Cover image for Darkness, be my friend
Darkness, be my friend
Marsden, John, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Physical Description:
269 pages] ; 22 cm
As survivors of an enemy invasion of their homeland, Ellie and her friends return to Australia as guides for soldiers from New Zealand who plan an attack on the Wirrawee airfield.
General Note:
Sequel to: A killing frost.
Reading Level:
770 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.6 12.0 31232.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.9 18 Quiz: 22693 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult

On Order



Ellie and her friends had been rescued. Airlifted out of their own country to the safe haven of New Zealand, they'd arrived burnt and injured and shocked, with broken bones, and scars inside and out. They did not want to go back. But five months later the war is not over, the nightmares continue, and there are two compelling reasons for them to return: a planned sabotage of the air base in Wirrawee and, most important, the families they left behind. In this most recent episode of the tale begun in Tomorrow, When the War Began and continued in The Dead of Night and A Killing Frost, John Marsden takes us back to Hell, the outpost for a group of teens in a war-ravaged country. "Fans of this powerful series will not look forward to an early armistice." (The Bulletin)

Author Notes

John Marsden was born in Victoria, Australia in 1950. He was working as a teacher when his first book, So Much to Tell You, was published in 1987. His other works include the Tomorrow series and Ellie chronicles. He bought an 850-acre property just outside Melbourne, Australia where he ran writers' courses and camps for eight years. In 2006, he opened a school there called Candlebark.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 9^-12. The fourth in the series that includes Tomorrow, When the War Began (1995), this sequel to A Killing Frost (1998) has Ellie, Fi, and their other teenage combat companions being pulled from a safe refuge in New Zealand and returning to their hometown in Australia for another perilous mission. Consistently intriguing and only occasionally gruesome, the battles they face develop credibly and include enough surprises to keep readers turning the pages. With a tone that suggests a natural maturity and shades of cynicism resulting from her hardships, Ellie is a solid narrator whose no-nonsense approach to love, war, and friendship makes her an unusual and impressive female protagonist. A personalized war novel that is apocalyptic yet open-ended enough for another sequel, Darkness benefits from not being limited to fitting into any one genre, but satisfactorily including aspects of several.Roger Leslie

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-The fourth volume of Marsden's saga of teenage survival and defense of their homeland during war continues the tale at its customary breakneck pace. In the previous books, Ellie and her continually dwindling troop of friends arrived home from a week's camping in the bush to discover that their small town-and, seemingly, all of Australia-has been overtaken by an unnamed enemy army. This latest volume takes up the tale as Ellie and her four remaining buddies leave the safety of New Zealand to return to their old campsite, planning to infiltrate the enemy-held town of Wirrawee under the protection of New Zealand soldiers. The soldiers soon disappear, however, leaving the teens once again on their own. In this middle book of the tale-which runs to seven titles in Australia-the teens learn the fates of their families and manage to survive without further losses. There are hair-raising adventures aplenty, including a break-in at the general store that goes awry, as well as Ellie's unintentional mortal dispatch of an enemy officer. As with previous titles, the ending leaves readers hanging in wait for the succeeding books. The adventures here are finely wrought and enough new background detail is supplied to keep loyal followers of the series engaged in the characters' development. However, this isn't a story to approach midstream. It needs to be read from the beginning, and teens will want to continue once they have done that, for Marsden's style is as surefooted as his independent band of teens.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.