This article is written from a Real World point of view.
"All I know is what my mom said. Two men broke into her veterinary ward last night. It wasn't the usual smash and grab, and no, they weren't after drugs, which surprised Mom, too. They wanted blood samples, specific blood samples. Tiger. Elephant. Eagle. Rhino and grizzly. Gorilla and wolf. [...] Here's what I think. There's only one reason the Yeerks would suddenly be interested in blood. DNA. They're collecting samples of our morph animals, and they're collecting as many human samples as they can. They're searching for humans with strands of animal DNA in their blood."
"Which means —"
"They know we're human."
Cassie, Marco and Rachel[src]

The Diversion, published in December 2000 and written by Lisa Harkrader based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the forty-ninth book in the Animorphs series. It is the eleventh book narrated by Tobias and the sixth and final book with Tobias as the sole narrator.

Official Description

The Yeerks are finally starting to realize that the "Andalite bandits" are probably not aliens at all. They're finally starting to realize that maybe they've been dealing with humans all along. And no one - especially the newly appointed Visser One - is happy with this knowledge. Not happy at all.

When Tobias, the other Animorphs, and Ax realize that the Yeerks are about to find them, it's by accident. But that doesn't make the discovery any less serious. Because in a war, one side wins. And one side loses...

Plot Summary

The Yeerks begin to realize the "Andalite bandits" are humans. The Animorphs discover the Yeerks have been testing the DNA patterns in the blood they have left in their countless battles. When they discover the traces of human DNA they begin running massive amounts of tests on blood which has been stored in the area in order to discover a genetic match or root out the Animorphs' families. Using this process a genetic match between Tobias and his mother, Loren, is discovered and gives the Yeerks proof that at least some the 'Andalite bandits' are in fact human. They go through a brutal battle at the laboratory where they discover this information in which Marco is nearly killed. After they retreat to Cassie's barn, Jake orders that they all go home and 'sleep on it', the Animorphs will meet in the morning to decide whether or not to evacuate their families thereby revealing their identities and taking the fight into the open.

Tobias does not return to his meadow but goes to the address the blood databank gave for his mother. He is crestfallen to discover that it is only a few blocks from the house in which he lived with his uncle yet his mother never once came to visit him or showed any interest in her son at all. Tobias easily spots that his mother is being watched by the Yeerks. He observes Loren leaving the house with a guide dog, and quickly realizes that Loren is blind. With the guide dog she walks to a church where she apparently volunteers as a crisis phone line operator, and Tobias follows her.

In the morning the Animorphs unanimously agree to immediately evacuate their families. Cassie and Rachel reveal to their families the truth of the invasion and evacuate them to the Hork-Bajir valley. Ax helps with rescuing Rachel's mother and sisters. Jake tries to rescue his parents as well with the plan that they will subdue Tom and starve the Yeerk out of him at long last freeing Jake's brother. But they appear to be out of the house when the Animorphs arrive, in fact Tom's Yeerk has already had Jake's parents infested and they spring a trap for the waiting Animorphs. They escape and Jake morphs falcon in front of the Yeerks, because he wants to show that he has been fighting all along to inspire fear in the Yeerks and hope in his family that he will rescue them.

Animorphs 49 diversion inside cover only hi res

Loren and Tobias (morphed as Champ)

Tobias morphs Champ, his mother's guide dog, and spends the night at his mother's house. In the morning he finally meets Loren, who he discovers had lost her memory in an accident years before. But she knew she did have a son, and hoped that he was happy. Tobias laments the fact that he never knew her, and tells her he needed a mother. Tobias then hatches a scheme to help Loren escape by giving her the morphing power. She morphs Tobias in hawk form and they embark on a desperate escape which leads to another battle that they barely escape. During the battle Loren throws herself in front of danger to protect Tobias and is nearly killed. Loren is then evacuated to the Hork-Bajir valley. The morphing ability restores Loren's vision, but not her memories. Tobias still longs for his mother's love and affection which she displays for her beloved guide dog but not for him, however Tobias remembers that she did throw herself in front of danger to protect Tobias. The book ends with Jake as an emotional wreck and the Animorphs safely evacuated to the Hork-Bajir valley with their families. Tobias sits beside Jake and thinks that he and Jake have almost switched places, Tobias has always been the loner without a family and now his family is here with him and Jake is all alone. Tobias reassures Jake that they will keep fighting and they will rescue his family.


Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:



Major/Highlighted Events


Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake -- Housefly, Hork-Bajir, Peregrine Falcon, Siberian Tiger (partially)
Rachel German Shepherd (Champ) Bald Eagle, African Elephant, Grizzly Bear
Tobias German Shepherd (Champ) Human (himself), Housefly, Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak), German Shepherd (Champ)
Cassie -- Housefly, Hork-Bajir, Osprey, Wolf
Marco German Shepherd (Champ) Osprey, Housefly, Hork-Bajir, Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim)
Ax -- Northern Harrier, Housefly, Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee), Human (Main)
Loren Red-Tailed Hawk (Tobias) Red-Tailed Hawk (Tobias)


  • The cover quote is, "This war can't go on forever. Will it be us? Or them...?"
  • The inside cover quote is, "Nobody dogs Tobias--except Tobias..."
  • This is the fourth and fifth time where an Animorph acquires a living being for the sole purpose of placing them in a trance, rather than requiring their DNA, with Marco and Rachel doing so with Champ, Loren's guide dog.
  • This marks the seventh and eighth instance in the series where an Animorph acquires a morph that they do not morph into in the same book and the fourth and fifth instance where an Animorph acquired a morph they never used.
  • Tobias mentions being nearly adopted by the then-Visser Three and learning about his parentage from a lawyer-Controller (The Pretender) and the instance in which he was tortured (The Illusion); the Animorphs contracting yamphut is also mentioned by Jake (The Sickness).
  • ANIBASE: The author of this book had this story to share about a particularly memorable scene from The Diversion:
    • "Near the end of the book, when they charge through the toy store, Marco the gorilla jumps on a scooter and flies through the store. When I wrote the book, those little razor scooters hadn't jumped onto the scene yet. I was thinking of the old scooters you'd see in Leave it to Beaver or Little Rascals, and I imagined this scooter in this toy store being totally retro. But by the time the book was published, razor scooters were the big rage, so it turned out that I was almost cutting edge! It's one of the few times in my writing career where my timing has been perfect."



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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
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