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A Killing Frost (Tomorrow Series #3)
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A Killing Frost (Tomorrow Series #3)

4.4 30
by John Marsden

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Five desperate teens resort to terrorist tactics in this frighteningly realistic follow-up to Tomorrow, When the War Began and The Dead of Night.

And then there were five....

It has been six long months since Ellie and her friends returned home from a camping trip to find their families and friends imprisoned by an enemy that threatens to


Five desperate teens resort to terrorist tactics in this frighteningly realistic follow-up to Tomorrow, When the War Began and The Dead of Night.

And then there were five....

It has been six long months since Ellie and her friends returned home from a camping trip to find their families and friends imprisoned by an enemy that threatens to steal Australia's freedom. Only they can stop this. Like seasoned soldiers, their methods have become extreme, even involving terrorism.

When she's not gathering food and supplies or running like prey to survive, Ellie wonders at what they've become: Are they now ruthless terrorists? The more involved and vicious it gets, the higher the stakes are raised. Everyone is fighting for their lives.

Editorial Reviews

Gregory Maguire
John Marsden's trilogy about a band of teen-age terrorists resisting the annexation of Australia by a foreign army is compulsively readable.
NY Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The trilogy about Australia under siege that started with Tomorrow, When the War Began comes to a thrill-a-minute conclusion as the teen heroes continue their guerrilla tactics against totalitarian foes. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA - Alice F. Stern
This sequel to Tomorrow, When the War Began (Houghton, 1995/VOYA August 1995) and The Dead of Night (Houghton, 1997/VOYA February 1998) continues the adventures of Ellie and her friends, a group of Australian teenagers trying to survive and fight back after their country has been invaded. As in the other two novels, Ellie must face the elements as well as fear, hunger, and injury. In this novel she and her friends manage to blow up an enemy ship and destroy an important port. Eventually they are captured and imprisoned. Ellie and Homer are sentenced to death, but the prison is bombed and they and the others escape before the sentence can be carried out. New Zealanders rescue the survivors and take them to safety and convalescence. The quotation on the back of the book deals with the group entering the maximum-security prison. This does not take place until page 218 of 288, which is unfortunate because it is the most interesting part of the novel. The preceding pages are more of what was in the two earlier books, only less fresh and with less emotion. Once again, despite the rescue, there is little closure to the plot. What happens to Australia? Will the kids ever see their families again? To go through three books only to end up here is a disappointment. If your collection has the other two books in the series you will probably want this one, too. YAs who have read the first two and are interested in more of the same may pick it up; however, there would not be much point to recommending this book to someone who has not read-or loved-the first two. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P J S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
First published in Australia, this suspenseful series was reviewed extensively in KLIATT when released in the US in hardcover editions and also as audiobooks. Now, the volumes are available as trade paperbacks, and this is the chance for all YA libraries to get copies. The basic plot of the series is that a group of high school friends in Australia are away on a camping trip when their country is attacked and terrorized by an unnamed enemy. They become an insurgency group, doing whatever they can do to make things difficult for the occupying forces. Their parents and families have been placed in concentration camps, demoralized. The teenagers, making use of their intimate knowledge of their own hometown, stage raids and then retreat to the outback to regroup. The narrator is Ellie, who is filled with rage sometimes and remorse at other times. She is a realist, knowing that they have to do what they are doing if they expect to get their homeland back. All kinds of moral issues are raised. Also compelling are their feelings about each another. This represents the best of YA literature—exciting, honest, gripping. (Look for the final two books in the series to be released shortly—there are seven in all.)
Children's Literature - Leslie Julian
What would you do if your country had been taken over by foreign attackers, your family and most of your countrymen captured-all, that is, except you? It is a story of hiding, survival, plotting, and fighting back. Using the outback brush as their cover and sheer fear as their weapons, Ellie and her four friends take on animal-like if not soldier-like qualities, sabotaging, bombing, and killing. At one point, Ellie and Homer smuggle themselves and tons of homemade explosives into a ship's container, destroying the enemy fleet and setting in motion a drastic chase for their capture. They have carried forth more destruction to the enemy than their allies, the New Zealand Kiwis. Not until they are captured are the Kiwis, with help from American weapons, able to bomb the prison and facilitate the teens' escape and rescue. It is a gripping story as much as it is a disturbing and graphic one.
