Tomorrow, When the War Began John Marsden Published by Scholastic Paperbacks ISBN 9780439829106 For the first few chapters, John Marsden's Tomorrow, When the War Began seems like a carefree story about friends camping together. Set in rural Australia, the book follows seven friends - Ellie, Corrie, Homer, Lee, Robyn, Kevin and Fiona. All of them go into the bush, nicknamed 'Hell', for one last camping trip before school starts again. They find a shaded clearing near a river and decide to make it their camp site. They stay there for a week, completely cut off from the world, and then return home, expecting everything to be the same as they left it. But they are in for a huge surprise. When they get back, they find their houses empty and everyone gone. Confused, they head to the centre of town, only to discover their home has been invaded by a hostile foreign force, and the people are being held hostage at the fairground. This is where the story really kicks off, and Marsden skilfully portrays the characters' sense of fear and unease. He makes the reader think about how they would react in that situation. The seven friends are unsure of what to do next. Try to rescue their families? Launch an attack? Head back to Hell and lie low? Eventually they head back to Hell, and realise how lucky they were to have discovered the one spot that can't be seen from the air, or accessed from the ground, unless you know exactly what to look for. It is here that the group decides that they can't sit idly by and leave their town to the mercy of enemy forces. This novel is an exciting account of Ellie and her friends' battle against the forces that have invaded their small town. They don't have weapons, so they have to rely on their wits and rebel warfare tactics to beat the invaders. Marsden also uses this situation to draw a parallel between what is happening to the trapped Australians in the novel, and what happened to the Aboriginal people when the first white settlers landed in Australia. This smart, politically conscious book makes no effort to glamorise the war. First published in 1993, this book has stood the test of time and was very recently made into a feature film. The book will capture the attention of all generations, and its main themes - friendship, war and family - are still relevant today. Tomorrow, When the War Began is the first in a series of seven books. It will definitely leave the reader wanting more.