Saturday, November 30, 2013

AusReading Month - Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

When Ellie and her friends go camping, they have no idea they're leaving their old lives behind forever. Despite a less-than-tragic food shortage and a secret crush or two, everything goes as planned. But a week later, they return home to find their houses empty and their pets starving. Something has gone wrong--horribly wrong. Before long, they realize the country has been invaded, and the entire town has been captured--including their families and all their friends. Ellie and the other survivors face an impossible decision: They can flee for the mountains or surrender. Or they can fight.

It’s hard to believe that this book is 20 years old this year!    I was a little unsure as to whether or not I should even include a 20 year old book old enough to be considered a classic?  So, in true modern style I Googled "How old does a book have to be,  to be considered a classic?" and wiki answers came up with this, which I couldn't have said better myself:

Classic books are like cult movies. They shape new concepts in our society, have something special to offer in an educational way. It is more these aspects of a book that make it a classic.. not how long ago it was published.

What’s really amazing is that it still proves to be a huge seller, both in schools and the retail market.   I loved the book when it first came out, and having read it again for AusReading month I can say that it hasn’t lost any appeal with me.  In my humble opinion, I would say that this is the book (and the series as a whole) that changed teenage the face of teenage fiction in Australia.  I can only base this on the fact that when I was a teenager in the 80s most of the fiction I read was from the US, some from the UK, Tomorrow, When the War Began was the first real Australian 'teenage' novel I can remember reading.  Now we have a huge amount of great teenage fiction being published in Australia every year.

It does everything the first book in a series should do; it sets the scene, it introduces us to the characters (and makes us like them), it builds up suspense…and then it leaves us hanging…eager for Book 2. It really does leave the reader on a cliff hanger, it was nearly impossible for me to not to pick up book 2 and keep going, but sadly that will have to wait for another day.

The only thing that could date this book is the difference in available technology 20 years ago, but I don't think it does.  Readers may have a fleeting thought that none of the characters use their mobile phones, or use the Internet to check out what is happening, but I don't think it's something they would dwell on.  It's interesting to note that when the movie was released in 2010 the characters did actually have mobile phones.

As I mentioned earlier this books still sells unbelievable well, it's probably one of the most consistently selling series ever (again, in my humble opinion), and because of this there have been a plethora of different covers.  Here's just some from the last few years.

1 comment:

  1. I missed this book as a teenager by about 10 years and knew nothing about until I started working in the bookshop 5 years ago. I caught up quick!
    Great review Rebecca and thanks for all your AusReading Month posts - it's been a lot of fun :-)