School Library Journal
This is the third installment of the saga begun in "Tomorrow, When the War Began" (1995) and continued in "The Dead of Night" (1997). Six months have now passed since an invading army attacked Australia. Ellie and her band of teenage guerrilla fighters are rapidly becoming harder, more jaded, less inhibited. Their plan this time is to destroy the port at Cobbler's Bay, a strategic harbor for the enemy. Throughout most of the book, the young freedom fighters outwit the bad guys and manage to keep just one step ahead of them. Alas, they are finally captured and taken to a maximum-security prison. There they are certain to be sentenced to death for their activities. Good prevails in the end, however. Well, sort of. War is not neat and tidy, and along the way there is a personal tragedy for Ellie's gang. This sequel is less taut, less compelling, and grimmer than the other books, but it is still an action-packed, enjoyable read. Readers will be lost, however, if they have not been introduced to the characters in the earlier books. Furthermore, the Australian slang (even with the help of a glossary) can be daunting. As in the other titles, Marsden poses several questionsabout right and wrong, the nature of evil, and what human beings are capable of enduring under extreme circumstances. Roxanne Burg, Thousand Oaks Library, CA
Horn Book Magazine
Fans of John Marsden's "Tomorrow, When the War Began" and "The Dead of Night" won't be disappointed by this third novel about a group of Aussie teens on the lam after enemy invaders take over their country. This time, Ellie and company carry out a dramatic rescue, build a bomb to destroy a huge ship, and make radio contact with the New Zealand military before being caught, imprisoned, and interrogated by their old pal, Major Harvey. When help arrives and the friends are finally rescued, they're more numb than relieved-they're alive only because of a horrifying, heroic self-sacrifice made by one of their own. As carefully as the teenagers mix ammonium nitrate and diesel, Marsden combines suspense and action with Ellie's thoughtful self-examination and loads of detailed description (in particular, the author has clearly done his research on prisoner psychology and post-traumatic stress). Without the details to ground it and make it deadly realistic, the story would have been like an action-adventure film-riveting but forgettable. Readers won't find Ellie's story all that easy to forget.
Kirkus Reviews
Marsden offers an unflinching look at living in war-torn Australia in a follow-up to "Tomorrow, When the War Began" (1995) and "The Dead of Night" (1997). For Ellie, the tough and likable teenage narrator of the tale, life has become a battle ever since the nameless invading army swept across Australia's shores, locking her family, her neighbors, her entire town into prison camps, and murdering those who attempted to resist. With her mates, Ellie acts out what may be the ultimate teenage fantasy, living in the woods and blowing up things to thwart the enemy. Marsden presents Ellie's plight realistically, and so the starvation, sickness, and death that are part of every war are also depicted to maximum dramatic effect. While some adults will shrink from the discussions on making homemade bombs, Marsden's characters risk their lives to shut down one of the invader's key sea ports. The group succeeds, but they are subsequently captured and interrogated; they escape, but one of their fellows sacrifices herself with a hand grenade to make that escape possible. The final scene, in which the young guerrillas are celebrated as the war rages on, casts an appropriately ambiguous ending for this exemplary depiction of a true living hell.

From the Publisher
“Marsden crafts one of the most exciting and harrowing sabotage sequences in YA literature...One cannot help but be struck by the delight and respect that Marsden holds for teenagers.” Booklist, ALA, Boxed Review

"The trilogy about Australia under siege that started with Tomorrow, When the War Began comes to a thrill-a-minute conclusion as the teen heroes continue their guerrilla tactics against totalitarian foes." Publishers Weekly

"An action-packed, enjoyable read." School Library Journal

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Tomorrow Series , #3
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Sometimes I think I'd rather be frightened than bored. At least when you're frightened you know you're alive. Energy pumps through your body so hard that it overflows as sweat. Your heart--your heart that does the pumping--bangs away in your chest like an old windmill on a stormy night. There's no room for anything else. You forget that you're tired or cold or hungry. You forget your banged-up knee and your aching tooth. You forget the past, and you forget that there's such a thing as the future.

