Animorphs – by K.A. Applegate
Ah, Animorphs. Perhaps one of the greatest influences of my early teens. I devoured these books like I needed them to live. For five years of my life—five very impressionable years—from age 10 to age 15, Animorphs was my life. I lived and breathed Animorphs. I doodled and daydreamed Animorphs. I knew the characters so well and loved them so dearly that they were like my best friends. When the series ended, its effect on me continued. It has shaped the way I look at the world. And now, ten years later, it is being rereleased. Brand new editions of the first two books have already hit the shelves, complete with shiny new covers, ready to be discovered by a new generation.
In a nutshell, Animorphs is about a group of kids who turn into animals and fight aliens. This is intrinsically cool. I mean, they can turn into any animal they can touch. Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to turn into a hawk or a cat or horse? So there’s all the fun of that mixed with the very serious danger of fighting an alien invasion. And this isn’t the kind of invasion you can just throw nukes at or send an army against. This is the kind you don’t even know is happening until it’s too late. The Yeerks are parasitic slugs. They crawl into your head through your ear and take over your brain. They control every movement and have access to all your memories, so your family and friends never notice anything’s changed. Anyone could be controlled by a Yeerk, so Jake, Cassie, Rachel, Marco, and Tobias can’t trust anyone and they are Earth’s only defense.
The rereleased versions of the first two books have been given minor updates: a couple of inconsistencies have been fixed and some outdated references have been changed to more generic terms (as Sega to “system” or CDs to “music” or “albums”). The important stuff remains unchanged, however—fast-paced, exciting plots, wonderful, three-dimensional characters, humor, danger, and emotional resonance. These books took hold of my heart fifteen years ago and have yet to let go. Here’s hoping they do the same to yours.