The Dead of Night by John Marsden
Genre: YA Fiction
Series: #2 in the Tomorrow series
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 278
Support Your Local Library Challenge #45

This is a continuation of the story begun in Tomorrow When the War Began. In the first book, Australia is invaded while a group of teenagers is on a camping trip out in the bush. They return home to discover that their families have been imprisoned and end up living out in the bush on their own while doing what they can to make things difficult for the invading army.

This book picks up a few weeks after the initial invasion. The groups of kids is still holed up in their remote camp, but getting fed up with not knowing what is going on with their friends who had to return to their hometown for medical treatment. They need information, supplies and to find out if there are any other groups like theirs who are taking a stand or trying to fight back.

Between sneaking into their enemy held hometown and venturing further into the bush to look for signs of organized resistance is the story of a group of kids struggling with having their lived turned upside down. They struggle with figuring out what is the right thing to do and along the way find themselves questioning their values. The kids alternate between bravely taking action and wishing there were adults around they could defer to and rely upon.

We didn’t know if we were doing the right thing, ever. We didn’t know anything. We were just ordinary teenagers, so ordinary we were boring. Overnight they’d pulled the roof off our lives. And after they pulled off the roof they’d come in and torn down the curtains, ripped up the furniture, burnt the house and thrown us into the night, where we’d been forced to run and hide and live like wild animals. We had no foundations, and we had no secure walls around our lives any more. We were living in a strange long nightmare, where we had to make our own rules, invent new values, stumble around blindly, hoping we weren’t making too many mistakes.

Narrated by Ellie, a completely believable teenager that Marsden has written well, this story is a bit slow in the middle, but picks up with some great tension in the final third.

It’s very much another episode in an ongoing story. I’m not sure the book stands on its own, but in conjunction with the previous book, it works. I believe this series is more like an episodic tale in the vein of a TV drama show. I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first one, but will definitely continue with the series. I love it when they blow stuff up!

Rating 3.5/5