If I Should Die Before I Wake

If I Should Die Before I Wake

by Han Nolan

Hardcover(First Edition)

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sixteen-year-old Hilary Burke hates Jews. As part of a neo Nazi gang in her town, she's finally found a sense of belonging. But then she is critically injured during a motorcycle accident with her boyfriend, Brad, and nothing will ever be the same.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152380403
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/01/1994
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

HAN NOLAN has won many awards for her teen fiction, including the National Book Award for Dancing on the Edge. She lives in New England.

Reading Group Guide

1. Why is Hilary angry and full of hate? What are her reasons for turning her anger on her mother and on Jews?

2. Why does Hilary feel like she fits in with the Great Warriors?

3. Bubbe tells Chana that she must remember everything. Why is this important?

4. How can everyone share the same past and the same future yet see it differently? How does her experience with Chana change the way Hilary sees things?

5. Why did caring for Matel in Auschwitz save Chana? How might taking action, as Chana or Jakub or Bubbe did, affect one's chances of survival? What are the risks of taking action?

6. Hilary wonders if she's wicked. How would you answer her?

Copyright (c) 2003. Published in the U.S. by Harcourt, Inc.

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If I Should Die Before I Wake 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 112 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan, is a thriving novel about a teenage girl in a Neo-Nazi gang and her experiences she has as a little girl in Poland during the holocaust while she is in coma. In her gang, ¿the Great Warriors¿, Hilary absolutely hates all Jews and believes that her boyfriend and the gang are the only people who truly understand her. When Hilary becomes Chana and goes through all her experiences, she realizes that other people truly care about her. By the end of the novel, Hilary learns who she really is as a person and she learns to accept others. Once the accident occurs and Hilary is in coma, she must overcome her hatred of Jews and must learn to see who people are on the inside 'and not judge them based on their looks or ethnicity'. When she is Hilary, her life is devoted to the gang and all her actions are overlooked and controlled by ¿the Great Warriors¿. Her mother and father play no role in her life simply because she feels they don¿t care or understand her. When Hilary becomes Chana, a poor Jewish girl, her entire outlook on life changes and Chana and Hilary both learn that in order to get by in life and survive difficult situations, you have to know and understand who you are and be devoted to your family. From the death of Chana¿s father to a fire set by Hilary¿s boyfriend these events are what trigger Chana and Hilary to realize they can no longer keep on living the way they are used to and they must do what is right for themselves. In the beginning Hilary never believed her mother ever thought about her let alone she would stay with her in the hospital. This is what helps Hilary understand that her family does care and when her boyfriend visits and sets the Jewish hospital on fire leaving Hilary to die, that makes her realize she is above the gang and she has her own voice to finally stand up for what she believes in. Her life as Chana is evidence to Hilary that these horrific events were a reality and one must stay true to oneself in order to survive and not lose hope. The Jews lives to Hilary are worthless. She believes just because they are Jewish, that ethnicity is automatically below her in social status and she has the right to do or say whatever she feels about them. Through the duration of the book, while Hilary is Chana, she comes to understand the meaning of family, not to judge others based on their ¿racial look¿ or ethnicity, and she learns the value of friendship as well. Along with finding herself, Hilary is able to see what her life really has been about, and she now knows that how she has been treating Jews is morally wrong. If anyone is looking for a novel that goes back in time through the Holocaust and truly shows the horrors of what happened, I would strongly recommend reading this book. As you read the novel you truly feel as though you are the characters and are going through the same trauma and experiences as they are. This book is hard to put down and if anyone is interested in learning more about the Holocaust, or even about learning to accept yourself and others, this book should be right up your alley.
WW2-lover More than 1 year ago
If I Should Die Before I Wake is a great story! The book is very real and really gives you a feel for how it was like to be a Jew during WWII. The story really teaches you alot and you get an amazing grasp on the German concentration campsand how terrible they were. In the story you realize how much strength and determination it took to stay alive during these times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the best book i've read in a long time. Although it can be often very sad and gruesome, it was powerful and draws you in from the beginning. Also, I don't think it skips around too much, it was smooth to me. The best thing about it is how the main character, Chana, grows so much over the course of the war, and finally finds peace with God. Who knows, maybe this book will make you believe in God.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
