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What We’re Reading: When She Woke

Post by Lori Reed
Posted August 26, 2014 in NoveList Bookshelf

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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Recommended by: Lori Reed

What is it about?

Ultra-conservatives rule the US in the middle of the 21st century. People are punished for their crimes by "chroming" or ingesting a virus that colors their skin depending on the seriousness of the crime with red reserved for the most violent crime -- murder. Hannah Payne becomes pregnant by a married man and chooses to have an abortion. She's soon charged with murder and wakes to find herself colored red from head to toe.

Why I like it:

My friends and family know that I am a huge fan of all things dystopian and post-apocalyptic and When She Woke did not disappoint. I read it in one six hour sitting! The story has obvious parallels to The Scarlet Letter and touches upon cultural and societal issues such as rape, adultery, women's rights, the right to privacy, and discrimination. With that much packed into one book, I found that once I finished the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It raises a lot of questions about morality and the influence of religion on crime and punishment. Reading this story made me wonder what it would be like to see people marked in vivid colors for their crimes -- no matter how minor.

"I'd recommend this book to…"

Fans of dystopian fiction with feminist themes, such as The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, Archetype by M.D. Waters, and Turning on the Girls by Cheryl Benard.

Memorable quote:

"Here she was, being rescued by a socialist, feminist, lesbian, baby-killing, foreign terrorist. What would the ladies in the sewing circle say to that?"  


Lori Reed is the Marketing Specialist at NoveList.