The first of these similarities is the recurrent theme of being confined. In many of his novels, especially ones for older readers, this occurs. For example, Letters From The Inside dealt with a person in jail, Checkers was set inside a psychiatric hospital, and both So Much To Tell You and The Great Gatenby were set inside a boarding school. Perhaps one of the reasons why John Marsden uses this theme of being confined so often is that it allows for greater emotional insight into the characters. It would be perfectly natural for someone in a condition similar to that of those in John Marsden’s novels, to spend a lot of time reflecting on themselves personally, and analysing their behaviour and the behaviour of the people around them.
John Marsden also writes from the viewpoint of females very often, and always writes in the first person. Books such as Letters From The Inside, The “Tomorrow” Series, Winter, So Much To Tell You and it’s sequel Take My Word For It are all written through the eyes of a female. This is unusual considering the fact that John Marsden is a male author. This may be because it would seem more natural for a female to be discussing their emotions, as it is the books written from a female viewpoint that deal with emotions more. Books written by John Marsden from the viewpoint of a male often do not have the same depth and degree of emotional insight in them.
Every book written by John Marsden deals with personal change in some way. Even in the books that are written for younger readers, such as Looking For Trouble, the main characters are considerably different at the end than at the beginning. This helps to make the book more interesting, as the reader is intrigued by the changes that occur to the reader. In some books, such as So Much To Tell You and The Journey, the change is more obvious, where the story is based around the main characters personal journey. In other books, however, such as The “Tomorrow” Series, the change is more subtle, and John Marsden spends more time concentrating on the suspense and action than in other novels, allowing less time to concentrate on personal change. However, even in these types of books, the main characters change dramatically from the beginning to the end.
Another common theme throughout many of John Marsden’s books, is that they are books that concentrate mainly on emotion, without a great deal of action occurring in them. Almost all of his books are journals, or people writing, and the quality that makes these books so interesting is hearing the main characters thoughts. Even books such as Dear Miffy, where Tony writes letters recounting his past, there is not a lot of action or exciting parts. The book is interesting because of the emotions and feelings in what Tony says. The “Tomorrow” Series are the novels by John Marsden that have the most amount of action in them, and they also have a large amount of emotion in them. Particularly the last two books, where the main characters spend a lot of time reflecting on their situation, and their feelings about it.
John Marsden writes in a very simple language as well, and this style can be seen in all of John Marsden’s books. He refrains from using too many adjectives, and uses imagery to convey the situations around him. John Marsden also writes this in his book Everything I Know About Writing, where the main point that he makes is not to use too many adjectives, and to “Show,