Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She WokeTitle: When She Woke | Author: Hillary Jordan Harper Books | Stand Alone | 4 Stars | Source: Review | 341 pages Adult | Dystopia
Release Date: October 4th, 2011


Goodreads Synopsis:
“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.”


When She Woke is a dystopian novel set in the not so distant future. There are only a few changes compared to what we have in the world today.
It began with a great start, providing us with Hannah’s current situation (“red as a stop sign”) and in parts one and two flickering back in time and forward to the present day in order to discover why she is in this situation.

For me parts one and two (it’s set in to four) of the novel were a little slow – even though they were beautifully written making me experience the burning lights of the chrome prison and the sorrow of aborting her baby – they still seemed to drag.

However this aside part three is where the plot really began to take off! There were numerous ups and downs that kept me glued to the pages and finishing the final two parts in a matter of hours.
When it comes to character development, I adore what Hannah has become. She has gone from a quiet only-speak-when-spoken-to girl to a bright, opinionated woman that has no doubt in herself or her actions. 

All though I did have the initial struggle with the first two parts I would recommend this too all book lovers who want to try a new kind of dystopia. Be warned this is more adult than Young Adult. It drops the C bomb (in there right context, though. If there is one) and there is quite a bit of swearing in places. 

Goodreads Average: 3.68/5 (out of 14,078)

Want to buy it? Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository


13 thoughts on “Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

  1. LilysBookBlog says:

    That cover is beyond creepy LOL
    I had to take a moment to be like WHOA CREEPY GIRL WITH EYES ALERT
    LOL but this one sound like a pretty interesting dystopian! Great review!


  2. Faye M. says:

    Honestly, that cover creeps me out 😛 The girl is seriously looking at me with haunting eyes!!!

    Well, silly immaturity aside, I’m glad to see a dystopic novel that wowed you, even if it came 2 parts late. But you said they were beautifully written, and I’m the type who can forgive dragging/slowness as long as the words are moving enough. I just hope they’re not purple prose, because overly beautiful to the point of distortion ain’t my cuppa 😛

    Faye at The Social Potato


    • Alex @ The Shelf Diaries says:

      I know! No matter which way you look it is always staring back at you.

      I don’t think it was. As much as I love some good descriptions, I don’t like it when a book spends a chapter describing a puddle!

      Thanks for stopping by, Faye! 🙂 xx


  3. Rashika says:

    I have been pretty picky with dystopia lately but I am definitely going to add this to my TBR to read when I am in the mood to read some dystopia 😛 Plus a dystopia with no made up swearing??? I AM IN! 😀

    Great review, Alex!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s