In K.A. Applegate’s first Animorphs book — The Invasion — sets up the basic information for the series. In the 184 pages, 27 chapter, easy and fun book to read, we learn a fair amount about our five protagonists: Jake, Cassie, Marco, Rachel, and Tobias.
Animorphs: The Invasion is narrated by Jake. Jake starts out with telling us that all he can tell us his is first name, the first names of his other friends, and that’s it for personal information. We don’t know what town they live. But we do know that they are in middle school.
Jake also uses a past tense tone in the first chapter, even though he put words in past tense, when he first starts out. But as he continues, he moves into a present tense tone as we get into the thick of things about Andalites, Yeerks, and the very basic set up the Andalites verse the Yeerks war that has traveled from a distant planet to right here on Earth.
We also learn that these five 13 or 14 year-olds are giving the ability to morph into animals. Quickly, we learn how Tobias is the only one that is completely fine with everything, while Jake and Marco both just want this to be a nightmare. There really isn’t much reveled about how the two girls react on Friday night when the five of them head back home through the abandoned construction site that Jake, as far as we are told, is the only one that isn’t allowed to walk through there.
As the story unfolds in this book, we learn that Jake’s brother Tom is acting weird and why, even though Jake doesn’t want to believe the why at first and how Jake really feels about Cassie.
We find out that Marco’s dad is barely keeping it together after Marco’s mom mysteriously dies at a lake, even though no body was found, and that this is a part of the reason why Marco is reluctant to fight this war. We can presume to a degree that Marco is Hispanic based on the book covers in the series. Marco also came up with the name Animorphs, which is a portmanteau of “animal morphers.
Tobias’ story is somewhat even sadder. He never knew either of his parents and the aunt and uncle who have raised him have sent him back and forth between his aunt’s place on the east coast and his uncle’s place.
Cassie is the only African-American of the group and is described by Jake as being an animal love, in part because both of her parents are veterinarians.
Not much was reveled about Rachel other than the fact that she is Jake’s cousin.
During the course of four, possibly five days, that this book covers, Applegate does seem to do a pretty good job at setting up a story with plenty of story arches and plot lines.
For a book that is written for young adults that is the start of a 54 books that are directory in the story arc and several supporting books that help the story line, it is a great start.
One line that Applegate wrote really well that made me laugh was
“‘Creepy’ Rachel said. “Like if you took cheerleaders, combined them with gym teachers, and made them all drink ten cups of coffee.'”
When I first read that, I laughed at the description. Granted, I had read this book and the other ones in the series about 10 years or so ago. So it wasn’t the first time I read this book, but the fact that after all of this time that it was funny when I first read it this time attests to how Applegate was able to write a book that is both good for someone in the designated age group and that big kid at heart.
All though we aren’t told a direct location of the town, I believe that since we’re given information about Tobias’ aunt and the feel that his family doesn’t have a load of money for his aunt and uncle to ship him across the country. More than likely then, the location is then somewhere near the east coast.
Also, from the tone of this book and what we are given for information about what’s in the town and surrounding areas, this is probably a rural town.
Even though the setting of what town this is, it is still a fun trying to piece that together because it is a slight mystery that is fun attempting to solve.
One thing I don’t get about how the Animorphs conduct attempting to keep their identities a secret is why they are using their first names. The reason why this is something I bring up is that possibly I’m reading this book from an adult’s perspective instead of a young adult’s perspective.