Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Dystopia, Recommendations, Review
Image from Goodreads

Title: When She Woke
Author: Hillary Jordan
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: Aug 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads
Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she 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, for whom observing new Chromes – criminals whose skin colour has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime – is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to 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’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.
WHEN SHE WOKE is a fable about a stigmatized 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 and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.
REVIEW BY DARCY 8:5
When She Woke is a gripping thriller that exaggerates the difficulties of life in an engaging and exciting way.
When She Woke is the story of Hannah Payne’s life and it gives the reader Hannah’s perspective of her difficulties in first person. Hannah is an innocent, religious and creative young woman, but when she meets Reverend Aiden Dale her whole life is turned upside down. The story shows how her life changes when she becomes a ‘red’ – someone who has been accused of murder.  Sentenced to chroming, which is being injected with a genetically modified skin colour. Hannah’s life becomes a whirlwind of love, death and sacrifice. However, Hannah was not the only person affected: her family, friends and the love of her life were all in jeopardy in their own different ways. From Aiden losing his wife and job, their family losing their daughter permanently and her new closest friends being murdered on a daily basis.
Hannah matures throughout the story and expresses her feelings in a way that makes you feel empathy for her. Even though Hannah is thought of as a criminal by most of the other characters in the story, her sweet and thoughtful self shines through in a way only the reader can see.
My favourite part of the book is where Hannah reflects on her life before chroming. The reason for this is because it is written with so much emotion, you can connect with it. To add to that, my favourite character is Hannah because you can relate to some of her normal issues. For example relationships, family and being a teenager. Although her largest issue is not relatable for me personally, others could relate to it in a better way. There were no parts of the book I did not enjoy: it did not bore me as there was always something exciting going on. The ending was not predictable, however, there was no big twist to the story, which could have made it more interesting. Therefore, I would personally make a huge twist in the book to surprise and engage the reader more.
Hillary Jordan’s style of writing is similar to authors like Suzanne Collins because she uses emotions more than creative devices to describe events. I would definitely read a book by Hillary Jordan again but I would choose a book with less adult themes as it was quite inappropriate for young teenagers. I would also recommend this book to my friends as it was very enjoyable. On that note, I really liked the way she wrote as it was not too complicated to read but it was still an enjoyable challenge.
An appropriate age for the reader, at the youngest, would be year 10 students because it is filled with strong adult themes and younger readers would not understand the content. Although, I would  definitely recommend this book for older audiences that like being kept on the edge of their seat
Overall I would rate this four out of five stars I really did enjoy the plot, the storyline and the way it was written.
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