When She Woke is a particularly good nod to Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, but even more, it is a fabulous tale of self-discovery. When Hannah Payne wakes up with red skin (a punishment as well as an indicator of her crime), it catapults her into a desperate flight for her life. While trying to negotiate her futuristic world, Hannah begins to see herself in two distinct ways: before and after. The slow unraveling of her previously held beliefs and blind assumptions is truly satisfying. When She Woke is a harrowing dystopian adventure as well as a contemplative journey of self-discovery. References to Scarlet Letter are a delicious cherry on top. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Hannah Payne 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. She is now a convicted criminal, and her skin color has been genetically altered. Her crime, according to the State of Texas: the murder of her unborn child, whose father she refuses to name. Her color: red. The color of newly shed blood.
"In a dystopian future ruled by religious fundamentalists, young Hannah Payne is convicted of murder after having an abortion and becomes a 'Chrome' a criminal whose skin pigment has been altered to reveal her criminality to the world. Heather Corrigan begins her narration in a young, frightened voice, conveying Hannah's emotion, innocence, vulnerability, and shame. As Hannah matures and begins to question societal values and take control of her life and choices, Corrigan's voice gradually becomes stronger and more determined, reflecting the character's evolving maturity and strength. Corrigan also skillfully renders the book's supporting cast with a dazzling array of distinctive voices, including Southerner Kayla, French Simone, a sympathetic Bostonian preacher, and several merciless, bombastic, fire-and-brimstone villains. With Corrigan's excellent performance, this already thought-provoking novel becomes an utterly compelling, can't-stop-listening audiobook. An Algonquin hardcover." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“With Corrigans excellent performance, this already thought-provoking novel becomes an utterly compelling, cant-stop-listening audiobook.”
—Publishers Weekly [starred review] BookPage
“Corrigans narration becomes one with the plot.”
—AudioFile Family Circle
“Jordan blends hot-button issues such as the separation of church and state, abortion, and criminal justice with an utterly engrossing story, driven by a heroine as layered and magnetic as Hester Prynne herself.”
—Booklist [HC starred review] Booklist
“It reads like a thriller, and one that makes you think hard, to boot. Ive already placed this one on my favorite-books-for-book-clubs list.”
“[A] provocative, politically charged novel . . . chilling and riveting.”
“Corrigans voice slowly matures as Hannah escapes and grows stronger and more self-reliant in a story that champions the empowerment of women.”
A chilling fable of an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated.
About the Author
HILLARY JORDAN is the author of Mudbound, winner of the 2006 Bellwether Prize for fiction and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and Muskogee, Oklahoma, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.