The Reaction, published in October 1997 and written by K.A. Applegate, is the twelfth book in the Animorphs series. It is the third book narrated by Rachel.

This article is written from a Real World point of view.


Official Description

Rachel's got some pretty strange stuff happening. She can't control her morphing. One minute, she's doing homework. The next, she's morphing a full-grown crocodile, and -- without returning to human form -- she becomes an elephant. That's when the floor gives way and Rachel finds herself looking up at what used to be the kitchen ceiling.

What's going on? No one's sure, but Rachel and the other Animorphs have to figure it out -- quickly. Because if someone sees Rachel's out-of-control morphing, the other Animorphs and Ax are in for some serious trouble...

Plot Summary

Rachel and Cassie are at The Gardens on a field trip when Rachel sees a little boy climb the railing and falling into the Crocodile exhibit. Cassie goes to get help, but without first telling Rachel not to do anything stupid. One of the six crocodiles in the exhibit eyes the boy, and that's when Rachel choses to do something stupid, she jumps into the pit to save the boy, but soon discovers that there's another much bigger crocodile inches away from them. The crocodile charges and Rachel avoids its jaws and lands on its back. As it tries thrashing her off, she quickly grabs its sides and acquires its DNA. She decides to then morph into the croc and fight it. After using human intelligence to defeat the croc, Rachel thought-speaks to the boy and get him to ride on her back to safety. Later, after being chewed out by Jake for what she did, the Animorphs talk about how The Sharing is hiring a teen heart throb named Jeremy Jason McCole to be their spokesman, which would get many girls to join The Sharing, and they have to stop that, but Rachel and Cassie are excited because they get to meet him.

Book 12 inside cover

Inside cover

Later that night, while doing her homework, Rachel goes online to check out Jeremy Jason McCole and discovers he'll be in town in a few days on a talk show called the Barry and Cindy Sue Show. Suddenly, after telling Cassie the news, she sees her hand turning green, she starts morphing into the crocodile and she can't stop it. She tries demorphing, but instead of becoming human again, she's now morphing into a fly, but then starts morphing into an elephant, causing the floor of her room to collapse and crash into the kitchen. She morphs back to human just as rescue workers dig her out and take her to the hospital, where after reporters find out she's also the girl that jump into the crocodile pit, Rachel's dad, Dan drops in after hearing everything that happened. Rachel then decides to ask her dad to get her on the Barry and Cindy Sue Show, so that way, they can get to Jeremy Jason McCole.

After leaving the hospital, Rachel goes to stay with her dad at a hotel suite, she calls Cassie to come over, and deciding that they need to talk to Ax about what's going on with her. The next day at school, Rachel is called to Chapman's office, which makes her nervous because he might have suspected something. He talks to her about all the recent stuff and if there's anything going on with her, he even offers her the choice of joining The Sharing. Suddenly, she sees her shoes tearing up as her feet become grizzly bear feet. Chapman then sends Rachel back to class, but not without noticing her feet commenting on it being boots.

After school, Rachel meets up with the others in the sky above the beach in their seagull morphs and Ax in his harrier morph. They fly towards the ocean to a yacht where Jeremy Jason McCole is with his producer, a woman, and a man. Rachel and Cassie here him talking about doing more serious rolls and stop being a goody-good teen heart throb. The man tells Jeremy Jason McCole that he can get anything he wants, just by representing The Sharing, and he won't say no to it. It was then Rachel and Cassie realize the man is really Visser Three in human morph. Suddenly, Rachel starts morphing out of control again, this time she was growing an elephant trunk, which sends her down into the water. Now full elephant, Rachel starts swimming back up, but she's too far down to make it to the surface, Jake and Cassie in their dolphin morphs and Ax in his shark morph arrive to help, but then, Rachel start rapidly shrinking and is now inside an air bubble as an ant. Marco reports that Visser Three is morphing.

