Review: Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden

I thought it was only fitting for our first book review to feature the book responsible for introducing me to Young Adult Literature. It’s an aussie bestseller, with an aussie setting, written by an aussie. It’s also an all time favourite of many of the Aussie Owned Team.

Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow, #1)

Tomorrow When The World Began is the first book in John Marsden’s The Tomorrow Series.  The title is a dead giveaway for the basic premise. As the back cover says;

Hell isn’t only a place for the damned, sometimes it’s a place where the saved take refuge.

TWTWB follows the lives of seven teens who take a trip to Hell; a secluded camping spot deep in the mountains surrounding Wirrawee. So secluded only a select few have ever been there. When they come out they discover that their sleepy country town has been invaded. They hot tail it back into Hell.

Sixteen year old Ellie Linton is the narrator. The story is written as a group history. You know, in case they don’t survive. It’s nice and peaceful in Hell, they have supplies, they have fresh water, they have each other. But what they don’t have is their town, their families, and their everyday lives. So this group of seven high schoolers take on the invaders in guerrilla like encounters. They make a difference to their town and to the war.

TWTWB tackles issues of war, survival, friendship, and young love. The characters are so alive on the page that they feel like real people. From loud, fun loving, innovative, group leader Homer to quiet, sensible, intelligent, passionate, killing machine Lee. Prim and Proper Robyn, spoilt princess Fiona, and the rest of the group.

The only criticism I had is that the book is written as a group history. When Ellie talks love, crushes and intimate moments, I was like, Ellie! Stop it! This isn’t your diary, the whole group will read it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being privy to Ellie’s budding romance, but at times I cringed at the thought of it being read by Homer or Lee or Kevin.

Even though this story had me looking over my shoulder for years, nervous that my peaceful country was about to be invaded, I loved it so much that my copy looks really trashed. I’ve read it so many times. I really treasure my books, dog ears are like a mortal sin. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re really missing out. And the best bit is, they made a movie of the first book. As the back cover says;

Get ready. This is Real. This is True. What will you do tomorrow?


Stacey Nash

Stacey Nash is a writer of YA Sci-fi and YA fantasy. She loves to read and write stories that carry high tension, life and death situations and, of course, a little love. You can catch her on twitter, facebook or at her blog.


  1. This is actually the only series my hubby ever read through. He had to read the first book for school and loved it so much he went to the library and borrowed the rest. Now that is saying something because my hubby DOES. NOT. READ!



  2. I remember absolutely loving this series. I was both terrified and excited by the premise and, like most people I knew who read those books, I used to fantasise about what it would be like to be in that situation. Kids as heroes? I loved that idea.

    I wrote a recent review on TWTWB for parents and students; check it out if you’re interested 🙂



    1. Hi Elissa,

      Thanks for dropping by. John Marsden really had a great premise with this series. And you’re right it’s terrifying. I remember imagining, where I’d go and how I’d survive Tomorrow!



  3. Anyone seen this movie? I really enjoyed it. Anyway, I’m really not confident of the few I typed. This is based mostly off the movie, but also slightly off the books which I read a few of a long time ago, as I think the characters seemed fairly faithful.

    Ellie: ENFJ is my best guess.
    Corrie: Can’t remember her very well at all.
    Lee: INFJ
    Homer: Starts off total ESTP, quickly becomes total ESTJ. Not quite sure how that happens, but I guess that kind of trauma could potentially change your type.
    Fi: Um… ISFX I think.
    Robyn: ISFJ… probably
    Chris: INFP, though in the movie he seemed more of comic relief than an actual character.
    Kevin: ESFP×06-online.html
    So yeah, if anyone saw it, or has read the books, what do you think?



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