If I should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan
Teenager Hilary proudly belongs to the Aryan Warriors, a neo-Nazi hate group dedicated to carrying out Hitler’s goal of killing Jews. After being thrown from her boyfriend Brad’s motorcycle, she is taken to the closest medical facility, ironically a Jewish hospital. While she’s in a coma, Hilary floats in a dreamlike state, seeing and hearing people around her but unable to communicate. Suddenly Hilary finds herself spinning backward , walking down an unfamiliar street as Chana, with a best friend she doesn’t know. Each of them has a yellow star on her coat. Stopped by soldiers on their way to school, they are forced at gunpoint to scrub stairs along with Jewish women, using their underwear. Finally released, Chana is on her way home and sees soldiers shoot her father when he is unable to work. Thus begins Hilary’s journey through an alternate life as Chana, a 13 year old Jewish girl in Poland under Nazi occupation. Hilary moves between her existence in a coma, hearing her mother pray over her in the hospital, and living with what’s left of her family under increasing Nazi oppression. This is a powerful narrative of a girl seeingwhere unchecked hate can lead.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson