John Marsden is a teacher and novelist born on September 27, 1950 in Victoria, Australia. As a teenager, he was often times alienated and bullied by his classmates, which took its toll by the time he reached college. After graduating from high school, he attended Sydney University to study law, but his disinterest in the subject and overwhelming sense of loneliness resulted in an intense battle with depression. Marsden dropped out and took on a series of odd jobs, including a pizza deliverer, a salesperson, and a security guard. However, after his first day of a teaching job, he knew that education was the ideal field for him. Marsden began working full-time at the Geelong Grammar School, but his students’ reluctance to read strongly disillusioned him. Thus, he commenced to write a young-adult novel, which ultimately came to fruition as his debut book entitled So Much To Tell You.
So Much to Tell You is the story of 14-year-old Marina, a girl who suffers an acid attack by her abusive father. It is structured so that the entire book is a series of diary entries and therefore the reader knows her inner thoughts and sentiments. Because of her accident, she is sent to a boarding school in the hopes that she will make friends and ultimately recover. However, Marina seems to make no progress at first. It is only with the help of her English teacher Mr. Lindell that she finds a purpose to live again. As the diaries progress, she opens up to her peers and feels less of a hatred toward her father.
Upon its publication, So Much To Tell You received many positive reviews for its heartfelt portrayal of a teenager who chooses forgiveness over hatred. Since then, John Marsden has written many more young-adult and picture books, including Tomorrow, When the War Began, Checkers, The Rabbits, and Prayer for the Twenty-First Century.