Oh goodness, this may be the toughest decision so far. How to choose just one book that I’ve read throughout my entire life as the book I enjoyed most of all? I contemplated choosing a favourite from my childhood – the likes of Where The Wild Things Are or Matilda, but decided against it. I could well write about Harry Potter or Pride and Prejudice or 1984 (as you can probably tell, I read a big variety of things). Just recently, I devoured the Hunger Games series. But, just because I have to choose SOMETHING from my wide experience of reading, I have decided to write about another series I completely inhaled.
The Tomorrow books are a series by Australian authour John Marsden, named after the first book, Tomorrow, When the War Began. The general premise? A group of teenagers from a small country town go on a camping trip in the Australian bush, away from civilisation in a little clearing known affectionately as ‘Hell’. While they are away, Australia is invaded and war is declared. The teens return to their town to find it destroyed, under constant surveillance by enemy forces; and all their families and friends taken prisoner at the local Showgrounds. They are then forced to become ‘citizen soldiers’ in order to protect themselves, and go about causing as much damage to the invading forces as possible.
The main characters are the group of teens, whose numbers fluctuate throughout the series, but the story focuses on and is told by Ellie Linton. Ellie is a country girl, born and raised on the family farm. She is practical and hardworking, but like the rest of the characters, has to face some terrible heartbreak throughout the series.
The Tomorrow series is touted as a ‘coming of age’ story. These young people are forced to mature beyond their years in a matter of days, facing problems they never could have dreamed of and dealing with situations far beyond their control. They learn the importance of loyalty and love, as well as bravery and quick thinking, and despite their age become highly efficient guerilla soldiers.
When this series was recommended and leant to me, I finished all seven books in a matter of days. The second I picked them up, I couldn’t put them down until I had finished – and then experienced the ironic disappointment of having nothing more to read. They pulled me in not just through the unique and captivating story line, but through the strong relatability of the characters. Despite the fact that Ellie and co. were experiencing situations I could never imagine, their recounts of their experiences and the problems they face were, on a basic level, very easy to relate to. I felt deep sympathy and indeed empathy for the teens. Their losses were my losses, their triumphs were my triumphs.
This is, I believe, the sign of an excellent book and testament to John Marsden’s writing. I have since re-read the series and enjoyed them just as much, recommended them to family and friends and last year, went along to see the movie adaptation of the first book.
The Tomorrow series presented me with characters and a storyline that will stay with me for a very long time, and that is why I have chosen to write about it as my Favourite Book.