|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "Starfish. They regenerate. You can chop off a leg and they can grow a new one. Somehow when that starfish was chopped in half, the starfish's regenerative powers created the possibility of two separate Rachels. One in each half."
"But, somehow the two halves were unequal, subtly different. This is a very interesting phenomenon."
- ―Cassie and Ax
The Separation, published in July 1999 and written by K.A. Applegate, is the thirty-second book in the Animorphs series. It is the tenth book narrated by Rachel and the seventh book with Rachel as the sole narrator.
Rachel is falling apart. Literally. Her newest morph has the ability to regenerate its limbs, but when Rachel demorphs there's a lot more Rachel than when she started out. One more Rachel, to be exact. Rachel is an okay person to have around. But two could be considered overkill. Especially two Rachels with completely opposite personalities: one is pathetically weak; one is super strong and super nasty.
Now the Animorphs have to figure out a way to put Rachel back together again. Because if it's up to the "twins," Rachel the weak will surrender to Visser Three. Rachel the super bold will try to single-handedly take him down. and twice the trouble may be twice as much as the other Animorphs and Ax can handle...
On a field trip to the beach, Rachel is exploring tide pools when she loses an earring in the water. Wishing to get it back she comes across a starfish, acquires it, and morphs into it, retrieving the earring. Unfortunately, before she can demorph, a child chops her in half. Thanks to the regenerative properties of starfish, Rachel does not die; instead, in the shock of being sliced in two, both halves demorph, resulting in two Rachels - Mean Rachel and Nice Rachel.
Mean Rachel is violent, aggressive, and despises all forms of "weakness" – weakness including most feelings, and any attitudes towards enemies other than homicidal hatred. She is totally incapable of planning ahead, making her useless in anything other than a direct combat situation, and believes that she is always right. This leads her to try to kill Marco and Jake, and take control of the Animorphs. In contrast, Nice Rachel is totally passive, easily frightened, and is too scared to morph. She cannot fight, making herself a liability in battle, although she is good at making plans. Both Rachels are actively dangerous towards the secrecy and long-term survival of the Animorphs, and the rest of the Animorphs must find a way to combine them back into Normal Rachel.
Jake convinces Nice Rachel to come with him to follow a Yeerk truck. It turns out to be a trap, and Jake and Nice Rachel are put in boxes to await the arrival of Visser Three. Mean Rachel follows them in an attempt to kill Jake and Nice Rachel. Jake pretends to be dead, forcing Mean and Nice Rachel to work together in order to escape the trap. Nice Rachel makes the plan and Mean Rachel actually does it, flying into Visser Three's ear canal while morphed and threatening to demorph, killing both of them. All three escape unharmed.
After they escape safely, Nice and Mean Rachel finally realize that they need to be together to work well and Erek King helps make them back into one whole Rachel again by morphing into each other while touching. After Rachel is returned to normal, she refuses to speak with Cassie, opting to be with Tobias since, as both hawk and human, he would understand her struggle of having two differing personalities in one body.
- Visser Three
- Various Taxxon, Hork-Bajir and human-Controllers
- The Drode (Mentioned Only)
- David (Mentioned Only)
- Sara (Mentioned Only)
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (Mentioned Only)
- Walter (Mentioned Only)
- Michelle (Mentioned Only)
- Anti-Morphing Ray (Mentioned Only)
- Erek King and the Chee reveal that the Yeerks have created an Anti-Morphing Ray that would force anyone in morph to demorph.
- Rachel is cut in half while in starfish morph, creating two separate beings – Mean Rachel, Rachel's violent, sadistic and rage-filled side, lacking the ability to focus or plan ahead as well as her sense of duty and morality, and Nice Rachel: a weak, naive, childish, docile, sensitive and cowardly side of Rachel. The Animorphs struggle to deal with both Rachels since they are useless on their own.
- Jake convinces both Rachels that they cannot exist without the other, and so, with the help of Ax and Erek, the Animorphs manage to recombine both Rachels into one being.
- While split into two beings, Nice Rachel reveals that she finds Jake and Marco cute, along with Tobias, and develops a brief interest in Erek as well, which she reveals to her father without mentioning any names except Jake's. However, she does state that as Jake is her cousin, she would not pursue him, though she admits she would go out with Marco if he asks and that Tobias is cute and sweet as well.
