Study Guide

Tomorrow, When the War Began Love

By John Marsden


Homer was still rapt in Fi, always wanting to talk to me about her, trying to accidentally put himself wherever she happened to be going, turning red every time she spoke to him. (5.21)

Ah, young love. Come on, admit it—you've totally done stuff like this. We definitely have.

[…] Corrie standing alone in the middle of the sitting room, tears streaming down her face. The Kevin came in from checking the bedrooms, saw her, and moving quickly to her took her in his arms and held her close. They just stood there for quite a few minutes. I liked Kevin a lot for that. (7.12)

One of the very best things someone who loves you can do is just give you a hug when things are hard to handle. The fact that Kevin does that here shows that he really does love Corrie.

[…] I wanted to spend more time with this new Homer, this interesting and clever boy whom I'd known but not known for so many years. (10.8)

Homer's newfound confidence and competence seem to be turning Ellie's head, even though Homer has never looked good to her before. His personality has changed from goof-off to leader, and Ellie likes what she sees.

[…] two steers halfway up the ramp, just a couple of minutes away from death, but one was still trying to mount the other. […] that's a bit the way we were. 'In the midst of life we are in death.' We were in the middle of a desperate struggle to stay alive, but here was I, still thinking about boys and love. (10.9)

Weird. We don't know if we'd ever thought about the drive to find comfort, pleasure, and joy while destruction surrounds you… but it does make sense. And it helps explain why Ellie is writing so much about their little dramas and love business; it's an important part of how they overcome the terror of war.

We lay down together, still being very serious, and began touching each other, gently and lovingly. (12.13)

What can we say? War can be serious business, but so can crushes. Ooh la la…

I was kissing him back, but then I stopped. I didn't have plans to become the local slut and I didn't think it was a good idea to get involved with two guys at once. (12.32)

Yeah, when you have to live with both of the guys you're crushing on day in and day out for who knows how long, it might be best not to get too involved with either of them. It seems messy for interpersonal relations.

I felt guilty even thinking about love while our world was in such chaos […] but my heart was making its own rules and refusing to be controlled by my conscience. (13.87)

Ellie can't fight love any more than we can—there's basically no bossing around the human heart.

"Oh, Lee, I don't want to get rid of you. I don't want to get rid of anyone. We all have to get on, living in this place the way we are, for God knows how long."

"Yes," he said. "This place, Hell. It seems like Hell sometimes. Now for instance." (14.37-38)

This is bad news: Drama in isolation might cause some major trouble for this group of teens. They really have to stick together in order to survive.

He grinned. "How can I say I love you for your mind, after everything I've just said? But I do."
It was the first time he'd used the word love, and it sobered me, a bit. (15.75)

What will happen if Ellie decides she doesn't love Lee back? Love is plenty tricky in its own right, but it's all the trickier when there are literally only seven people around to interact with.