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Cover art for Tomorrow When the War Began

Tomorrow When the War Began

Written by John Marsden
Fiction

When Ellie and her friends decide to go backpacking in the Bush over the winter holidays, their biggest concern is whether to pack pita bread or jam doughnuts. They return from the wilderness five days later feeling pleased with their exploration and adventure, glad to have missed the annual Commemoration Day fair in their small Australian town. However, it is soon apparent that something has gone terribly wrong. Their pets and livestock are dead or dying from neglect, their houses are empty, and their parents are gone. Then they encounter the foreign soldiers. Ellie and the others face an impossible decision: they can hide in the Bush, they can surrender, or they can fight.

I love everything about this book, and I’m not alone in that assessment. ‘Tomorrow’ was listed by the American Librarian Association as one of the best books for young adults in 1996 (the year it was published in the U.S.) and has won about 12 other awards. Its strength, I feel, comes from its amazing characters. They are psychologically and emotionally convincing; they have to struggle with the fear, fatigue, impatience, and uncertainty that come along with being cut off from their friends and family in a now hostile environment. Additionally, the book’s action scenes are harrowing and suspenseful without being overwrought or ridiculous. And after the action ends there are consequences, emotionally and physically, from the choices that are made. Characters have to deal with deep moral, psychological, philosophical, and spiritual questions, to which there are no right answers. This is a spectacular book.

It is also the first book in a series of seven. While I highly recommend reading EVERY SINGLE ONE, this book can also stand on its own. The library owns all of the books in the series.

Recommended by Andi

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