I'm an expert on fear now. I think I've felt every strong feeling there is: love, hate, jealousy, rage. But fear's the greatest of them all. Nothing reaches inside you and grabs you by the guts the way fear does. Nothing else possesses you like that. It's a kind of illness, a fever that takes you over.

I've got my tricks for holding fear at bay. We all have, I know. And they work in their own ways, some of the time. One of my tricks is to think of jokes that people have told me over the years. Another's the one Homer taught me. It sounds simple enough. It's to keep saying to yourself: "I refuse to think fear. I will think strong. I will think brave."

It helps for mild fear; it's not so good for panic. When true fear sweeps in, when panic knocks down your walls, no defence can keep it out.

The last two weeks I spent in Hell were solid boredom; the kind of time you long for when you're terrified; the kind of time you hate when it's happening. Maybe I was a fear junkie by then, though, because I spent a lot of time lying around thinking of dangerous things we could have done, wild attacks we could have made.

These days I don't know whether I'm murderous,suicidal, addicted to panic, or addicted to boredom.

I wonder what happened to the people who were in the world wars, after the fighting was over? They were mostly men in those wars, but there were plenty of women too. They weren't necessarily soldiers, but you didn't have to be a soldier to be affected by it all. Did they press their "Off" buttons on the day peace was declared? Can anyone do that? I know I can't do it. I seem to be getting used to the way my life's gone lately, from total frenzy to total nothing. But I often dream of the regularity of my old life. During school terms my days always started the same way: I'd have breakfast, cut my lunch, pack my schoolbag and kiss Mum goodbye. Dad'd usually be out in the paddocks already, but some days I'd get up early to have breakfast with him. Other days when I got up at my normal time he'd still be in the kitchen, toasting his backside against the Aga.

For years--as soon as I was big enough for my feet to reach the pedals of a car--I'd driven myself to the bus. Kids living on properties can get a special license to drive to school buses, but we never bothered with that. Dad thought it was just another stupid bureaucratic rule. From our house it's about four k's to the gate on Providence Gully Road. It's not our front gate, but it's the only one on the school bus route. Like most people we had a "paddock basher"--an unregistered bomb--mainly for kids to use, or for stock work. Ours was a Datsun 120Y that Dad bought for eighty bucks at a clearing sale. Usually I took that, but if it wasn't going properly, or if Dad wanted it for something else, I'd take the Land Rover, or a motorbike. Whichever it was, I'd leave it sitting under a tree all day while I was at school and I'd pick it up again when I got off the bus.

School was OK and I enjoyed being with my friends--the social life, the goss, the talking about guys--but, like most rural kids, living on a farm took up as much energy and time and interest as school did. I'm not sure if that's the same for city kids--sometimes I get the feeling that school's more important for them. Oh, it's important for us too, of course, especially nowadays when everyone's so worried that they won't be able to make a living on the land, won't be able to take over their parents' places the way they used to assume they would. Every country kid these days has to think about setting up in some other work.

What am I talking about? For a few minutes there I was back in peacetime when our biggest worry was getting a job. Crazy. Now those dreams of becoming brain surgeons, chefs, hairdressers and barristers have gone up in smoke. Smoke that smells of gunpowder The dreams now were simply of staying alive. It's what Mr Kassar, our Drama teacher, would call "a different perspective."

It's nearly six months since our country was invaded. We'd lived in a war zone since January, and now it's July. So short a time, so long a time. They came swarming across the land, like locusts, like mice, like Patterson's Curse. We should have been used to plagues in our country but this was the most swift, sudden and successful plague ever. They were too cunning, too fierce, too well-organised. The more I've learnt about them, the more I can see that they must have been planning it for years. For instance, the way they used different tactics in different places. They didn't bother with isolated communities, or the Outback, or scattered farms, except in places like Wirrawee, my home town. They had to secure Wirrawee because it's on the road from Cobbler's Bay, and they needed Cobbler's Bay because it's such a great deep-water harbour.

