John Marsden ensnares our mind in rivers of flowing words, making it a classic novel and a book for teens at the same time. It describes the stages of adolescence and childhood that we all go through, but were too embarrassed to admit we did. It offers subtle hints of advice in its pages, making us all the more eager to keep reading. The book shows us life from a different perspective, making us think, “What would I do if this happened to me?” What would you do if someone invaded your country, and left you with only the clothes on your back and some camping gear? What would you do if someone shot your best friend in the back and you never saw her again, and had to explain to her parents? If you thought your mum and dad were dead and friends dying around you, you had nothing to help anyone, and the only way you could try to stay alive was by killing or be killed? This book shows that there aren't always choices in life, and that if there are, the right one is most often the hardest.
The eight teenagers in this novel have to do things that most people wouldn't think possible. From their daring attitudes to crying in the bush, each faces issues just as difficult as the others. They have to become tough, independent, and totally trusting. There's no-one to tell them what to do, and if they make a mistake, its death or capture. No adults to fuss over them like little children, to wrap blankets around them and send them to bed. The only thing they can do is flee, normally into the roughest and most dangerous territory they can find. Anywhere else and they enemy finds them. They've seen their friends die at the enemies hand's, and they're lethal. Not senseless, but it’s the story of the wolf and the hen. They trick you, they run, you die. Causing explosions that would crackk the Richters scale could get anyone else a life sentence, a death penalty and a huge chat with the police. But these soldiers aren't like your friendly policemen. If they find you doing something wrong, or even find you, they'll press their rifle against your heart and pull the trigger. End of story, your dead.
What else can possibly happen to them? They've broken every law and rule they know into a million pieces, defied bad luck and impossible odds and have survived through sickness and trauma. Death and worse have run straight at them, the bull charging at the red cape. They've run the other way, and there's no room for weakness. What happened to Corrie? Where is Kevin? Is Major Harvey still alive? What is going on with Ellie and Lee? Is Fee cracking up? Will Homer still be alive after the attack on Cobblers Bay? Robyn, always religious, will she soon be joining her beloved God? Don't ask me, read the book to find out.Reviewed by Shannon - aged 13