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Synopsis for Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Tomorrow, When the War Began is the first book in the Tomorrow novel series by John Marsden. It is a young adult invasion novel, detailing a high-intensity invasion and occupation of Australia by a foreign power. The novel is told in first person perspective by the main character, a teenage girl named Ellie Linton, who is part of a small band of teenagers waging a guerrilla war on the enemy garrison in their fictional home town of Wirrawee.
Tomorrow, When the War Began was adapted into a feature film of the same name that was released on 2 September 2010 in Australia and New Zealand. It was written and directed by Stuart Beattie, and starred Caitlin Stasey in the role of Ellie Linton.
Ellie goes out camping in the bush for a week with her friends Homer Yannos, Lee, Kevin Holmes, Corrie Mackenzie, Robyn Mathers and Fiona Maxwell. They find a way into a large, vegetated sinkhole in a remote area of bush the locals have dubbed “Hell”, and camp there for the week. During this time they see large numbers of planes flying through the night without lights, and though it is mentioned in conversation the following morning, they think little of it, dismissing it as military planes heading back from a demonstration.
When they return to their home town of Wirrawee, they find that all the people are missing and their pets and livestock are dead or dying. Fearing the worst, they break into three groups to investigate Wirrawee’s situation. They confirm that Australia (or at least, Wirrawee) has been invaded and local citizens are being held captive by a hostile foreign force. Ellie’s group is discovered and, in order to escape, use the fuel tank of a ride-on lawnmower to create an improvised explosive. However, on returning to the nearby meeting point, they discover Robyn and Lee missing. Homer and Ellie search for them and they are met by Robyn, and they discover that Lee has been shot in the leg and hiding out in the main street of Wirrawee, the centre of the enemy’s activity. Ellie and Homer confer with the others and Ellie decides that they should attempt to rescue Lee, using a large excavator to move and protect him. After a protacted chase that sees several soldiers killed, Lee is successfully rescued and returned to the safety of Hell.
While hiding out in Hell, a romantic relationship forms between Ellie and Lee; Homer falls in love with Fi; Kevin and Corrie continue a romantic relationship started a few months before the invasion.
They decide to raid nearby farmhouses, searching for food and other supplies, and then retreat to Hell to establish a base camp for themselves. The group eventually moves toward waging a guerrilla war against the invaders and Ellie, Fi, Lee and Homer steal a petrol tanker, and blow it up under a bridge, destroying the easiest route into Wirrawee (the detour was very slow and complicated). While this is happening Corrie is shot in the back while finding food with Kevin, and Kevin sacrifices his freedom to drive her to an occupied hospital for medical assistance. This leads onto the end of the book which stops there leaving the reader wondering if Corrie will be all right.
About John Marsden (Books by John Marsden…)
John Marsden (born 27 September 1950) is an Australian writer, teacher and school principal. Marsden has had his books translated into nine languages including Swedish, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Italian and Spanish.
Marsden was born in Victoria, Australia and spent his early life in Kyneton, Victoria, Devonport, Tasmania and Sydney, New South Wales. At age 28, after working several jobs, Marsden began a teaching course. Whilst working as a teacher, Marsden began writing for children, and had his first book, So Much To Tell You, published in 1987. Since then, he has written or edited over 40 books and has sold over 5 million books throughout the world.
In 2006, Marsden started an alternative school, Candlebark School in the Macedon Ranges, in which he is the school principal. Marsden has since reduced his writing to focus on teaching and running the school.
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