Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

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Title: Tomorrow, When the War Began
Author: John Marsden
Series: Tomorrow #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Dystopia, War
Dates read: 6th – 11th August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: We agreed on total silence, and we left Kevin’s old corgi, Flip, chained up at the Mackenzies’.

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The astonishing adventure begins

Ellie and her friends leave home one quiet morning, wave goodbye to their parents, and head up into the hills to camp out for a while; seven teenagers filling in time during school holidays.

The world is about to change forever. Their lives will never be the same again.

Would you fight? Would you give up everything? Would you sacrifice even life itself?

Tomorrow, When the War Began asks the biggest questions you will ever have to answer.


I first read this book when I was about ten years old. My mum probably didn’t quite realise what an intense story she was buying me. But it was certainly a great read, even back then. But, now? As an adult? Wow. I had actually forgotten just how damn good this book actually is! It’s brilliantly written, has a seriously intense storyline, manages to somehow be relatable in unrelatable circumstances, and, the part that I probably like the most… it has a great and strong character development / arc that makes you want to pick up the next book immediately and without reservation.

As with my first reading through of this when I was younger – it makes me incredibly grateful for the life I lead. Especially with the global climate right now. It just makes me more and more grateful for what I have in my own life. It’s definitely charmed living in Australia, and I just can’t imagine my life being torn apart in one moment as it is in this novel. It’s so lovely to read a book that highlights the good things in our lives by showing just how quickly things can go drastically wrong.

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, one of my favourite things about this novel is the way in which Ellie evolves as a person. At the beginning she’s a fairly typical teenager. Worried about boys, her friends and slightly rebelling against her parents. Even the first moments of the war are a little disjointed to her. But, as the story evolves, so does she. Quite drastically, but in a way that is entirely plausible. I love that her self-awareness and understanding of her own motives grows as she becomes a stronger, more independent woman. It means that I can’t wait to see how she further evolves as things get darker and darker…

I love novels that, when you’ve turned that final page, you constantly think about them. Either because of the emotions that they impart, or, as is the case with this book – a question that you ask yourself. In this case, I am constantly wondering what I would have done / would do in this situation. And whether I would even survive (I strongly suspect I wouldn’t… but it’s an interesting thought exercise). Now I have to weigh up the pros and cons of whether or not I want to read the next book just now… and whether my heart can bear the intensity of the storyline…

<- More John MarsdenThe Dead of the Night ->

Image source: Fishpond


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