jail.  Not only is she incarcerated, but she is also a "Red." Due to overpopulation in prisons the government decided to give criminals a virus that will change their entire bodies a different color. The criminals are then released into the general public (cruel and unusual punishment.) The color depicts the nature of their crime (yellow=misdemeanor, red=murder, purple=child molester). Hannah's crime? Abortion. After a horrible STD left millions of women barren, the government decided abortion equates murder and declared it illegal in many states. Once Hannah is released from jail, she finds herself alone and the object of hate crimes for the first time in her life. This new predicament forces Hannah to face reality and make life altering decisions on her own.

I enjoyed When She Woke for several different reasons.  On the surface When She Woke appears to be just another Sci-fi novel, but you soon discover it's so much more.  When She Woke deals with many sensitive subjects that most fiction authors shy away from. Racism, religious based morals VS. personal morale decision, and what happens when the government crosses the thin line between politics and religion.  I also enjoyed the personal growth journey Hannah is forced to take within such a small amount of time.

I recommend When She Woke to anyone that is sick of the same old same old. This book will take you on an emotional journey and will leave you with several discussion questions. If you are part of a book club I highly recommend When She Woke as your November read.

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