Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If I Should Die Before I Wake” as Want to Read:
If I Should Die Before I Wake
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

If I Should Die Before I Wake

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,576 Ratings  ·  357 Reviews
Hilary hates Jews. As part of a neo-Nazi gang in her town, she's finally found a sense of belonging. But when she's critically injured in an accident, everything changes.
Somehow, in her mind, she has become Chana, a Jewish girl fighting for her own life in the ghettos and concentration camps of World War II.
Han Nolan offers powerful insight into one young woman's survival
Paperback, 293 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published March 31st 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankNight by Elie WieselThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John BoyneNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
Well-Written Holocaust Books
42nd out of 573 books — 2,311 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John BoyneNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysSarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
YA Holocaust & WWII Novels
18th out of 225 books — 513 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 24, 2009 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club, favorites
In If I Should Die Before I Wake, two girls’ lives are forever connected when they themselves couldn’t be more opposite. Hilary hates every Jewish person on the face of the earth. Part of a neo-Nazi gang, she is actively looking for a way to kill every Jewish person who lives. This is happening about 60 years after World War II. When Hilary and her boyfriend are riding home on a motorcycle in the rain, they crash violently into the car of another. Hilary’s boyfriend leaves with only a few bruise ...more
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
If you are reading this, I am deleted. Or you have nothing more urgent to do.

At some point soon, I will have to sleep. I haven't been doing much of that as late. This has been mostly out of concern for what's happening on GoodReads (and the 17 hour time difference between the site and myself). Every night when I go to bed, I wonder how much of my account will be remaining when I log on in the morning.

As I write this, the curlews outside are shrieking persistently. If you've never heard a curlew
Alex Baugh
Jun 06, 2011 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Hilary Burke, 16, is an angry girl. She is angry at her mother for not being there for her while she was a child. And she is angry at her father for dying when she was 5. Hilary blames his death on his Jewish boss, believing that he skimped on construction material causing the building her father worked in to collapse. So she is angry at all Jews and has focused it on her Jewish neighbors including their son, Simon Schulmann, for being part of a happy, close family.

To deal with all this anger,
Morgan F
Possibly my favorite book about the Holocaust. I actually bought this at the Holocaust museum in D.C. It was a moving experience.
Aug 13, 2011 Jenna rated it it was amazing
One of my classroom bulletin boards features this book and The Book Thief side by side as recommended WWII fiction.

I go crazy over WWII stories. I've been to Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam. It was so cramped and crowded. I loved teaching Elie Wiesel's Night until it moved down to the ninth grade curriculum. Mostly I think my reading obsession comes from disbelief. The disbelief that humanity could be so cruel, and despite overwhelming evidence, some still say the Holocaust was all made up.

How d
Apr 22, 2012 Mirrani rated it really liked it
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 someon ...more
Amy Hustead
May 28, 2013 Amy Hustead rated it really liked it
Really great read and I'm saddened I took this long to read it! Should be a must read for high schoolers for sure!

The story as a whole makes you realize that no matter how bad I think I have it, someone somewhere else has had it worse. This is a great book to teach kids how to appreciate differences in religion/race/etc.
Alexxa Owen
Apr 11, 2013 Alexxa Owen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, i-own, history
This book is one of my favorite ones about WW2! I got it from my sister who passed away a few years ago so I treasure it. It has good voice and makes everything personal. Very cleaver too!
Ally Carpenter
I almost wish this would've been written solely as a plain holocaust novel. The Hilary plot that lay over Chana's story was completely pointless -- even frustrating -- until those last few pages. And it was certainly not worth the wait, it was just confusing. Additionally, I picked up this book expecting more details of Hilary's Neo-Nazi involvement, and on the rare occasions that it was brought up, the activities of the Neo-Nazi group were laughable. Locking Jewish kids in lockers, and slashing ...more
Melissa Delatorre
Oct 01, 2014 Melissa Delatorre rated it really liked it
I believe everyone should be treated right like everybody else.this historical fiction book is very sad at a point.

