In Tomorrow, When the War Began, friends are the only people these kids have. Their families have been captured, their town's been occupied by enemy soldiers, and this little band of teens has no one to turn to for help but each other. Friendship is the thing they cling to in order to survive, their source of support and comfort, as well as assistance when it comes to meeting their basic needs for things like food. It's pretty much always true that you're a teen, friends are everything, but for these teens, this isn't just a feeling—it's their reality.
Questions About Friendship
- In what ways does friendship save this group? Are there any negative things about clinging to their friends?
- Are there any friends in this group that aren't as reliable? Who? Does this matter? Why or why not?
- What are the most important functions of friends for the characters? The least? What patterns do you notice and what do they tell you about friendship as a theme in the book?
Chew on This
The reason the Hell gangs survives the invasion is because the kids completely commit to sticking together.
Without their friend group, Chris would surely die, as would Fi. Some characters completely rely on their friends for survival.
Ah, vacation… Everyone loves to get away, right? And camping with friends can be an excellent way to do so. There's nothing like a bit of peace and quiet and quality time in fresh air to really cut loose and relax, you know? In Tomorrow, When the War Began, Ellie couldn't agree more. Thing is, upon returning home, instead of getting a hug from her mom and a hot shower, Ellie finds her house empty, her parents missing, and all of her pets dead. Whoa.
Published in 1993, Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden is the tale of a motley crew of teens who find themselves pretty much the only people not captured during an enemy invasion. While they were off blissfully hanging in the woods, everyone else was rounded up and taken captive—so now it's up to Ellie and her friends to figure out what the heck to do. One part war drama, one part survival story, with a dash of romance in the mix, Tomorrow is all about one vacation gone horribly wrong.
The book is the first in a long series that details Ellie and her friends' struggle to make their way through war. If you're thinking this sounds pretty epic, then get this: The series has won a bunch of awards, including the KOALA, YABBA, WAYRBA and BILBY (trust us, these are all real—they're just Australian). So it isn't just a sprawling adventure tale, fancy literary types also think it's super good.
Love it or hate it (we hope your answer is hate it), it seems war is here to stay. Someone's always fighting someone else somewhere on this planet of ours, and for that reason alone, books about war are generally worth reading. That said, Tomorrow, When the War Began offers a unique take on war. Instead of hearing about it from a soldier who's signed up to fight, or a military strategist, or a family forced to flee their home, we hear about war from the perspective of a teenage girl who suddenly finds herself with no choice but to do her best to survive, all while trying to find her family.
Ellie finds herself in the middle of a war without any warning, and the only people she has to rely on are her teenage pals whom she's been camping with. These kids don't have weapons or uniforms—heck, they're not even sure what's happening, at first—but war waits for no one, so strategize and fight they must, banding together and doing their best, learning from their mistakes as they go along.
If you've ever wondered what war is like, Tomorrow offers an up-close and personal view. And if you haven't, well, maybe you should: Like we said, war doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon.