Posted in YA Book Reviews

If I should die before I wake by Han Nolan



My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I couldn’t give my journal title a fancy or funny title, with this particular book, it is best to keep it as it is.

Every now and then, I stumble across a gem of a book. One that rips at every emotion in my very being. If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan is one of these very books.

The story is intricately told, going back and forth between Hilary and Chana. Hilary is a young teenage Neo-Nazi, who was in a motorcycle accident that placed her in a coma. During her time in a coma, she could hear what was being said and happening around her. Also during her coma, a person she referred to as “Grandmaw” would come and visit her from time to time. When she was visited, she went back in time and lived the life of Chana, a young Jewish, Polish girl during the early 1940s. Hilary relived Chana’s life from moving to the ghetto, escaping, being a political prisoner and taken to Auschwitz. Hilary had to feel every hurt, every lost family member, every beating, every minute of starvation that Chana experienced. Will Hilary wake from her coma? Will she be a changed person or will she continue to hate and show hatred to others? You should read it and find out 🙂

I was sucked into this book from the very beginning. I knew this book would probably make me cry. I mean, let’s face it, you pretty much know from the description of the book that it is going to make you angry at the ignorance that plagues our species, the hatred we exhibit towards others. It will make you feel the love that a family has for one another, the love and strength that people will share when the world is against them. The compassion in the understanding and the determination to just want to live. This story will tug at every heart string, it will shock your moral compass, and it is beautifully written to boot.

I have no qualms about this book. I gave it 4.5 stars simply because there were some areas I wanted a little more descriptions or a little more scenarios. I think the impact on Hilary by having to live out Chana’s life while she is comatose would have been more monumental if she were to experience some even harsher realities. I do not want to put anyone off from reading it by accidentally being misleading with that previous statement. There were some pretty serious events that take place, I just felt a few more wouldn’t have hurt.


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