Book 7 – Tomorrow, when the war began by John Marsden

Tomorrow when the war beganThe last book I reviewed was ‘Fifty Shades Darker‘ and before that I wrote ‘Fifty Shades of Whatever‘ which was about the first movie based on the trilogy. And I was sure that the next book I would be reviewing was going to be ‘Fifty Shades Freed’. Well, it’s not as you can see by the title of this post.

This is a series consisting of more than two books … but that’s about the only comparison I can make between the books. I’ll get back to the ‘Fifty Shades trilogy’ once I’ve finished reading it, though that might take a little while. I kind of got bored … by the books, there is a reason why I don’t usually read these type of books I guess.  Okay, so let’s talk about ‘Tomorrow, when the war began’.

This books is a young adult book, it came out back in 1995 (at least the dutch translation did, I’m pretty sure that was the version I read back then). I was thirteen in 1995 and looking back I think that I was thirteen or fourteen when I read the book for the first time. At the time I had a library card and every few weeks I would go there and get a couple of books. I was an incredibly slow reader at the time but I loved it nevertheless. Venturing into other worlds, envisioning all types of adventures is a great way to spend some free time especially as a way to escape the real world.

At the time I had no idea who this author was, the thing that really got me interested was the tittle. I mean ‘Tomorrow, when the war began’ that is an awesome tittle. There is so much suspense in it. I just needed to know what that meant.

Since that time give, or take twenty years have past and to this day this is one of the books that always stuck with me. For some reason – probably because the library never had the other books – I’ve only read this one and only recently figured out that there are six other books in the ‘Tomorrow series’ and even three books following that called ‘The Ellie Chronicles’. Back then you couldn’t just go on the internet and order the other books or download them for that matter. Looking back at the ending of this book however there is no way that I could have missed that there wouldn’t be a sequel, I had to have known but I probably just didn’t have the resources to find the other books.

But let’s not be hasty let’s start at the beginning. ‘Tomorrow, when the war began’ the first book in the series. This time I read the English version and the first thing I noticed was the way it was written. This probably sounds weird especially for Aussies who might read this. I know that they use a lot of words which are only used in Australia, however I never realized (which is pretty ignorant, I admit) that books written by Australians would have a different feel to them as well. They use words that I’ve never heard in English before – I’ve heard them in the tv shows I used to watch – but also sentences are actually build differently. It’s probably not something anyone ever thinks about, but I certainly did while reading this book. I can’t really explain it or show you an example, but belief me it’s different than any American or British books I’ve ever read before.  reading this book, the fact that it was writing in Australian English gave it more authenticity since this takes place in Australia. I’m glad that I now choose to read this version, I can’t really compare it to the dutch version because it has been so long since I read but the one thing that I figured out when I was doing some research for this review is that for the Dutch translation some of the names have been changed. I hate it when they do that. Does it really matter if a person is called Ellie (Australian) or Ellen (Dutch), Corrie (Australian) or Carrie (Dutch).

The story

A group of teenager decide that they want to go bush for a while before they have to return to their regular life which means school. They decide to go for a week – while the town is busy with the preparations for some type of memorial day. Their parents allow them to go if they follow some basic rules. Ellie gets to borrow her parents car if she’s the only one who drives it. They are allowed to go if they also take a couple of kids who are responsible and know how to take care of themselves. Hence the reason why the group consist of such different people.

There is Ellie, the thinker and a writer – the story is told from her perspective. In fact, she’s the author of the story, she tells everything they go through as the story develops – she’s asked by the others in the group to do so when they realize that they need to write everything that happens down so that people will know what they did and what happened to them. Corrie who’s Ellie’s best friend – together they come up with the plan to go bush – and her boyfriend Kevin. Homer – who’s Ellie’s neighbor and her ‘brother’ – is a total goof-ball who thinks everything in life is a joke. I think his character grew the most throughout this book. Well honestly it’s a tie between him and Fi. When Fi is introduced into the story she’s basically asked to come because she’s the only person they know who has class. She’s the least likely person to go bush but she does it anyway. There’s also Lee, a talented hardworking pianist who helps out in his parents restaurant whenever he’s not going to school or playing the piano. And then there is Robyn – a very religious girl but intelligent girl.

So they set off for their trip, to this place called ‘Hell’. In fact it’s the opposite of hell, it’s a beautiful place surrounded by a high rock formation which can only be entered on foot. Upon their arrival they have to think carefully of everything they want to take with them because going back up to get stuff they forgot is going to be a long trip. Finally they descent into hell and find the perfect spot for their camp. During one of the nights some of them are woken up by planes flying over them, at first they don’t think too much of it because it is the same night that the country is celebrating that memorial day. So they think it’s part of the military shows. When the days of their camping trip are up and they return to their homes they first find Ellie’s place abandoned, the working dogs are still attached to their chains but they have perished. The telephone lines are cut and the radios aren’t working either and her parents are nowhere to be found.

From there on out they find little clues of what’s going on and at night they make their way to their own town guerrilla style. Most of Wirrawee is dark, only the hospital and show ground are lit. They go into the town in small groups to figure out what’s going on, Lee and Robyn go to their own houses to see if their parents are at home. Fi is joined by Homer – he always wanted to visit the big house on the hill – where Fi lives. At the same time Carrie, Kevin and Ellie go to the show-ground. There is a high fence placed around the show-ground, tents are in the middle of it and sentries on the look-out and it seems (according to the cars parked around the show-ground) that most of the people from the town and the surrounding area are there caught by surprise on when the troops arrived.

They have to come up with a plan to keep themselves safe and fight back whenever they can. And that is when the real interesting part of the story starts. But I don’t want to give anything away because there is no use in reading the story

The movie

In 2010 a movie was made based on the first book, you can view the official trailer since it’s at the bottom of this post. I know that a lot of times the movies based on books suck especially for the fans of the book, but this one is a good representation of the book. Of course not everything in the book is used, but they are pretty accurate I got to give them that. The only thing were they really get away from the book is the last two big events. Instead of it being two separate events they make it one big thing, probably a choice made because of time management. It’s great, it does work however it doesn’t give some of the characters the credit they should get. And by that I mean that most of the credits go to Robyn and Chris (who joined them later in the story) while they should have gone to Fi – who now ends up screaming in a ditch while bullets fly over her head.

Now that I have reread the first book I want to read the other books too. And belief me I will read them.

Do you have books from when you were younger which always stayed with you for some reason?

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