"If I Should Die Before I Wake" is about a teenage girl named Hilary who is part of a neo-Nazi gang in her school & completely hates Jews. When she gets into a motorcycle accident, she ends up in a Jewish hospital, & while sleeping & unconscious, she wakes up in the place of a teenage Jewish girl named Chana in the time of World War 2, who has lost her family & has been sent to Auschwitz for horrible slave labor. When Hilary wakes up, her views on Jewish people change, which changes herself from being a rude person to a good & generous person who has seen the world in an entirely different way. This book made me wonder, when the Holocaust was happening, if any of the Nazis (or even Hitler) got into an accident, became unconscious, & woke up in the place of a Jewish person & suffered the same horrible losses & unfair slave labor as they did, would their views on the entire situation change? Would Hitler himself call off the Holocaust, if he went through the same thing as Hilary? Or would they go on as unfeeling monsters, simply continuing to ruin the innocent Jewish peoples' lives? The same situation applies to today's society. Like how no one truly knows how it feels to be homeless. Or even at school, where you're the "ugly & unpopular" one, & everyone continues to make fun of you, completely ignorant of your feelings. If the same thing happened to us as it happened to Hilary, perhaps it would be good for all of us. If a rich & greedy person woke up in the place of a homeless person, or if a popular & rude person woke up in the place of an unpopular person. This book really spoke to me as a human being, & that was how it did so. It has inspired me to look at a situation in another person's eyes, & understand the way others feel, instead of being selfish & only thinking of my point of view. Because unlike Hilary, we won't be able to wake up in another person's shoes to be able to see the world in a way we should. So if you are looking for a fictional book that takes place in a period that's more than real, or if you want a book that inspires you like it inspired me, "If I Should Die Before I Wake" is an amazing book for both of those types, & it is also just a really great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was a very good book. i am highly interested in the holocaust and how things really happened. this book not only gave me a lok on how things really happened, but an interesting twist on what happened.
Guest More than 1 year ago
but you'll definitely like it because it just makes you wanna keep reading more and more. i love how the author wrote the book, with hilary & chana showing both sides of their story. it's a really good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
if i should die before i wake was a book about the holocaust and deciding to change before your life ends. it wasnt as good as i'd hoped for it to be - see the character hilary has nothing behind her - the author tells that the girl is BAD so so BAD but okay she should prove that a lil bit more than just telling about the neo-nazis and the meetings. but chana on the other hand is interesting but for people that know the holocaust - its information that you will never hear enough of - the ghetto, the train ride, the camps, the people - its the best part - the descriptive writing. but there was TOO MUCH of hilary, and frankly I DONT WANNA READ ABOUT HER - she's such a fake character - I didnt finish the book, my younger sister finished it and told me what it was about because i got bored - i read all the chana chapters and skipped the hilary ones... JUST JUDGE THE BOOK FOR YOURSELVES PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY READINGS =)
Anya_Rose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me begin with, you should definitely read this book.I started this book and could have devoured it all in one sitting but I stopped halfway through because I was worried I'd get nightmares! Brilliantly written, it was a very good description of what life would have been like for a Jewish person in concentration camps, as Chana saw a lot, from Lodz ghetto to Auschwitz, and you really felt the fear and the sadness with Hilary and Chana. It was a little disturbing, while not graphic, but NOTHING was sugarcoated. As testament to just how moving parts of this book is, I am not one to cry while reading books and watching movies, but this book had me in tears at the loss of two particular family members (at once). Anyone and everyone should read this book, one of the best I've ever read.
pokarekareana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wrote elsewhere about the dangers of fictionalising the Holocaust, but I think Nolan started to make a really good impression here. It tells the tale of Hilary, a teenage girl who has become involved with a neo-Nazi organisation. Injured in a road accident, she finds herself in a Jewish hospital, slipping in and out of consciousness. In her unconscious state, she relives the Holocaust experiences of Chana, a teenage Jewish girl in Poland. This stands out as a cautionary tale for those tempted to follow others in adopting bigoted racist attitudes, and I¿d hope that it would encourage its intended YA readership to question and challenge such ideas. The juxtaposition of the modern day and the historic past probably serve to make it more accessible for its intended audience. Some elements of the story seemed contrived, even unnecessary; there¿s a strong Christian overtone and while I appreciate that this reflects the author¿s own background, it added nothing to the story that Hilary¿s mother is a born-again Christian. I think I would have liked a deeper exploration of Hilary¿s background because it was clear that her anti-Semitic attitudes had been strongly influenced by both her boyfriend and the death of her father. This book would be a great tool for teaching young people about the Holocaust, and also as a starting point for discussing racism and other forms of prejudice.
