Tomorrow, When The War Began (Part 1: the book)

The cover of "Tomorrow, When The War Began" by John Marsden
Just look at that comma lurking there, ominously...

The movie‘s just around the corner, and I just so happen to have a copy of the book lying around, so I thought I’d give it a quick read so that I can do one of those movie vs. book comparisons. The Tomorrow series rates amongst Australia’s top young adult fiction, as well as being a common school text, so I have no idea why I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Cultural cringe, possibly.

As the blurb describes, John Marsden wrote Tomorrow, When The War Began to address “a complete lack of interest in reading among his Year 9 students” while teaching English at a school in the Australian bush. Looking at it from a critical perspective, I’d put it in a similar category as Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code – deeply flawed writing yet with an unputdownable quality of storytelling.

Tomorrow is written from the perspective of Ellie, a well-rounded, level headed young farm girl, who organises a camping trip with a small group of her friends in a deep, secluded area of bush named Hell. While there the town of Wirawee where they live is invaded and occupied by an unknown military force. The group is plunged reluctantly into war, and become guerrillas fighting to free their friends and family, and to save their town.

Whether consciously or not, Marsden created a cast that represents the multicultural melting pot that is Australia – both ethnic and social class – and worked in several slightly preachy episodes of moralising. If you can look past these contrivances, Marsden does otherwise produce a fairly convincing depiction of both an idyllic rural lifestyle (not hard for him I guess, seeing as he actually lives in the bush), and the fear and terror of finding yourself suddenly in the midst of a war.

Tomorrow, When The War Began movie logo

And so the movie. It comes out on Thursday, 2nd September (although I’m a lucky enough to have scored tickets to a preview screening on the Monday prior) and from the trailers, it seems that the producers have taken the safe route and stuck very closely to the book. Practically every scene is accounted for exactly as I remember them. Check it out for yourself:

Look out for part 2 of this review soon…


  1. hi when i read the books it was a real eye opener. i read the whole seris . i am 16 and i really loved the books i was wanting to know what the critical perpectives on it is though.

    Niki Cooke

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