Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
The conflict that fractured Australia in Tomorrow, When the War Began is over, and narrator Ellie Linton (who also narrated Tomorrow) is trying to get back to the farmer's life. But before the first chapter of Marsden's launch title in the Ellie Chronicles is through, her parents are brutally killed by militia from the other side of the new border. From there, though, the story becomes less action-packed than fans of the series have come to expect. Ellie, now alone with her friend Homer and young, impetuous Gavin, faces financial hardship and the possible loss of the farm. She decides to keep the family business going, making an enemy of the executor of her parents' estate. Meanwhile, she learns that Homer is involved in a vigilante organization called Liberation that rescues prisoners of war. When a terrorist group captures Homer during a rescue operation, Ellie's trek to retrieve him marks one of the book's few action sequences. The Tomorrow series attracted a following largely for its fast-paced nature and realistic portrayal of life during wartime. With this new offshoot of the series, Marsden takes his heroine in a more introspective direction, devoting most of the book to birthing calves and farmer's auctions instead of gun battles. It's a poignant and powerful read, but may be a disappointment to those seeking an adrenaline rush. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-The first book in The Ellie Chronicles by popular Australian author John Marsden follows the story of Ellie Linton in the aftermath of a fictional war in Australia. In the opening scenes, she returns from a picnic to find that her parents were murdered as part of a guerrilla operation, probably in retaliation for her own activity in the war. Even though she is still in high school, Ellie is challenged to maintain the family farm despite financial problems, requirements to attend school, attempts to take over her farm, and the day-to-day frustrations of being a farmer. She is caring for Gavin, a deaf student, who presumably was orphaned by the war. Most of the Australian terms can be understood in context. Narrator Suzi Dougherty, with her appropriate native accent, becomes Ellie, telling her story realistically and with the right amount of emotion. Changing speed and tone frequently to reflect the different speech patterns of the characters makes the story more realistic and entertaining. Of necessity, Dougherty's reproduction of Gavin's speech is probably more clear than most deaf speech. This coming of age story will entertain today's teens.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book Review
(Middle School, High School) As was made clear in Marsden's Tomorrow series (Tomorrow, When the War Began et al.), war is hell. Apparently, peacetime isn't all that much better. This first book in the Ellie Chronicles opens with Ellie back home on the family farm following the war. But the farm is disconcertingly close to the new border, and readers don't have to wait around for Marsden's familiar breakneck action scenes to begin -- Ellie hears gunshots on the first page. Border raids are the new post-war danger, and, after an attack on the farm results in tragedy, Ellie becomes involved, rescuing various friends and neighbors from renegade soldiers. Readers held captive by the first series will welcome the return of Ellie and her few surviving cohorts. Copryight 2007 of The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Marsden's bestselling and award-winning Tomorrow series ended with the invasion of Australia resolved in a truce, and teen Ellie and her friends stopping their guerrilla fighting to return home. Ellie's story continues in a new series, which opens with Ellie's life in post-war Australia. It's surreal for Ellie, former outback rebel, to be an everyday teenager living with her parents and attending school in a country desperately striving for normalcy. Interestingly, the fragile status quo doesn't quite shatter when Ellie's parents are killed in a horrifying cross-border raid. Instead, Ellie is drawn into increasingly desperate measures to save her family farm and protect the near-feral orphan she adopted during the war. It's almost a relief when she turns from these everyday nightmares to the more comprehensible (to Ellie) terrors of underground combat. Ellie's grief is palpable and heartbreaking, and Marsden's always talented touch for constructing combat tensions is brilliantly balanced here with Ellie's need to live in a recovering world. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.