Friday, February 20, 2009



I'm afraid I'm going to burn out. Not on life or anything like that, but on the Tomorrow series of books by John Marsden.

I'm about midway through the fourth book of the series right now, and I only started them a few weeks ago. None of them are that long (I think the longest thus far has been 280 pages), but that's still quite a lot to read.

I picked up the first book in this young adult series, Tomorrow, When the War Began, at an otherwise somewhat disappointing free store just before xmas (but still, yay free store!). I'd heard the title before, but had no idea what it was about. Did I even read the back, or did I just take it to add to my towering pile of books?

To the great astonishment of everyone (or at least me) it soon got taken off the pile (I was probably procrastinating doing something else) and I began reading the story of teenaged Ellie and her friends hanging out in small town Australia. They flirt, they argue, they get mad, they make up, they make out, they worry, they cry, they're teenagers.

In the middle of a war.

Australia's been invaded by an unnamed Asian country, who want some of the luxury and resources for themselves. Ellie and her friends were out camping in the bush when the invasion happened, and they return to civilization to find everyone in town has been rounded up and held captive. They don't know what to do, and, for the first time in their lives, there's nobody to tell them.

They survive (there's seven books, of course they survive!), and became guerillas, waging their own war against the invading army. Yeah, it's somewhat ridiculous, but they don't all become Rambo*. It's done with enough skill that the things they do seem to at least be plausible, and most of what they do is just surviving. As the series progresses I can only assume that Marsden was doing more and more research into what armies, and people in war zones, actually did.

Ellie and her friends feel a lot realer than a lot of stuff aimed at kids (or teenagers or whatever). They drink, they fuck, they fuck up, and apart from Ellie (or at least that's who I presume the sequel series "The Ellie Chronicles" is about), you don't know who's going to survive. In fact, at this point I'm reasonably certain that all of her friends are going to die at some point. But while they're alive, they have personalities, and they grow and change. Frequently this growth isn't in the best of ways, as they end up killing more and more people, but the world they're living in is scary place, and I have no idea what I'd do in the same situation.

Okay, so the premise doesn't really make sense. It's never explained who's actualy invaded (China? Indonesia?), and the goal of moving a shit load of Asians to Australia doesn't work, as I'm pretty sure that the country couldn't support a population twice as large. (Am I wrong? I'm sure I read somewhere that there were increasingly frequent droughts that were making it super hard for farmers to, well, farm.) The rest of the world (except New Zealand and New Guinea), more or less ignore what's going on.

I only wish I'd found these books when I was younger, as I'm sure 14 year old me would have loved them, but I'm going to keep reading them anyway. Sure, they're a little predictable at times, but I want to find out what happens to Ellie and her friends. Plus maybe I'll find some information that'll be useful if Canada ever gets invaded.

*I find it kind of funny I make references to movies I've never seen.

Bonus "review" of Milk (the movie):
It made me cry, but I didn't think it was that good really. Still, important historically.


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