Rachel begins morphing again, this time into her crocodile morph. They soon hear a loud splash and Marco tells them it was Visser Three, he had just finished morphing into something that can shoot spears from its mouth. Ax tells them its an aquatic creature called a Lebtin javalin fish. They spread out and when Rachel goes up to breath, she see Jeremy Jason McCole admiring everything he just saw, which makes Rachel really mad. Visser Three fills up with water, and fires a spear and hits Rachel through her tail. A second spear is fired at Cassie, almost impaling her. Rachel then comes up with a plan, she plays dead and goes belly up, and when Visser Three is close enough to her, she uses her powerful jaws to chomp right into the Visser, popping him and sending him flying through the water. Marco then shows up in his dolphin morph, a little too late.

Later, Ax explains to the others that Rachel's out-of-control morphing is because she has an allergic reaction to the crocodile morph that she acquired, and her emotions are what sets it off, (affection from looking Jeremy Jason McCole on the internet; fear from being in Chapman's office; and anger from seeing Jeremy Jason McCole making the deal with the Yeerks and being a superficial jerk.) Ax says the only way to cure the allergy is a natural process where Rachel will 'burp' the DNA so to speak, forcing out the crocodile morph in its entirety and expelling it from the her system, a process Andalites call "hereth illint".

Jake tells Rachel to keep a low profile, which also includes not going on the show, but the next day at school, she lies to Jake and Cassie saying the hereth illint happened. After school, Rachel takes a cab to her dad's hotel, where they walk together to the TV studio, Cassie meets up with them when a llama runs past them with its handlers chasing it. As the make-up artist is dealing with Rachel's hair like tugging it, her hair starting becoming wolf fur. Cassie gets the make-up artist to leave long enough for Rachel calm down. Just then, Jeremy Jason McCole appears and rudely tells them to leave. Outside, they bump into the llama, only to find out its really Marco, he had hid the real llama after acquiring it and says Jake and Ax are also there in insect morphs. After Cassie tells Marco what Rachel did, they decide as a backup, someone should acquire and morph Rachel. As the trainers take Marco onto stage, Cassie acquires Rachel's DNA.

Suddenly, after being escorted to the green room, Rachel starts becoming sick. The "Hereth illint was now starting and the crocodile's mind takes over Rachel's human body and goes crazy. As Cassie takes Rachel away, they see that process of expelling the DNA is that the crocodile is coming out of Rachel's back. They get into a restroom, just as Rachel starts morphing into a grizzly bear. Just as Cassie morphs into a squirrel, Rachel had finished "burping" the crocodile out of her, the crocodile eyes her and lunges, but Cassie jumps on its head, attacking its eyes and they crash out of the restroom and head for the backstage and causing hysteria. Marco slips on the floor and knocks Jeremy Jason McCole off his and was now face to face with the crocodile. After being frozen in horror, he now screams just as Cassie kills the lights and Ax kills the crocodile. As the Animorphs run for it, Rachel steps on something that felt warm and squishy, it was the Yeerk that had infested Jeremy Jason McCole.

Rachel goes back to find Cassie, she finds a man talking to another Rachel, who was actually Cassie. The real Rachel hides and as Cassie leaves, the man yells "Andalite!", but Cassie continues on and meets up with Rachel. Two days later, the Animorphs are in the hotel room watching the news saying Jeremy Jason McCole has left the country, and they know he will no longer have anything to do with the Yeerks or crocodiles.


Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:




Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake -- Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, Cockroach

Crocodile (unusable)

Crocodile, Fly, African Elephant, Seagull, Ant/Termite,Wolf, Grizzly Bear
Cassie Human (Rachel) Great Horned Owl, Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, Squirrel, Human (Rachel)
Marco Llama Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, Llama
Ax -- Northern Harrier, Tiger Shark, Fly, Human
Visser Three -- Human, Lebtin Javalin Fish
  • Note: Rachel is no longer able to morph the crocodile after expelling it from her system.


