Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

genre: adult dystopian

Hannah did a bad thing.  A thing so bad that she is now consigned to life as a Chrome: a person who has committed a crime and the color of their skin is changed to alert the public to their crime.

Hannah is red.

If you have read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter, the gist of this novel will feel familiar to you, although there is, of course, many liberties taken.  Hannah's society feeds off of a religious fervor that has little mercy and no tolerance for those who do not live up to the moral standards the government has imposed.  With virtually no one to turn to and only the memory of the man she loved to hold on to, Hannah has to grow up quickly in a harsh world that her insulating and God-fearing parents did not prepare her for. 

I liked this and I sort of didn't.  Because I am a huge fan of the Scarlett Letter, some of the plot annoyed me, only because I wanted something else to happen.  Somehow I got the impression that this was a young adult novel, but I would say that it is not.  Hannah's affair and her coming to terms with herself as a sexual person is definitely a part of her late coming of age and truthfully, I got annoyed with the book when turned in that direction, right near the end. 

I was intrigued by the fanaticism and Hannah's internal struggle to sort through what kind of God she believed in.  It's certainly a credible-enough possible future with a plot that that did keep my interest, for the most part.  3.5 stars.

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