When She Woke was an ARC from Algonquin Books.
Hannah Payne is a chrome; chroming is the punishment for all sorts of crimes in Hannah's world. A method has been devised to color the skin of those who have been found guilty of crimes ranging from theft to murder, with different colors assigned to each transgression
Hannah's crime is abortion, considered murder in this dystopian world, and to make matters worse, Hannah will reveal neither the father of the child nor the doctor who performed the abortion. Hannah is chromed red and, because of her refusal to reveal the father and the doctor, given a longer sentence. When released back into the world, Hannah (as are all other chromes) is a pariah, easily recognized and vulnerable.
Connections to the Scarlet Letter? Definitely, down to the initials of the protagonist and of the fundamentalist minister who fathered child.
The premise is fascinating, and the novel has its high points. Ultimately, however, the novel does not live up to its promise, and the conclusion feels unnatural and incomplete.
I would still recommend the novel because it offers some interesting concepts and raises some questions. It isn't as if I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but I feel as if the most interesting portions didn't receive enough time and attention.
I have to agree with Kailana, there are some things that didn't work for me, but still...a worthwhile read.
Other Reviews/ opinions: Bookfoolery and Babble, Kailana
Fiction. Dystopian/Speculative Fiction. 2011. 352 pages.