- Her other half, Mean Rachel, has nothing but contempt for Jake and Marco, even attempting to kill them, although Mean Rachel does retain her attraction to Tobias, referring to him as "my love" and assuring him that she is all he would need. However, unlike Nice Rachel who is attracted to Tobias's human side, Mean Rachel is only attracted to Tobias's hawk side, viewing him as a predator and warrior, calling him her perfect and ideal partner. After being recombined back into one person, she decides to cope with the situation by being alone with Tobias, since Tobias is the only Animorph who would understand what she went through, since as both hawk and human, he too harbors both a sweet and predatory personality.
- Marco's relationship with Rachel is touched upon; when Marco sees both Rachels, he immediately exclaims that he could have one and Tobias could have the other. After Nice Rachel smiles at him and divulges that she finds him cute and funny, Marco propositions Nice Rachel, citing that Tobias could have Mean Rachel, although Nice Rachel realizes that Marco is simultaneously testing her.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||--||Siberian Tiger, Great Horned Owl, Cockroach|
|Nice Rachel||Human (Mean Rachel)||Great Horned Owl, Cockroach, Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee), Human (Mean Rachel)|
|Mean Rachel||Human (Nice Rachel)||Bald Eagle, Cockroach, Great Horned Owl, Grizzly Bear, Housefly, Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee), Human (Nice Rachel)|
|Tobias||--||Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak), Cockroach (most likely)|
|Cassie||--||Wolf, Housefly, Great Horned Owl, Cockroach (most likely)|
|Marco||--||Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), Great Horned Owl, Cockroach (most likely)|
|Ax||--||Human (Main), Great Horned Owl, Cockroach (most likely)|
- The cover quote is, "Everything changes. But not like this...."
- The inside front cover quote is, "Rachel's seeing stars...." which is a reference to the famous cartoon gag of "seeing stars".
- This is the fifth book in which the narrator is the only person to acquire a new morph.
- This marks the third and fourth time that Rachel is acquired, following Ax and Cassie's acquisition of her DNA in The Message and The Reaction respectively.
- This book also marks the second and third time that an Animorph acquires themselves, following Tobias acquiring his human self in The Change. In this instance, both halves of Rachel acquire the other.
- This also marks the twelfth and thirteenth time that an Animorph has acquired a human morph.
- This is the second time in which the Chee pose as the Animorphs as they are on a mission, following The Extreme.
- Jake mentions the time they morphed dolphins and got attacked by sharks and being trapped by numerous Hork-Bajir at the world leaders conference, referencing the events of The Message and The Threat.
- In the preview for this book featured at the end of The Conspiracy, when Bailey tells Rachel that she looks good, Rachel responds: "I think we've been over that. Yes, I am good-looking. Yes, I have great hair. Yes, I have a great body. Now go away." However, in this book, Rachel's line is condensed to: "I think we've been over that. Now go away." without explanation.
- ANIBASE: Katherine Applegate always admitted to borrowing ideas from other sources, and the split Rachel idea is no different. Here's what she had to say about the idea, and also about how she was trying to develop Rachel's character: "I'd admit I stole this from the original Star Trek, except, of course, that they stole it from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was really fun to write. And I was advancing my view of Rachel as the 'warrior who comes to need war'."
- Rachel discloses that she wears earrings, despite the fact that morphing would seal the holes in her ears every time.
- As only one morphing outfit is incorporated, Nice Rachel should have demorphed without clothing, since Mean Rachel demorphed first. However, Nice Rachel is depicted wearing the leotard after she demorphs and notices Mean Rachel running away, who is seemingly clothed as well.
- Nice Rachel has a conversation with her father Dan on p61. Rachel asks "Can you tell?" and Dan responds "Tell what?" Then Dan says, "Rachel, I'm asking if you're okay..." but since Rachel said nothing, and there was no pause between his dialogue, his line of "Tell what?" shouldn't have the second quotation mark.
- Rachel mentions that that Erek's massacre at Matcom Corporation from The Android took two or three minutes, whereas in The Android she states it took ten seconds.
- Erek is able to provide a massive electrical surge that causes both Mean Rachel and Nice Rachel immense pain, despite the fact that causing an individual any sort of physical harm is against the Chee's programming.