Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Invading the Outback
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A group of teens goes camping in the Australian bush for a weekend, and upon their return everyone they know has disappeared.
When Ellie and her friends return after a week of camping, they find that their families are missing and their empty town is being patrolled by strangers with machine guns. The teens are independent and capable (Ellie's family raises sheep and cattle, and her greatest contribution to the group's survival is being able to drive just about any kind of vehicle) and they quickly understand the stakes and make a plan to stay free and strike back.
Ellie realizes that she and the people she's known for most of her life are capable of more than they ever imagined. The jokester Homer becomes a capable leader, her friend Robyn proves heroic when she is most needed, and Ellie herself discovers that under pressure she has the necessary courage.
There are tense moments, romantic ones, and a few philosophical interludes that frankly bugged me (I would be considerably less understanding of a people who staged a violent invasion aimed at stealing my homeland, and less worried about killing people who tried to kill me - but maybe I've seen Red Dawn too often). Worst of all, there are sequels, which means I'm going to have to read six more books to find out what happens next!
I listened to this on audiobook, and the narrator was an Australian woman whose accent was great to listen to, and whose voice acting embodied Ellie just right.
For anyone who loved Z is for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien (namechecked by the teens of the book) or Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. The first of the Tomorrow series.