The book I read was Tomorrow, When the War Began. It’s written by renown Australian writer John Marsden, who have won awards for his “Tomorrow” series, as well as many other books.
John Marsden was born on the 27th of September 1950 in Melbourne, Australia. He’s been writing since 1987, when he gave out the book “So Much to Tell You”. The book was very well received, and got many awards, such as the Christopher Medal and Victorian Premier’s Award. It was also declared Book of the Year by the Children’s Book Council. After that his releases have reached 28, and he is still writing even more.
Marsden’s family moved to Sydney, where John Marsden enrolled at The King’s School, renown for a very strict style of learning. After he finished school, he went on to study Law and Arts, while working part-time at a mortuary and as a security guard, before he ended up as an English Teacher.
He taught as an English teacher for nine years at the Geelong Grammar School, before he became Head of English at the same school.
In 1982, Marsden was arrested for protesting against the building of the Franklin Dam. As all the prisons were full, Marsden was sent to a high-security prison for a night. Marsden later said that the one-night-stay at the prison gave him some inspiration when he was writing “Letters from the Inside” and parts of “The Tomorrow” series.
At the moment, Marsden is working on an alternative school on his estate in Romsey, Victoria. The school is named Candlebark, and was opened on the 31st of January 2006, with a total of 56 students ranging from 5 to 13 years.
The Tomorrow Series
The Tomorrow Series was started in 1994, with “Tomorrow, When the War Began”. It has a total of seven books, the last one in 1999. It has been reprinted a total of 16 times, and the first book in the series is not only considered one of the best book for teens ever written, but the best book for teens written in Australia ever.
Description of the Plot
I’ve read Tomorrow, When the War Began. Now, this isn’t a book I’d give to a kid and tell him or her to read. By that I mean that the book can, at times, bordering to adult literature. But that’s not a problem for me. It just helps spice the story up a little.
Tomorrow, When the War Began, is situated in the fictional town Wirrawee in Australia. A group of seven teenagers decides to go camping during the Christmas holiday. They end up going to Hell, an untouched piece of nature with a scary history. It’s rumored that an old murderer lived there.
During their five-day stay in Hell, the world as they knew it changes drastically. When they return home they find their domesticated animals dead or starving and all the houses empty. It doesn’t take a long time before the teens realize that the country has been invaded, and that all the people are in captivity, or even worse, dead. They have a choice. They can return to Hell and hide until the war is over, they can surrender, or they can fight as guerillas, doing everything they can to set the invaders back. They decide on the latter.
We follow them through blood, sweat and tears, and you will have problems putting the book down after reading a few sentences, because of the countless cliffhangers.
John Marsden decided he wanted to write a book that was not only fun to read and captivating, but that was also serious and educating at the same time.
The main theme of the book is war. Marsden wants to educate the youth about war, show them that it’s not “cool”, and it’s not awesome to kill people.
Love and caring is also an important theme. Marsden wants to express that there is always room for love, no matter what the situation is at the time. Love is the most important thing, at least in this case, where only a few teens are together, not knowing what’s happening to their families.
I can truly say, with one hand over my heart, that this is one of the best books I’ve read. Marsden is an incredible writer, and he really manages to build a real world around the books, and draw the readers into it. He’s descriptive, but still not overdoing it.