Tomorrow When the War Began

Spoiler Alert: This text is studied in Year 9 English (CCAS & MC)

Tomorrow When the War Began - John Marsden

“Ellie and her friends leave home one quiet morning, wave goodbye to their parents, and head up into the hills to camp out for a while; seven teenagers filling in time during school holidays.
The world is about the change forever.
Their lives will never be the same again.
Would you fight? Would you give up everything? Would you sacrifice even life itself?”

A lot of Australians I know say that this is the first book they ever read and enjoyed, or that this series is what got them onto reading, or that to this day this series marks the only books they’ve ever read all the way through! I think that says a lot. When Marsden wrote these books, he also began to create a heritage of great Australian teen fiction. The setting and characters are so relatable and true to Aussie form, not only that but the questions and issues that he confronts head on were and are real questions and issues for real Australians now. It’s got action, suspense and of course a bit of romance, as the reality of teenage life cannot be extinguished, not even by a war. An exceptional story about courage, loyalty, heroism, friendship, love, war and all that makes us human.

Any high school reader. 4 stars.

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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

 North America has been been through some kind of apocolypse and is now split into 12 districts, all of which depend on and pledge their allegience to The Capitol. Every year, this oppresive regime holds The Hunger Games and requires each district to select a boy and a girl through a lottery to participate and fight to the death. Oh yah, and the whole thing is televised for everyone to see. The trilogy is written from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen, a teenager navigating the violent political landscape of her world, not to mention all the normal teenage angst over boys and finding her true sense of identity.

This was the first teen fiction that I had read in a long time, and I’ll be honest, my expectations were not that high. The synopsis on the back of the book didn’t help much either, something about kids having to fight eachother to the death. Dark.
Or so I thought. I ended up reading the entire trilogy in less than 2 weeks. There were characters that I loved, and those that drove me nuts – a good sign. As a result, the love-triangle, teenage romance was engaging. The lovey-dovey stuff is well balanced, however, with enough action, suspense and violence to keep any guy reading.  It also has a bit of depth, making some pointed social comment through a post-apocalytpic world. 

Recommended for ages 13 and up, both guys and girls.  I loved this series, an absolute page turner, but I’m not holding my breath on the movie. 
As far as teen fiction goes:                                                     4 stars (maybe even 4 1/2).