I’ve been rereading the Animorphs series. I’ve meant to do this for years. I was the right age when the series came out and kept up with it until about book 40 out of 54 (plus most of the extras) and then, for some reason, I stopped. I can’t remember my mindset at the time. Maybe I thought I was too old for them, or maybe I started having to pay for my own books and found other ways to spend my allowance.
Clearly, I was an idiot.
I hate having unfinished series on my bookshelf. I’ve had to piece the series together from used bookstores, and some of those final volumes were not easy.
The adventures of a few kids age 13-14 don’t have the same impact on 30-year-old me, but it’s not difficult to imagine the me of yesteryear. For instance, preteen me still has a massive crush on Tobias, who’s easily the most interesting character. Tragic past, tragic present, tragic future – hell yes.
However, the benefit to reading them now is that I know who I am. I’m too bitter to sympathize with Cassie, who’s much too good. I identify most with Marco, which I never thought would be true – his sarcasm, his need to cope with difficult situations through jokes, and even (to some extent) his vanity, although I generally don’t bother people with how awesome I am (except, you know, when I do). Jake and I would have nothing in common but I’d respect him.
And Ax is hilarious. Some of the funniest moments involve Ax and cinnamon buns. How did I not remember how funny these books are?
I’m no longer jealous of the beautiful Rachel. Back then, I hated her. I’m sure it was equal parts jealousy of her looks and jealousy of her boyfriend, but I’m past all that. I love her because she’s tough, she’s violent, and she’s the badass I wish I could be. I didn’t realize then what I know now: I secretly want to be a barbarian or maybe an Amazon. When I picture myself on the battlefield, a la D&D, I’m swinging a massive axe and roaring.
One final note: the pop culture references from the 90s are amazing. They transform me to a time when I daydreamed about being a superhero and I was in love with Taylor Hanson
A few years back I was spoiled for the ending, though, and in a few days my heart’s going to be broken.
If you were a child of the 90s, whether you read a few or all or none of these books, I’d recommend a go-through now (if you can get your hands on them) because the overall experience is totally worth it. These kids are more mature than I am (or ever will be), changed by war and its realities. Yes, they make kid jokes, and yes, they’re preoccupied with their pre-teen first loves, but we’ve all been there. We can all relate.
The writing improves dramatically from the first novel, and while it’s not perfect – what writing is? I’m not going to sit here and complain. I know how many errors I make. The writing is good enough, and the emotion of the storytelling really gets to you. Reading them in succession tugs at your heartstrings.
Definitely a YA series worth reading.