Since this is the sixth book of the series, this review may have some spoilers in it. If you don’t want to ruin the book and want to read it for yourself, I recommend not reading past this paragraph. If you’ve stumbled upon this review looking for something about the series, go check out the review for the first book Tomorrow, When the War Began.
Unlike the previous book where the teenagers are quite suicidal in their actions, this book gives them back the belief of wanting to survive. It comes in a weird and unexpected way as well… with kids. While they have been in Stratton, they’ve kept a watchful eye on the kids that hide in the shadows of the streets. Ellie and Co are very aware of their existence due to the mugging they endured in the last book, but it is in this book when they decide to try and win the kids over.
You’d think after so many books of pew pew pews, teenage angst and everything in between, you would start to get a bit bored. Well, I can say that I didn’t really find myself in that position in this book. Yes, I feel that some events are a bit repetitive, but I think of all the books this has been one of the more original in its timeline. Ultimately, I really liked this instalment and if you're into the action I think you will too!
Since this is the fifth book of the series, this review may have some spoilers in it. If you don’t want to ruin the book and want to read it for yourself, I recommend not reading past this paragraph. If you’ve stumbled upon this review looking for something about the series, go check out the review for the first book Tomorrow, When the War Began.
As the title suggests, John Marsden’s fifth instalment in his Tomorrow series brings back the fire with action that was missing in Darkness, Be My Friend. So, if you were not interested or did not enjoy the lack of action previously, you definitely get your money’s worth here. Remember when the New Zealand guerrillas wanted to blow up the airbase with the help of Ellie and co? Well, with all the unlucky attempts in book four, book five shows how ‘lucky’ they are to finally be able to do it, even though they didn’t necessarily plan to.
Some aspects of this book I really enjoyed whereas there were a few times where I felt like there could only be one solution to their problem, in which case I read with a ‘well, it has to happen like this’ frame of mind. The action was phenomenal and the characters reaction to it really emphasised what was built in the last book, which was the emotional and mental fragilities that had been unmasked. However, people can only be so lucky in life, and so I found some of the results a little bit predictable. Then, there was Lee’s betrayal, which is a whole other issue in itself, but I’ll get into that later.
Since this is the fourth book of the series, this review may have some spoilers in it. If you don’t want to ruin the book and want to read it for yourself, I recommend not reading past this paragraph. If you’ve stumbled upon this review looking for something about the series, go check out the review for the first book Tomorrow, When the War Began.
This book starts with Ellie and co in New Zealand. Unlike the other books, where not a lot of time has passed since the ending of the previous story, this takes place about five months after. The first words, ‘I didn’t want to go back’, eludes to what is about to happen. This war isn’t over. Not for Ellie or her friends. I mean, it shouldn’t be surprising, we’re only four books in with three more to go!
Ultimately, I like this book. It’s not as action-packed as the previous instalments, but it provides an insight into the damaging psychological effects that war or any traumatic experience can have on anyone. Each character is extremely different with their backgrounds and situations, so I enjoyed learning more about how they coped after they left and how they continued to cope going back. But, if you’re someone who’s really into action-packed scenes with explosions and guns and the pew pew pews, then this instalment might be a bit a drag for you.
The third instalment in John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, The Third Day, the Frost takes place weeks after their attack on Buttercup Lane. Ellie quickly brings us up to speed with everything that is going on and how the others have changed since the attack. Robyn has stopped eating a lot, telling jokes about how she’s an ‘anorexic insomniac’. Homer has slumped into a depression. Lee has a nervous tick and, when he and Ellie ‘get it on’, his body doesn’t react like he wants it to. Ellie admits she’s prone to lifelike flashbacks while also feeling similar to her mates. It is Fi that looks like she’s coping the best. A complete change from the first book. Where there were eight innocent teenagers full of life, now there is only five in their damaged group… until they find Kevin.
It’s been a while since we saw Kevin. He drove himself and Corrie off to the hospital at the end of the first book. We’ve only heard of him in snippets from people in work parties. However, he holds the key to their next big attack. The one that will be one of the most defining parts of the war. This third book shows what true desperation leads to and how much war can change a person’s perspective. One day, you’re thinking about how one person could kill another. The next, you’re pinning someone to the ground with a belt around their throats hoping they can’t yell out otherwise you will die. It’s tough. It’s brutal. But underneath it all, there’s hope.
The second instalment in John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, The Dead of the Night is really when it all kicks off. Yes, Ellie and her friends have done some damage to the enemy by blowing up a bridge and they already have some blood on their hands. However, it isn’t until this book that they start to see the true impact this war has already had on the area. A young adult novel series, this book continues to be written in the same tone from Ellie’s perspective as she continues to write the accounts of what’s happening around them. It’s different this time, like there’s a shift in her language. Before, she wrote because everyone wanted her to so they could get their record straight. This time, it’s still to keep a record for others to read but she’s doing it because she knows it’s important, both for others to read and for her sanity.
It begins a while after the events in the first book. The group have gone over what Ellie has written and there have been mixed responses. She was honest and didn’t spare any details, which resulted in everyone being quite timid around her. Their relationships have changed and their all on edge. However, it can be seen past all of it that they’re still reeling after the loss of two of their members. No, they’re not dead… or at least that’s what they hope. They don’t know since they haven’t seen them since they drove off. They were a tight unit and now they’re separated, and one of the two was Ellie’s best friend, Corrie.