mirrani on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For some reason, I expected this book to be more about Hillary and less about Chana. I felt a little left out of Hillary¿s story, the life of a neo-Nazi. We learn snips of her life, parts of her past, but never really see the whole picture and while I certainly recognize the need to tell Chana¿s story of being a Jew during WWII, I felt as if leaving Hillary out of the book so often made her sudden change from hateful to kindhearted a little sudden and somewhat unbelievable. I doubted that someone with that much hate in their heart could simply be shown the life of a person they hate and suddenly repent and heal deep down in their soul.This is not to say that I disliked the book. I enjoyed reading every page and easily found myself within Chana¿s life, experiencing her struggles and heartaches. So many things were done in the war and it is important o remember them. IF I Should Die Before I Wake is a good book for remembering all of what happened. It manages to put every stage of life for the Jews into 293 pages, from wearing the star and walking the streets freely to leaving for the ghetto, to finally being in the camps. Inside the camp it shows all the ways of life most people have heard of, the struggle for survival, the fear of the gas chamber, illness and inner strength. The reader also gets to glimpse the selection of workers and the kinds of mostly meaningless jobs they were sent to. One of the most interesting features in the telling of this story was the ability to see how the Germans worked people against each other to bring them down, putting one person against another so that even a friend could betray you. It was something I had rarely experienced in any form of Holocaust retelling and having experienced it now, I am surprised that it could have been left out so often elsewhere. We often see how Germans treated Jews, but not how they made Jews treat each other. It brought another dimension to a very human story of remembrance.
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hilary Burke hates Jews and joins a local group of neo-Nazis. An accident leaves her in a coma in, of all places, a Jewish hospital. While sharing a room with Chana, an old woman who survived the Holocaust, Hilary somehow becomes linked with Chana's memories and finds out about what it was like to be Jewish during WWII. Not Nolan's finest novel, but readers interested in this period in history will be riveted.
lrobe190 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
AS HILARY, A NEO-NAZI INITIATE, LIES IN A COMA, SHE IS TRANSPORTED BACK TO POLAND AT THE ONSET OF WORLD WAR II INTO THE LIFE OF A JEWISH TEENAGER.Very innovative way to tell a story about the Holocaust. Well-written. One of my favorite YA books.
spacecat77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written, balanced characters, shows teen angst,
evilgir on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. True that it has a low reading level compared to my other books but I loved it. It showed the different view and feelings for the Hollicost. It is a great book for book reports for grades 4-9 also
smg626 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The main idea of the story (Chana telepathically communicating with Hilary) is not clear until well into the book. The story fluctuates between today with a young Neo-Nazi teenager lying in a coma in a hospital, and the lifetime of a young Jewish girl in Poland during WW II). It is not until almost the end where you realize Chana, now an old woman, is in the same hospital as young Hilary. Yes it's fiction, but not "real" enough as the idea of teleporting your memories to someone else. I enjoyed reading Chana's story, but felt the way Hilary was transformed was unbelieveable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of the events that took place in THIS book also took place in "Prisoner B-3087"!!! They are BOTH amazing books... The kind that you never want to put down and you can never end in the middle of a chapter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt that I could really understand the holocoust more after reading this book. Since I have heared the same information on the holucoust from my teachers for years, it was a nice change to hear this story. It was beautifuly writen, and extreamly powerfull. I wish that my teachers could teach us about this tradgedy as detailed as this book did. It was a wonderful work of art. I really loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was not a good book!!! I was looking forward to it and now im dissapointed i wasted my money! This had no historical backround and was extremly hard to follow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this years ago. I ti son eof those stories that sticks with you forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It can tell you more about the Holocaust and how hard life was during the Holocaust for Jews. There were many sad parts that almost made me cry. The ending was just awesome! I loved the ending! (not gonna give any spoilers)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. The book is hard to follow at first but it is a very deeply moving book. The purchase was very well worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago