Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke (Algonquin, Oct.) is not only one of the best books of the year, but it’s everything the dystopian genre was made for—a politically relevant gauntlet of human misery caused by the terrible norms of state and culture. Hannah lives in an America where love, sexuality, and gender are controlled by a country so beguiled by evangelical Christianity that it establishes a secretary of faith. But this man, a seeming paragon of virtue, has a secret: he’s the adulterous soon-to-be father of Hannah’s love child. Publicly shamed and repeatedly victimized by the misogyny of her society, Hannah somehow blossoms from a devoutly passive daughter into a woman fully in control of her destiny and sexuality. Jordan touches on hot-button issues like abortion, the penal system, electronic surveillance, sexism, and the eroding separation of church and state in unflinchingly honest prose. This one is an instant classic for the 21st century, sure to spark controversy.