The Dead of the Night is the second in Marsden's young adult "Tomorrow" series, which follows a group of modern-day teenagers as they try to survive on their own after Australia has undergone a military invasion. The kids' story is told through Ellie's eyes, who is keeping a journal of their activities.
The teens have set up camp in a remote valley and have become adept at coming out of the bush to raid the abandoned houses and farms for supplies and to gather information about the war and their families. They want to do more than just survive, however, and they work together to plan and try to execute guerrilla attacks on the enemy.
Ellie can barely remember what it was like to be a normal teenager, whose biggest concerns were doing her chores and hoping to get into college. What happens to children when they are forced to kill or be killed? When their dependency on each other is all they have? Each person in the group must face the same horrors, but each reacts to and is changed by events in unique ways.
One of the strong points of this series is that the kids start out as ordinary high-schoolers. As they confront the facts of their new world, they cry, they're frightened, they fall apart, and they make mistakes. They're scared of who they are becoming, and they want to be under the shelter of adults. They also discover their strengths, draw on their resourcefulness, and learn to cooperate. It's not surprising that their ideas of war and how to fight back are influenced by things they've seen in the movies or read in books.
The series is available on audio. Suzi Doughtery does an excellent job as narrator, convincingly portraying the personality of the teenage Ellie.
I read this book as part of two challenges: 9 Books for 2009 (category = Distance) and What's in a Name 2 (category = Time of Day). Click the links in the list below for more information about the challenges and to see what other participants are reading.
Published by Scholastic, 2006
Challenges: 9 Books for 2009; What's in a Name 2