But Wirrawee was easy enough for them. They timed the invasion for Commemoration Day, when the whole country's on holiday. In Wirrawee that means Show Day, so all they had to do was grab the Showground and they had ninety per cent of the population. But to take the big towns and cities they needed a bit more imagination. Mostly they used hostages, and for hostages mostly they used children. Their strategy was to make things happen so fast that there was no time for anyone to think straight, no time to consider. At the slightest delay they started blowing things up, killing people. It worked. Those political rats, our leaders, the people who'd spent every day of peacetime telling us how great they were and how we should vote for them, felt the water of the drowning country lapping at their ankles. They took off for Washington, leaving chaos and darkness behind.

Yes, it was cunning, it was brutal, it was successful.

And because of them--or because of our own apathy and selfishness--our peacetime ambitions had been vaporised, and we suddenly found ourselves living lives of fear and boredom.

Meet the Author

John Marsden’s highly praised series concludes in this thrilling installment that will bring readers to the edge of their seats and keep them there until the last page is turned. John Marsden is one of Australia’s best-known writers for young adults. His work has received critical acclaim and has earned a cultlike following worldwide. The popular Tomorrow series has been translated into seven languages and has sold over one million copies in Australia alone.

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Killing Frost 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book on earth!! the way John Marsden captures u is amazing!! You will love this book no matter what!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was awesome. I read the whole book in a day. It was one of those books that grabs you and pulls you into the story like you are there with Ellie and her friends. I laughed and cried with Ellie, not many books can make me do that. The author is a genius!! The other books fromt he series are the same way. AWESOME!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
The Killing Frost is probably the most intense and tragic book in the Tomorrow When the War Began Series. It opens with all of the characters really struggling to come to terms with their own inner demons. Instead of drawing together, though, they begin sniping at each other. The stress takes its toll on this group of teens in a very realistic fashion. Once again, not content to sit around and let the enemy run amok in their country, they decide to strike back. They choose a target that is the most dangerous to date, but also far more strategic . Which means things are going to go horribly, horribly wrong. Plot John Marsden tells a gripping tale that keeps us on the edge of our seats. This story moves along at a faster pace than either of the two previous books and almost never lets up. As a result, I finished it in just three days – it was impossible to put down. While the plot careens along, Marsden doesn’t let up on his characters either. They have emotional as well as physical challenges that test not only themselves, but the bonds of their friendship. They might be in this war together, but when it comes right down to it, it’s the character you least expect that stands up and does what needs to be done. Characters The characters are all so incredibly real, it’s hard to remember they’re all just figments of our imaginations. I love how the author forces them to deal with the realities of the world they live in, rather than just existing alongside those realities. These are teens, afterall, and believably so. Even though they perform a number of truly selfless acts, they can’t escape the fact that at their ages, so much of their world revolves around them. Marsden crafts them beautifully so that we never forget this about them. Bottom Line A Killing Frost is a thrill-ride from the opening pages. It takes us on a heart-pounding journey through a fictional world we’d never want to live in, and yet we’re somehow better for having read about it.
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graysmenagerie More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie and noticed that is was based on a book, so I came to B&N to look for the nook books and was excited to see that it was a series of 7. This is supposed to be a youth/teen book, but they did not write them this way when I was young. I recommend that parents glance through these books to be sure they think that their child can handle the "war time" theme. But anyway, i loved the series and really was sad when it was over!! In it's own way, this is educational on survival that unfortunately may be needed one day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of typo's. I love the series, but there are a lot of mis-spellings and mistakes. Where are the editors?! If I were John Marsden, I'd be pretty upset.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this the same as tomorro series #1
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Had a great time with this book. Even though it may have been a little far fetched as to the luck of the main characters, it was at the same time, possible. John Marsden did have you wondering the fate of the characters and also how they would evolve. Extremely fun and kept you wanting to read more.
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