Mum is a rehab counselor for people with alcohol problems. Grandma Raynor lives next door. Dad is a driver for Elgas. Then there s me, fifteen, into a lot of different stuff. Music, surfing, animals, tennis, swimming, computer games. And my sister, Claire, and brother Toby. We re a typical Australian family. Barbeques, footy, gardening, school, Holden Commodores Then one day things change. April 26, Dad burns the toast, yells at Toby, thanks me for cleaning the cab of the truck, kisses Mum and Toby, then he s gone April 27, the war starts May 21, the city s in ruins, blackouts nearly all the time, food is hard to find September 13, Dad s hears news of a boat. We might get out of here yet September 28, it's just after dawn. A boat from their Navy has found us. We wave and cry and cheer. But then, slowly, we realise they are shouting at us, telling us to go away September 30, we are in a huge prison, with razor wire all around us. The government says there s no room for us. The Prime Minister says that if they let us out into the community it ll just encourage other illegal immigrants. The Deputy Prime Minister says we re not genuine refugees.
The Minister for Immigration says we should have gone through the proper procedures and applied to come here the prescribed way. Apparently there was a queue or a waiting list or something, and we were meant to find an Immigration Office and put our names down to be considered. I guess they re right. I feel terrible about the trouble we ve caused them.
John Marsden is Australia's most popular writer of young adult fiction. His books have sold more than a million copies worldwide and he has won, or been short-listed for, every major award for young adult literature in Australia, including the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year, the National Children's Book awards and numerous children's choice awards. The gripping war series, which began with Tomorrow When the War Began, has broken all sales records for young adult fiction and was recently released as a feature film.