Annalisa's Reviews > Tomorrow, When the War Began

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
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Aug 04, 10

bookshelves: young-adult, speculative
Read from August 01 to 04, 2010

My main issue with this book is the voice. Marsden's writing is dry, non-descriptive, and oh so masculine, but his main character is a girl. He made her analytic with a bit of an ego to try and compensate for the guyness of her, but even girls who are more analytic than emotional are still girls. We still think like girls and act like girls. There is nothing girl about Ellie. I read her as a girl with a man's voice narrating her story because there was no way a girl would have those thought processes.

None of the girls are really girls, except for maybe Fi when we are being told about her, but when she opens her mouth, she's a little but of a guy too. There's a lot of that, of being told what the characters are instead of shown. I wish they had been better fleshed out and all eight of them hadn't been dumped on me in the first chapter with a run-down of their distinguishing character description. I didn't digest it all and by the end I was still having trouble separating them.

But there are two things that make up a novel: writing and story, and while the writing was only so-so, the story was worth it. When Ellie and her group of friends return from a camping trip, they find their town invaded and their families held captive. They must decide if they want to fight or return to their hideout they call "Hell" to wait out the war. It took a while to get into this book, not until they returned from their camping trip, but it took off after that. Some of the scenes could have been explored or explained more, which could have easily been solved if we were in Ellie's head more. For all the personal stuff she shares in this journal account, she's incredibly sparse with what she's thinking and feeling and her reactions as the story unfolds. But speaking of voice, I loved the Australian character and language in the book. I'm somewhat tempted to finish the series. I'm putting it in the maybe list.

Just one more complaint about the writing: it would be nice of Marsden used a comma every once in a while, correctly. Bad punctuation is somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. Okay, I'm done. Go read the story.
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Reading Progress

08/02/2010 page 34
11.0% "Recommendation for authors: if you don't get the opposite sex, stick to the gender you belong to."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Kat Kennedy (new) - added it

Kat Kennedy I can't wait to start reading this book!


message 2: by Kat Kennedy (new) - added it

Kat Kennedy LOL, yes, Annalisa - Australia is a country where men are MEN and women are... just different, trust me! :P


Annalisa "Australia is a country where men are MEN and women are... just different, trust me! :P"

Haha. When the tone is tied so closely to Ellie's voice, it's one and the same to me. Something was off about it. She could be hard and analytic, but she had to be a girl.

I forgot to mention in my review, my favorite quote was about the metric system and how inches were dead and nobody used them anymore. I've already returned the book so I can't get the quote, but it made me smile. I wish we would switch to the metric system.


message 4: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan It's ridiculous that we haven't switched to the metric system. Funny part of a quote.


message 5: by Annalisa (last edited Aug 06, 2010 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Annalisa It is ridiculous. Everyone else in the world has. Is it that hard to slowly switch everything out until this generation that grows up on the metric system are adults and by everything would be metric system? We certainly can be a stubborn nation. And is it really that hard to relearn keyboards that enable instead of prevent typing speed? Okay, I don't have a redesigned keyboard, but I think it would be cool to have one.


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