Remember when you used to imagine as a kid what would happen if a war started and you weren’t there for it? No one else, just me? What if you were away and your parents disappeared? Like that Jimmy Neutron movie, where the kids think it’s amazing their parents have gone until they find out it’s a more serious situation than originally thought? Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden explores this, taking a group of high school kids and throwing them into the middle of a war that puts them, their families and everyone they know at risk of losing everything they have, their lives included. A young adult novel, this book starts us on the journey of Marsden’s adrenaline pumping Tomorrow series.
It begins with Ellie, the protagonist, writing about how she has been chosen by her group of friends to write about their experiences. What she will write will be their account of what happened. Something for people to read and understand the events from their perspective. There is no mention of a war. There is no mention as to what event has led her to write this. All we know is that something serious is happening. There is a lot of emphasis about how Ellie’s friends were before something happened. There is happiness with the sense of impending doom, and the only way we’re going to find out more is if we continue to read Ellie’s recounts.
Self discovery is complicated. There are so many standards set by society that make it hard for us to figure out who we really are. When we do find out what that is and it isn't deemed 'normal' in societal standards, then we try to find ways to hide it. This forces people to fake who they are or even hate who they are. It can drive people towards mental health issues and impact their way of life. It can get so bad that people feel that the only way they can survive is to not survive at all. Sometimes, all we need is to hear that there is someone out there who has gone through it too. When we find out there are others like us it can provide support and ease. This is why Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin is so powerful.
Here is a story about a person who has gone through life trying to find out who they are. In this journey, they have discovered many aspects of their life that don't fit in to society's standard and they have had to fight to find happiness and acceptance. It is the story of Nevo Zisin. Born female, they lived a life full of gender dysphoria and later transitioned. This story take us on their journey. It provides us an insight into the emotions felt by Nevo and the fight between what society deemed 'normal' and how they identified themselves. It's a powerful piece of literature that gives people going through a similar journey something to connect with, and it is a story that has opened my eyes to just how suffocating society is.
'Thomas Major, the boy who didn't die, but didn't truly live either.'
Thomas Major is travelling to Mars to be the first man to lay his feet on the planet. He's a scientist but that's not the reason why he's got a one-way ticket to a holiday destination millions of kilometres away from humanity. You see, he's fed up with Earth and the people on it. He's not interested in making amazing scientific advancements that could change the way the world sees space. He's not interested in sticking a flag in the dirt and claim first prize in the race to the red planet. All he cares about is never seeing another human-being again. He's had enough of the cruelty of life on Earth and is on his way to a lonely and peaceful solitude.
This story focuses on the question 'why do people do what they do?'. Why would someone with no experience in flying or space travel be rocketing to Mars on a one-way trip? Why does a young high school girl work three different jobs? Why does the man in space help a desperate family millions of kilometres away from where he is? A general fiction tale, Calling Major Tom by David M Barnett explores the terrible circumstances that lead people to make tough decisions… and also how a guy travels to Mars.
A writer knows the importance of their characters. They need to be relatable and believable. Although fictional, they need to be alive in the way they act, speak and respond. They have aspirations, jobs, families and more. At times, an author will create a character based on themselves or will draw on their personal experiences and opinions to create them. However, what happens when the writer’s reality and the protagonist’s reality begin to mould together? When is it fiction and when is it real? These questions are explored in Sulari Gentill’s Crossing the Lines, a story where a writer’s imagination and reality become crossed.
This book is a crime mixed with mystery mixed with psychological fiction. It stars two protagonists who are writing one another’s stories. It begins with Madeleine d’Leon conjuring up Edward ‘Ned’ McGinnity, a crime fiction writer just like her. However, as she writes her story it becomes apparent that Ned is also writing hers as it happens. In Ned’s world, he is in love with his best friend, Willow, who is married to someone else. At her art exhibition, he begins to tell her about his idea of a story, describing his protagonist Madeleine to her. Then, a murder. In Madeleine’s world, she is dealing with an emotional past and a strained relationship, and in coming up with Ned she finds a place to escape. The worlds are blurred and it is the reader’s task to figure out who the real writer is.
'Oh, it's not a shock... it's not a shock in the slightest... because I'm the one who killed her.'
Welcome to Durham, home to the prestigious Durham University. Within this university are a range of colleges but the one that homes the country's future elite is Joyce College. On the outside it looks innocent as ever, with students working hard to ensure they graduate and are offered positions in their fields. However, a culture of secrets, sex, jealousy and unhealthy obsession is embedded within the college. It's become a way of life for the close-knit students. The young women of the college want to show their strength and stand in unity with feminism by showing they can do the same as men, but it is the devastating effect of the Internet that breeds a new beast of bullying--a beast that leads to death.
Detective Inspector Erica Martin has recently been promoted and her first case surrounds the death of Emily Brabents, a 'fresher' at Durham University. She is found by the weir over the Regatta weekend, and it is seen as an unusual death. Suicide is seen as a possibility, but DI Martin feels differently. It is after a conversation with the principal of the college when a young man with the name Simon Rush steps in. He's the student president of Joyce and is believed to have been the last person to see her. It is in this early scene where, in a huge twist, he confesses.
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.