Study Guide

Tomorrow, When the War Began

By John Marsden

Tomorrow, When the War Began Introduction

Ah, vacation… Everyone loves to get away, right? And camping with friends can be an excellent way to do so. There's nothing like a bit of peace and quiet and quality time in fresh air to really cut loose and relax, you know? In Tomorrow, When the War Began, Ellie couldn't agree more. Thing is, upon returning home, instead of getting a hug from her mom and a hot shower, Ellie finds her house empty, her parents missing, and all of her pets dead. Whoa.

Published in 1993, Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden is the tale of a motley crew of teens who find themselves pretty much the only people not captured during an enemy invasion. While they were off blissfully hanging in the woods, everyone else was rounded up and taken captive—so now it's up to Ellie and her friends to figure out what the heck to do. One part war drama, one part survival story, with a dash of romance in the mix, Tomorrow is all about one vacation gone horribly wrong.

The book is the first in a long series that details Ellie and her friends' struggle to make their way through war. If you're thinking this sounds pretty epic, then get this: The series has won a bunch of awards, including the KOALA, YABBA, WAYRBA and BILBY (trust us, these are all real—they're just Australian). So it isn't just a sprawling adventure tale, fancy literary types also think it's super good.

What is Tomorrow, When the War Began About and Why Should I Care?

Love it or hate it (we hope your answer is hate it), it seems war is here to stay. Someone's always fighting someone else somewhere on this planet of ours, and for that reason alone, books about war are generally worth reading. That said, Tomorrow, When the War Began offers a unique take on war. Instead of hearing about it from a soldier who's signed up to fight, or a military strategist, or a family forced to flee their home, we hear about war from the perspective of a teenage girl who suddenly finds herself with no choice but to do her best to survive, all while trying to find her family.

Ellie finds herself in the middle of a war without any warning, and the only people she has to rely on are her teenage pals whom she's been camping with. These kids don't have weapons or uniforms—heck, they're not even sure what's happening, at first—but war waits for no one, so strategize and fight they must, banding together and doing their best, learning from their mistakes as they go along.

If you've ever wondered what war is like, Tomorrow offers an up-close and personal view. And if you haven't, well, maybe you should: Like we said, war doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Tomorrow, When the War Began Resources

Websites

More Marsden
Swing by Marden's website for all the deets on his life, his books, and so much more. Dude is prolific.

Websties

Welcome to Candlebark
What's Candlebark, you ask? Why it's the school Marsden founded based on what he thinks education should be. Its motto is "Take care, take risks."

Movie or TV Productions

Rotten Review
Wondering what Rotten Tomatoes thinks of the movie version of this book? Click on through.

Two Thumbs Up
Let's just say this movie seems to be making Aussie's proud.

Articles and Interviews

From Fan Mail to Interviewer
This article features an interview with Marsden done by a woman who wrote him a fan letter as a child.

All the Things
Marsden discusses everything from the school he started to his childhood to his writing in this piece.

For Teens, by an Adult
Nobody ever said grown-ups can't be super into young adult lit, so check out one adult's review of this YA novel. She's pretty pleased.

Like The Hunger Games?
If you do, this reviewer is pretty sure you'll devour Tomorrow, When the World Began.

Video

Official Trailer
Tomorrow, When the War Began got the big screen treatment. Here's the official preview for your viewing pleasure.

Images

Movie Poster
If you were to cast the characters, who would you pick?

Meet Marsden
Here's a pic of the author for you.