It takes place in the civil war time at night and morning because then we know where they are at.Hilary a 16 year old wanted to kill all the Jews alive but she is critically injured in an accident and everything changes. So Hilary has become Chana with a different family. Then she us a Jewish girl fighting for her life in World War ll. the conflict is person vs person because Chan
If I Should Die Before I Wake is a book about not judging others until you've been in their shoes and known their suffering. It's about a teenage girl who joins a neo-Nazi group and spends her time hating and tormenting Jewish members of her community. When Hillary is in a motorcycle accident and lies comatose in a Jewish hospital, the only thing she sees is an old woman staring at her knowingly. Somehow, through this old woman, she is taken back in time to another life where she is a young Jewi ...more
May 06, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
Since I had to read this for a class, I didn't like it as much as the other books I had to read for class. This one was hard to get into, but the character switches didn't give me any trouble. I don't remember the book ever going into much detail about why Hilary hates the Jews except that her father was killed because of the supposed dirty trading his possibly Jewish boss might have been involved in. Her anger at her mother is evident in the dialogue because readers learn that her mother abando ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Elaina rated it did not like it
If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan is a book about not judging others until you've been in their shoes and known their suffering. It's about a teenage girl who joins a neo-Nazi group and spends her time hating and tormenting Jewish members of her community. When Hillary is in a motorcycle accident and lies comatose in a Jewish hospital, the only thing she sees is an old woman staring at her knowingly. Somehow, through this old woman, she is taken back in time to another life where she is ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Kajal rated it it was amazing
Book: If I Should Die Before I Wake.
Author: Han Nolan

I like this book because I believe everybody should be treated right even if ur are different religions that person is also a human. Nobody should tortured the way she did, everybody is different you can’t judge nobody unless you don’t change yourself. We are all different, we all have our own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live in harmony, it just takes work. You should never judge another person in any way because you can never full
Oct 09, 2009 Arielle rated it liked it
I have read a number of books specifically on the Holocaust, so reading about the torture and the horrible things these people had to go through was nothing new to me. Yet even as I read it, I still got chills every time Hilary/Chana would describe some horrible act. This book didn’t go into much detail about the torture the Jews faced in the camps, at least not compared to pervious books I have read, but if you know anything about the Holocaust and what the Jews faced everyday of their lives, y ...more
Alex Goins
Nov 04, 2015 Alex Goins rated it really liked it
If I should die before I wake by Han Nolan, This book is about a teenage girl named Hilary who is part of a Neo-Nazi gang and her experiences as a little girl named Chana in poland during the holocaust while she is in a coma. In her gang (The Great Warriors) everyone in the gang hates jews and Hilary believes that only her boyfriend and the gang understand her. When Hillary becomes Chana and has to go through all the hardships she faced being a jewish girl in poland she realizes that other peop ...more
Jaonna Miller
Nov 09, 2015 Jaonna Miller rated it it was amazing
September/October Review
Book Title: If I Should Die Before I Wake
Author:Han Nolan
Review: If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan was a great book.I loved this book because the book seemed so real like every piece of it was true.This story took place in a jewish hospital, Poland, and a slaughterhouse at Auschwitz.This is a story about a girl named Hilary who hates Jews but ends up taking on another life of a jewish girl named Chana after going unconscious from an accident. During this time Hil
Feb 11, 2016 Morgan rated it liked it
I would consider this book some sort of confusing because it takes place in modern day and the past. I would recommend this book for seventh grade and older because of the language used. The book is a little boring but once you get further into it the story becomes more intense. "If I Die Before I Wake" is a story about Hilary Burke who is a troubled teenage girl that is apart of a Neo-Nazi gang. Hilary thinks she's found herself ,ever since her grandma and dad died, by joining this organization ...more
Rj O
Feb 16, 2016 Rj O rated it liked it
Book Title: If I Should Die Before I Wake
Author:Han Nolan
Review: I read if i should die before I wake by Han Nolan this was a book about a girl named Hilary and she was in a motorcycle accident and while she’s in the hospital she thinks she is a girls named chana growing up in the neo-nazi times in Poland. I did not like this book because i just didn’t find much interest in the book the book kind of got me lost from time to time. i would recommend this book to anyone who has good patience for
Brady pongratz
Oct 09, 2014 Brady pongratz rated it really liked it
She is a girl who is part of a neo Nazi gang and is part Jewish. When she insults a Jew she later gets a past memory about a Jew. She gets a vision of a Nazi when she is a Jew and gets worried about a raid.
Erin Despain
Jun 22, 2014 Erin Despain rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Actually giving the book 3.5 stars.

I liked the story of Chana (a Jewish girl in WWII) a lot. But I really didn't enjoy the back and forth between her and Hilary (a modern day Neo-Nazi). When I first started the book I hadn't read a summary beforehand so the first chapter (about Hilary) really took me by surprise. But even after understanding what the author was trying to do, I didn't like it. I wished I could just skip over those chapters. I think I would've liked the book more as a whole if it
Jonah Miller
Feb 18, 2016 Jonah Miller rated it really liked it
The author's purpose in writing this book is to entertain. Her purpose is to entertain because the book is historical fiction about a girl that despises Jews. The main character, Hilary, and Chana, which is one girl, talk in first person.

