The Dead of the Night
by James Marsden
I lovelovelove this series.
Summary: When their country is invaded and their families are taken, eight high school teenagers band together to fight.
Seventeen-year-old Ellie and her friends have survived the invasion, but two of their band are captured: Kevin is imprisoned and Corrie is alive, but in a coma.
Homer and Ellie are determined to get them back and to continue their campaign against the enemy. They discover that there are other rebels out there, fighting the invaders - but who are they and can they be trusted? As the pressure grows, can Ellie work out her conflicted feelings for the brilliant, arrogant Homer and the strong, gentle Lee?
As war rages, and the enemy closes in, Ellie and her friends must once again fight for their lives... but how many of their band will be left?
The characters are awesome. They're easy to love because they're so raw and real and they screw up, they argue, they lose their tempers and have immature and weak moments but then they have moments of brilliance and bravery too... and in a situation like they're in, that's how I imagine real teenagers would be; changed but the same, strong and weak, the best and the worst versions of themselves. And the book shows all of that.
I think that's why I love this series so much. Of all the invasion/dystopian/post-apocalyptic/war type stories that I've read where something goes horribly wrong with the world/a country, this is the one that feels the most real and the least far fetched in almost every way, from the characters to idea to the execution of it.
I love the writing too. I'm not usually a fan of those almost journal-ish books where the character is writing down what happened and the reader is aware of that, but it's done really well here and Ellie is brutally honest in her writing, she doesn't sugarcoat the bad things whether they're about herself or her friends and when I finished reading, there was loads of little pieces of paper to mark pages with quotes I like in the book.
I don't know what it is about Australian YA, but of all the YA books I've read, the Australian ones always stand out somehow as being unique and awesome and John Marsden is no exception.
If you haven't read this series yet, you should check it out. :)