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

Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen #MHAWJune Edition!

Just ListenJust Listen | Sarah Dessen | Penguin Publishing | Stand Alone | 4 Stars | Source: Bought | Young Adult Contemporary 
Release Date: April 6, 2006 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything”—at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to
truth-telling. With Owen’s help,maybe Annabel can face what happened
the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.


 More often than not, I am in a reading slump. This has been on my shelf since November and I picked it up on a whim. This is not my first Sarah Dessen book, but it is definiely my favourite one to date!

The story followes Annabel, she is the girl who has it all. Or so it seems. It is apparent while we are reading that something had happened before summer that made her lose everything. When she goes back to school her best friends hate her and no one will even look at her.

I was a huge fan of out main character, not necesarily because of her actions towards others, but for her development as a characters. Annabel is notourrious for holding things in. With the issues Whitnety is having it the moment, her family does not need any more problems so she never wants to be the burden. As the novel goes on, she learns that she can’t keep all of her feelings bottled up and this comes with the help pf Owen.

Owen was another character I enjoyed reading about. After a bout of angermanagment, he has vowed never to lie again. Not only does this provide a brutally honest character, but it also provides th oppotunity to readers to see someone who says the world as he sees it. Which is pretty damn refereshing, I tell you.

Overall, this is definitely a new favourite of mine. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the characters develop, all of the revelations come to life and seeing very complex and hard to talk about issues such as eating disorders dealt with in the most plausible way possible! I will definitely be revisiting this again and picking up more of Sarah Dessen’s work!

EXTRAS: Just Listen’s relation to #MHAWJune (Mental Health Awareness Month) TW: Anorexia

Our main chatacter’s Sister is named Whitney. Like her older and younger sister, she is a model and many times has descibed herself as half and half of each of her sisters making her just inbetween.

Whitney has Annorexia Nervosa. At no point in the novel is it ever linked to her modelling career, may I add. I studied this mental illness for my A-Levels which by no means  makes me an expert but  do know some facts & stats about it.

For me Dessen’s protrayal of Anorexia was exreme plausible and real. I think the way she seperated Whitney from her disoder is very well done. To the point where Annabel even says how you don’t know whether you are dealing with Whitney or her eating disorder and didn’t resent her when she came accross sometimes unkind and abrupt.  Another element I enjoyed was the parents reaction to what was happening. The initial denial, the realiztion, the attempt at understanig and then the constant control.

The way Whitney’s recovery was documented was incredibly well done aswell. There is are points in the book such as when she takes Kristen and Annabel to an open mic gig where you see the stages of her recovery and how they have all come together to where she was at the end of the novel. The timelines is incrdibly realistic. She has come incredibly far but she still has a way to go. One huge pet peeve of mine is when an illness whether mental or physical heals within an unrealistic amount of time. I think it does not do people who have suffered at the same hands any justice.

Goodreads Average: 4.09/5  (out of 133,190 ratings)

Quickie Review: Born at Midnight by CC. Hunter (Shadow Falls #1)

Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, #1)Title: Born at Midnight | Author: CC. Hunter | St. Martin Griffin | Shadow Falls #1 | 4 Stars | Source: Bought | 398 pages | Fantasy | Paranormal
Release Date: March 29th 2011

Goodreads Synopsis:

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

This is a very quick and easy read. I was hooked from the start which is usually pretty rare for me nowadays and I really like where the plot went. There are two main things going on. First, Kylie is trying to find out what she is and where she comes from and second, there are some happening at the camp that if they don’t find out who the perpetrator is, the camp will end up getting shut down. When I started the novel I followed the second plot more but in the end I found Kylie’s journey of self-discovery much more tantalizing.

One of my favourite elements of the novel was the array of supernatural beings that co-existed within the camp. You had vampires, werewolves, fae, shape-shifters, you name it, they had it! I have genuinely missed reading about these creatures and their history. I also like the politics between groups. Vamps not liking werewolves, etc.

Has this already been done before? Many times. The whole concept of now knowing what you are when you are surrounded by people who have already identified themselves is not something new. I do however, give credit to CC. Hunter for making me feel like I have this kind of plot a thousand times!

Overall thoughts: 

I thoroughly enjoyed this one from start to finish. Although I was not a huge fan of out main character, I still enjoyed her story, development and personality. This is a great read for those who love a good paranormal fantasy and I recommend it to lovers of that genre.

Goodreads Average: 4.16/5 (out of 41,214 ratings)

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