book thoughts: Tomorrow, When the War Began by James Marsden (1995)

War

A group of Australian teens decide to “go bush” for a weekend and take a camping trip in the outback. While there, they enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, and joke about how cut off they are from civilization World War III could start and they wouldn’t know. But when they return home and find the town completely deserted, the joke feels like a reality.

John Marsden’s story will appeal to readers looking for a good survival adventure story, but there is a lot more going on …more

War

A group of Australian teens decide to “go bush” for a weekend and take a camping trip in the outback. While there, they enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, and joke about how cut off they are from civilization World War III could start and they wouldn’t know. But when they return home and find their home town completely deserted, there families nowhere to be found and suddenly what had been a joke becomes a reality.

John Marsden’s story will appeal to readers looking for a good survival adventure story, but there is a lot more going on beneath the surface.  The story is told to us by Ellie, one of the members of the group.  After surviving on their own, they decide that someone should write down what has happened to them, and Ellie is chosen as the most qualified to create this record.  She is unsure of herself but gets more comfortable writing down the events of the past few days as the story unfolds.  Ellie’s voice is insecure but she is not weak. As she writes about the things they’ve done in the name of self-preservations, she begins to ponder issues of morality, humanity, and love while trapped with her friends.  She tracks the progress of the group as they go from being carefree teenagers to guerilla warriors and she is disturbed by what she sees but can think of no other solution.

I can see why this book has won so many awards in Australia and why it has a very strong fanbase.  I think readers from any country would enjoy this story.  You can read it just for the adventure story, just for the relationships, or you can delve deeper into the topics that Ellie touches upon in some of her tangents.  It would make a great book discussion title for middle school or high school.  And while this is book 1 in a series, the ending is satisfactory enough that the book does not suffer from it’s non-conclusion. 

 

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