If you were a tween in the ’90s, chances are good that you remember K. A. Applegate’s middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy Animorphs series, whether you read the novels or watched the television show or both. After a few of us here at H&H HQ realized this*, we had a grand time talking about the golden days of Animorphs, only to stop and consider: Could Animorphs have been our first shifter romance story?!
The Animorphs, a long-running series of 54 books published between 1996 and 2001, is about a group of five human teenagers (later joined by one alien)—Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias, and Marco—who stumble across an alien spaceship on their walk home one evening and are given the ability to morph, or shapeshift, into any creature they touch by the peace-loving alien who crash landed. They’re meant to use their powers to help battle an attempt to take over the Earth by a race of parasitic aliens known as Yeerks.**
Cool abilities that nevertheless can bring the angst, epic battle brewing that will literally determine the fate of the world...it’s actually kind of a familiar premise, right?
Of course, you can’t have a paranormal romance without the romance, and though the characters were only about 13 when the series began, readers (like us!) became invested in the relationships that developed between the motley group as they aged (when the series ended, they were around 19 or 20) and as the series progressed. And in fact, Jake and Cassie were a couple, as were Tobias and Rachel.
While we’d moved on from the series before it concluded, all three of us were really curious about the fate of the characters and relationships, and took it to heart when we learned about how each ended up. (Spoiler Alert: There was a big death, and, unfortunately, happily ever afters weren’t in the cards for our characters, who by the end of the series were war vets.)
What do you think? Do you remember the Animorphs fondly? Think the series could be part of why you love shifter romances today?
*Note 1: How did the Animorphs come up? Turns out that K.A. Applegate was in fact a husband-wife team, and they’ve just released a YA novel together, Eve & Adam, as Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate. Here’s the description of Eve & Adam:
In the beginning, there was an apple –
And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker's head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.
Just when Eve thinks she will die – not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.
Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won’t he?
Sounds fun, right?
*Note 2: Thanks to the Animorphs Wikipedia page for refreshing our memory and filling us in on the end of the series!
Heather Waters works for H&H and is a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_
Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers and Criminal Element.