Waiting on Wednesday: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan


Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

Yup, missed another posting day.  And I was doing so well for the first few months!  September is a busy month for me.  First there’s the music festival, then there’s all the birthdays in the family and the fall television season starting up (which is, perhaps sadly, a big deal in this household).  This particular September I also got to toss in shopping for a new car and DC Comics rebooting their entire lineup.  Anyway, last night I was at my brother’s 30th birthday party, so I’m not going to feel like a horrible blogger for missing yet another post.  Here’s to October being a little less crazy!

So on to the post!


When She Woke
Hillary Jordan

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Releases on October 4, 2011 
352 pages 
Buy it on Amazon here

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 color 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.

For some reason the cover art screamed “sappy chick lit” to me, which doesn’t sound remotely the case.  I was fond of The Scarlett Letter when I read it in high school and it’s been “modernized” many times since then.  Despite that, this is a take on it that I’ve never seen or even dreamed of before.  The dystopian backdrop definitely gives the well-known story a new take.  I think this could be a very interesting, thought-provoking read about culture in general.  Considering I grew up and still live in Texas, though, I have a feeling this might also be nightmare inducing content with how probable it could become… except for the entire dying of skin thing.  That just sounds kind of cool.