Study Guide

Tomorrow, When the War Began Summary

By John Marsden

Tomorrow, When the War Began Summary

You know what Ellie and her BFF Corrie think would be a good idea? To take a camping trip. You know who agrees? Pretty much everyone they know. With that, Ellie and a bunch of other people pack up and head off into the Aussie wilderness—a.k.a. the bush—to a place called Hell.

No, we're not kidding. It's really called Hell.

No one has ever been to Hell before Ellie and Co. and they struggle to find it, though they finally do. It's worth the work, too—Hell is quite heavenly for a week. Some strange things happen on occasion—things like dark jets flying overhead—but Ellie and her fellow campers pretty much keep on keeping on.

And then they go home… and the trouble begins.

When she gets to her house, Ellie finds it's been abandoned. The same goes for all of her friends' houses, too. Pets are dead, food is rotting, the power is out—something is officially up.

Ellie and Co. sneak into the town of Wirrawee, where they discover (thanks to a bit of spying) that their families are all being held captive at the Showground. Spying doesn't only get the group info, though; it also gets them into trouble.

In response, Ellie blows up a lawn mower and kills some soldiers. She fares better than some of the others—a few of her friends get caught in town and can't get out, while Lee is shot. Bummer. A rescue mission is arranged, but while it's ultimately successfully, the gang barely escapes with their lives. Along the way, they pick up a stray, Chris, who's been hiding out all this time.

Ellie and her motley crew return to Hell, where a few romances begin and some people scope out more info on the invasion. Ready for some good news? They find out their families are safe. Phew.

Homer takes a vote on what the next step is and everyone decides to fight back. Homer, Ellie, Fi, and Lee go into town and decide to blow up the bridge that is used by the military to truck supplies to the other invasion sites. Their plan is almost botched, but Homer and Ellie rally to pull it off at the last minute.

After blowing up the bridge, Ellie barely escapes the retaliatory gunfire, and then they all whiz off on motorbikes. When they arrive at Ellie's, though, instead of celebrating, they find Corrie shot and dying. Kevin drives Corrie to the hospital; back in Hell, everyone is worried sick, wondering if Kevin and Corrie will make it safely to help. They also decide Hell will be their base camp going forward. After all, who knows how long they'll be here…