The theme of this book is that you should never judge someone because you never really know what they are going through until you have walked a mile in their shoes. The author was also trying to show contrast between 2 characters that are the same person, showin
Megan Dent
Nov 02, 2015 Megan Dent rated it it was ok
If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan, is about a Nazi girl named Hilary who gets injured and gets put in a coma. The story takes place mainly in different camps. She dreams that she is a jewish girl named Chana living with her mom, grandma, and siblings. Her father gets killed by some Germans as well as her sister and brothers. She got sent to a concentration camp with her grandma, aka her Bubbe, and they were there for a little while. They created a plan to escape and it actually worked. ...more
Whitney- Reader's Candy
Sep 14, 2015 Whitney- Reader's Candy rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
If you love reading about World War 2 then you most definitely need to read this one! It was a story about two girls that were connected in a significant way, but neither knew it until the very end. One was in a coma and the other was at a working camp. They face their own battles, but lean on one another to escape the darkness. There was guilt... There was hope... There was weakness and there was courage like no other...

If I Should Die Before I Wake was an intense story with graphic, painful m
marcy marshall
Apr 30, 2015 marcy marshall rated it it was amazing
This book is about unfairness and sadness because the people in this story are being treated unfairly.This book is a historical fiction book.

This book is about a young racial girl named Hilary who hates the Jews because she was apart of a neo Nazi (which is a gang) and wanted to kill the the Jews alive but due to her injuries something went wrong with her mind and now she thinks she is a Jewish girl fighting in world war II, which happens to be where the story takes place. The conflict in the st
Hannah Farrell
Jan 08, 2015 Hannah Farrell rated it really liked it
Have you ever been forced to put yourself in someone else's shoes? Have you ever been in their shoes long enough to know what they've been put through? I read If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan. I liked the book because it was interesting to learn more about what the Jews went through and what happened to Hilary and her group of friends. Hilary joined a group that hates Jew and wants Jews killed. Hilary goes from being a 16 year old girl hating Jews and siding with Hitler to being Jew wi ...more
Frances Moe
Dec 22, 2014 Frances Moe rated it liked it
Nazis for kids. Terrorizing the Jewish. Heiling Hitler. These were things that Hillary loved to take part of. She is part of a neo-Nazi gang in her town where she feels she "belongs." She has the fantasy of running off with their leader Brad, delusional by what he is showing her. But when she gets into a motorcycle accident with her so called leader, where does she soon find herself? A Jewish hospital. Lying in the hospital bed, Hillary finds herself near death, in a coma, experiencing things th ...more
Jul 04, 2014 Mel rated it really liked it
Hillary is a Neo Nazi. She is laying in a hospital bed as the story begins. She was on her boyfriends motorcycle and they got into an accident. She is filled with anger and hate. It's all misdirected at Jewish people. She blames them for her fathers death. After her dad died, her mother couldn't deal. She even left her (a little girl) alone for 3 days. Now, in her coma state, Hillary is seeing an old woman. Soon, she is living the life of a young Jewish girl named Chana. Chana and her family wer ...more
Kristi O'Brien
Jul 01, 2016 Kristi O'Brien rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Page turner.....couldn't put it down. Read it within less than a week! This is a MUST READ.
Allyssa Terry
Apr 08, 2015 Allyssa Terry rated it it was amazing
I have never written a book review and it probably won't be like others but I have to say, other than The Book Thief, this is the best "holocaust" book I have ever read. I have read tons of these types of books but none of them showed me this level of hatred toward jews. and at the same time showing me such love and compassion. this book has the best examples of both worlds. (nazi and jew) it is so hard to imagine the life of Jewish families being thrown into a ghetto and expected to live basica ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Death Camps 2 11 Apr 05, 2012 10:11AM  
  • Torn Thread
  • Anne Frank and Me
  • Good Night, Maman
  • Eleanor's Story: An American Girl in Hitler's Germany
  • The Cage
  • Stones in Water (Stones in Water, #1)
  • Run, Boy, Run
  • Daniel's Story
  • The Other Half of Life: A Novel Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis
  • I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree: A Memoir of a Schindler's List Survivor
  • Someone Named Eva
  • Daniel Half Human: And the Good Nazi
  • Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story
  • No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War
  • Marika
  • One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping: The Diary of Julie Weiss (Dear America)
  • My Bridges of Hope
  • We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust
Han Nolan is widely acclaimed for her evocative language, her gritty subject matter, and her ability to plumb the psyche of her characters. Her books include Dancing on the Edge, which won the National Book Award, Send Me own a Miracle, a finalist for the National Book Award, Born Blue, A Summer of Kings, and several other acclaimed novels. She and her husband live on the East Coast.
More about Han Nolan...

Share This Book

“When God's moving his hands through your life, you had better sit up and take notice” 6 likes
“I stepped back and looked at all the people as they continued to weave in and out, around and around, faster and faster until they were one blur, until they were One. And then I knew what Bubbe meant. Here, was God.” 2 likes
More quotes…