The Invasion by K.A. Applegate

Posted March 19, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

The Invasion

The Invasion

by K. A. Applegate

Series: Animorphs #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press on June 1, 1996
Genre: Science Fiction
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Sometimes weird things happen to people. Ask Jake. He may tell you about the night he and his friends saw the strange light in the sky. He may even tell you about what happened when they realized the "light" was only a plane -- from another planet. Here's where Jake's story gets a little weird. It's where they're told that the human race is under attack -- and given the chance to fight back.

Now Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias, and Marco have the power to morph into any animal they choose. And they must use that power to outsmart an evil that is greater than anything the world has ever seen...


Going back to a series you loved as a kid is difficult.  For one, nostalgia adds a sweet filter to our memories that may not truly be deserved.  For another, our reading tastes change.  And we get older – we expect different writing styles.

Returning to The Invasion, the very first Animorphs book, was a journey for me.  These books influenced me so much when I was younger.  I wanted to believe in these kids and their abilities so bad.  As an adult, I was pretty sure these would be ridiculous and I would hate them and why was I so intent on ruining a good memory, exactly?

I am ridiculous.

Even though The Invasion is clearly written in the voice of a 14-year-old, this book is still wonderful.  The concept of the series is strange and exciting and refreshingly unique as a whole.  You’ve got shape shifters and you’ve got aliens.  You have five very different kids as our protagonists.  The Invasion starts the story with Jake, who ultimately becomes the leader of the crew… but Cassie, Rachel, Marco, Tobias?  They’re all good.  Rachel and Tobias were my favorites as kids, but as an adult, I think I can appreciate them all.

And let’s be real, here.  This series is very much intended for middle grade readers – it does not have the same descriptions and flowery prose as most YA.  It’s dialogue-heavy.  It’s direct.  There’s a lot of awkward conversations that feel a bit stilted but it all feels right in this context.  The writing style and the voice work well for the series and for the intended audience. If this was a YA romance I’d probably drop some shade, but this is a MG urban sci-fi in first person. It works.

I know my blogging audience and I don’t think I’ll be able to convince many or any of you to run out and pick up The Invasion… but if you know any middle grade readers who are imaginative and love to read and love animals, this is a great book to pick up.  And if you, like me, read these when you were younger and feel like a nostalgia read, I fully support that.  It’s a quick book at under 200 pages and I enjoyed falling back into the world.

And you know what?  I think I’m going to keep adding the rest of the series to my TBR.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★


The Invasion Stays on my Shelf

Honestly, I’m just coming off this book feeling happy.  I know it’s not a great classical work of fiction, but it was such a fun, light read that I’m glad I own the book.  I really am absolute rubbish for my old, favorite middle grade reads and I re-collected the first five Animorphs books a few years ago on Thriftbooks… I’m so glad I did.

So yeah, I will go back to this series even though I’m 30 and they’re meant for people less than half my age.  Because The Invasion and the Animorphs series brings me back to sitting on the sunporch as a kid wishing I could turn into an elephant like Rachel.


What middle grade series did you devour when you were younger?  Are there still long series like Animorphs out there, where they run +20 books and all of them are under 200 pages?  Tell me your favorites (or if they were even available) in the comments!

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2 responses to “The Invasion by K.A. Applegate

  1. I always wanted to read the Animorphs books when I was younger. I absolutely devoured and love the hell out of the Warrior Cats series. I think there’s four(?) separate series now, and I’ve read three of them.

    • Amber

      One of my best friends growing up LOVED Warrior Cats, but unfortunately I never really got into it. I feel like a lot of these old nostalgic series are sort of sneaking back into the bookish consciousness, which is really cool. 😀