Skip to main content

from the

Teen literary news, book reviews,and more…   rss-icon

Review of If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan

by Cindy H | May 19, 2017
If I should die before I wake
Hilary is angry. Her father died when the building collapsed at his job because his Jewish employer skimped on the construction work. She was filled with so much rage she thought she might burst, until she met Brad. Brad showed her that it was her dad's "Jew boss" that killed him and that all Jews are evil people. Now she is part of a neo-Nazi group, the Aryan Warriors, that is committed to destroying the Jewish people. She has never felt so strong or such a sense of belonging; her mother did not take care of her when she was younger so the Warriors are the closest thing she has had to a family.

One night after a big meeting Hilary and Brad are in a motorcycle accident that leaves her in a coma. She is taken to the closest hospital, which just happens to be a Jewish hospital, and put in a room with an old Jewish woman who is unconscious. Trapped in her body, she cannot help but think about how much she hates the Jews, this hospital, and most of all the old Jewish lady sharing her room. She finds herself drifting off, only to wake up as Chana, a young Jewish girl living in Poland during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Hilary begins to experience Chana's memories as if they were her own; it is a terrifying yet enlightening experience that will soon make Hilary question everything she believes.

This book was at times extremely difficult to read. There are very graphic details involving hate groups, the Holocaust, and extreme acts of violence. I did learn a great deal about the Holocaust and the contrast between a young woman in the midst of a hate group and a young woman suffering horrors at the hands of Nazis is very powerful. I believe everyone could benefit from reading this book, but I would only recommend it for readers with the maturity to handle the subject matter. This book is available in print or ebook on Overdrive. Click the picture of the book's cover to place on hold!
    • CindyAvatar
  • Cindy H is a librarian and pet mother. She loves all kinds of books but the Harry Potter series will always be her favorite.
  • Young Adults
  • teen
  • notes from the underground
  • Cindy H
  • Book Reviews
  • ACPLteenblog
  • ACPLteen