  • The front cover quote is "Trust no one...."
  • The inside front cover quote is, "Nothing like a crocodile's smile...."
  • This was the first of 3 book covers showing Rachel morphing into an aquatic animal, the other two being #27: The Exposed (giant squid) and #32: The Separation (starfish).
  • The character Jeremy Jason McCole is a parody of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and the Barry and Cindy Sue Show is modeled after Live with Regis and Kathy Lee.
  • Cassie's mom (Michelle) thinks Cassie is interested in a number of musical groups: The Fudgies, Snoopy Diggity Dog, Boys Eleven Men, and Nice Is Neat.
  • In this book Cassie mentions that she told her mother NIN stood for 'Nice Is Neat', so she could get the new Nine Inch Nails CD. However, in real life NIN hadn't released an album since 1994 at that point.
  • Cassie is the only Animorph to have acquired one of the other Animorphs (who are human). While Ax is considered an Animorph, and did acquire Jake, Rachel, Cassie and Marco, the editors have always referred to the team as "The Animorphs and Ax". Tobias, as a hawk, acquired and morphed Ax, however neither of them are human.
  • Visser Three morphs directly from his human morph to one of his alien monster morphs, despite the books repeatedly stating that one must demorph and return to their natural (base) form before morphing again.

Gallery (US Images)

International Covers

International back covers

Main Series #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture | #7 The Stranger | #8 The Alien | #9 The Secret | #10 The Android | #11 The Forgotten | #12 The Reaction | #13 The Change | #14 The Unknown | #15 The Escape | #16 The Warning | #17 The Underground | #18 The Decision | #19 The Departure | #20 The Discovery | #21 The Threat | #22 The Solution | #23 The Pretender | #24 The Suspicion | #25 The Extreme | #26 The Attack | #27 The Exposed | #28 The Experiment | #29 The Sickness | #30 The Reunion | #31 The Conspiracy | #32 The Separation | #33 The Illusion | #34 The Prophecy | #35 The Proposal | #36 The Mutation | #37 The Weakness | #38 The Arrival | #39 The Hidden | #40 The Other | #41 The Familiar | #42 The Journey | #43 The Test | #44 The Unexpected | #45 The Revelation | #46 The Deception | #47 The Resistance | #48 The Return | #49 The Diversion | #50 The Ultimate | #51 The Absolute | #52 The Sacrifice | #53 The Answer | #54 The Beginning
Megamorphs The Andalite's Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor's Secret | Back to Before
Chronicles The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | VISSER | The Ellimist Chronicles
Alternamorphs The First Journey | The Next Passage
TV Tie-Ins Meet the Stars of Animorphs

TV Adaptation

The Reaction was adapted as part of the Animorphs TV series, which aired on Nickelodeon and YTV between the fall of 1998 and the spring of 2000. The twelfth book in the series was covered by the eleventh episode, "The Reaction". The TV episodes did not follow the books faithfully, altering many aspects of the characters' roles within the Animorphs, the events in the war against the Yeerks, and added plot lines that were not present in the books.

Changes from Book to Episode

  • Animorphs reaction tv show larry and linda live

    The web site front page for Larry and Linda Live, the show in The Reaction TV episode.

    This story was used as an Animorphs (TV series) episode (given the same title and using the same animal, the crocodile) but the episode had Cassie allergic to the morph rather than Rachel in the books; also, the allergy simply caused Cassie to morph randomly between her human and crocodile morph, rather than the random transformation from one morph to another that was demonstrated in the book.
  • In the book series, Rachel had the allergic reaction to the crocodile, but on the show, they changed it so that Cassie was the one that acquired the crocodile and eventually "burped" out of her system.
  • In the book series, the Yeerk that was controlling Jeremy Jason McCole was killed when Rachel stepped on it, but on the show, they changed it so that the Yeerk was eaten by the crocodile
  • The crocodile that was used in the episode was smaller than the one in the book, which made it less dangerous for the cast and crew, and easier to handle for the trainers.
  • In the book, the show Rachel goes on is called the Barry and Cindy Sue Show; in the TV series, the show is called the Larry and Linda Live.


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