The Tomorrow Series # 1: Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

Beth of Beth Fish Reads recommended John Marsden’s Tomorrow-series to me a few months ago. There are several books in the series (seven or eight I think), but I wanted to see if I liked it before getting them all. So I went ahead and bought number one in the series: Tomorrow, When the War Began. Thanks Beth! That was one great read, and I have just ordered the next two in the series.

Tomorrow, When the War Began takes place in Australia in the 1990’es. It was first published in 1995, so there is a lack of internet, cell phones etc which there would’ve been if the book had been written more recently. But that doesn’t make it a less great read.

Ellie and six of her high school friends are camping in the Australian outback for a few days after Christmas. They are four girls and three boys: Ellie, Corrie, Fi and Robyn and Kevin, Homer and Lee. They find this wonderful place to camp and hang out there for the next days, doing nothing but flirting, talking and relaxing. One night some of them wake up when a lot of jets are flying over their campsite, and when they talk about it the next morning, they joke about that it was like a war has begun. A few days later they break up camp and return home – only to find that their joking has come true. Their homes are deserted, their pets and husbandry left dead or dying and no parents or siblings are anywhere.

A war has indeed begun and the seven friends are seemingly the only ones left not caught by the enemy. Now a very intense time for the seven friends begin, and I found this book and its premise extremely suspenseful. There were times where I feared I could not read more, because the suspense was almost killing me. How their group develops, how new relationships are formed and how the group’s dynamics can change in a heartbeat is explained through those seven friends in a very fresh and modern way, which should be appealing to all young adult readers, which are the target audience for this series. While the story is not about sexual relations at all, it is more than hinted at, and that may put off some readers or parents. I know I didn’t mind, but neither did I find it overly interesting. The YA audience will definitely find it more interesting. I liked the war-stuff better! The book is dystopian, but we are in our own world, in our own time and the end has not (yet) arrived.

Can’t wait to read the next book in the series (seems like I have a lot of YA series going). Highly recommendable.