This was my first time reading The Encounter to the end. I owned the book and started it a couple of times when I was younger, but for some reason I could never get through it. Maybe it was because the narrator, Tobias, could not morph. I initially read Animorphs for the morphing. Maybe it was because this book is so dark.
The Encounter is extremely dark and depressing. Every Tobias book is kind of dark, as it’s the nature of his character, but this one is ridiculously dark. I’d venture to say that it may even be too dark to be a children’s book. I’ll explain why in a little bit. The book is also beautiful, though, in a weird way. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate that quality as a kid, but I appreciated its beauty now, as I read the book in one sitting. Are you ready to go on this dark ride with Birdboy and me? Hang on tight.
Here is the book that started my love for the series. Look at it and tell me how it wouldn’t jump out to a Seventh Grader looking for a good book to read. I clearly enjoyed it back then; I picked up Animorphs books after it and eventually became obsessed with the series. As much as I enjoyed it back then, reading it now, I feel like not much happens in it. That’s both a good and a bad thing. Some of the later books are more exciting, but this one is nice because it is slower. I enjoyed getting to know Rachel even though she hadn’t really come into her own yet. Seeing Rachel interacting with the other Animorphs and learning that they don’t fully trust one another yet was interesting, because they become so tight as the series goes on. I’ll get into that a little further down.
This is just the second book in the series, so Applegate is still world building. The Animorphs are still learning about their new powers, about the Yeerks, and about themselves. So, too, are we, so let’s go ahead and jump into the book.
I told you guys an Animorphs recap was coming. Before I jump into the first book, I want to talk about this series for a little bit because it is more than nostalgia to me. Animorphs was my childhood. I have so many friends I’m still in contact with today that I made from reading this series. Lori, Margie, Matt, Lawren, Holly, Izzah, Laura, Alex, Connor, Tina, Dustin, Katherine, and Vega, I’m talking about you! And those are just the friends I made that are still social enough to be on Facebook today. I know it sounds silly, but this series and the people I met while reading it helped me discover and accept myself. Let’s go back to the beginning, though.
In seventh grade, my Middle School put an emphasis on Language Arts. I guess the school had low reading and writing test scores. As a result, We spent nearly two and a half hours in Language Arts compared to 50 minutes in Math, and poor Science and Social Studies were combined in one 50-minute class. I remember my Science and Social Studies teacher was a man named Mr. Lowe that year, and he was a Social Studies teacher. He was so annoyed that he had to teach Science that year. I digress.
I am sick as a dog. I’ve been sick for about two weeks, actually, but I thought I was getting better. I didn’t show any symptoms Monday through Wednesday at school. Thursday, it’s like I hit a wall. Everything I had that I thought I was over came back at full force, and then some. I had a fever, cold chills, hot spells, a sore and itchy throat, and body aches. I was miserable during my classes Thursday, but since it didn’t hit until I was already at school, I toughed it out. I went to the doctor yesterday and got tested positive for the flu. Now I’m on Tamiflu, Gatorade, and lots of bed rest. At least I have Goosebumps.
I slept a ton yesterday and it really messed with my sleep schedule. While Josh was sleeping last night at midnight, I was reading Monster Blood. While I remember having read it as a kid, I didn’t remember much of it, so I might as well have been experiencing this book for the first time. It is my favorite entry in the series so far by a mile. It was well-written, it was engaging, the characters were multi-dimensional, the plot had substance (and twists!), and the ending was satisfactory. I read it one sitting; I kept saying, “one more chapter,” and before I knew it, I had finished the book.
Thanks to everyone who voted in my poll. This is the book you guys chose for me to cover next! Random fact: this was my very first Goosebumps book in fifth grade. My brother and I used to visit my mom every other weekend, and I have a vivid memory of her surprising us one Friday evening with a Goosebumps book each. I got this, and my brother got Say Cheese and Die! Fortunately for me, my brother wasn’t much of a reader, so I ended up with both Goosebumps books, and my love for this series was born.
This entry is dedicated to Cherri on Twitter and Banana at the Goosebumps Wiki (who is just a little obsessed with scarecrows ;)). I was going to read this book after the book that won the poll if this book didn’t win because they both have been requesting that I cover it, but I guess it’s a popular entry in the series. I appreciate all the messages people have been sending me about these reviews. Keep them coming! I love that people are enjoying these.