Naked Mole Rat Saves the World is just what readers expect of a Karen Rivers' book: quirky, funny, and heartbreaking. kit (spelled with a lower case "k" because she's so small) is dealing with more than just "normal" middle school problems. Her mother struggles with mental illness issues. Her mom used to be a famous singer, but now she's so anxious, she can't leave the house. In fact, she's so anxious that kit is named after her mom's tattoo: k.i.t. which means "keep it together," and kit turns to this phrase throughout the book.
kit's best friend Clem was injured after a fall during the show "The Most Talented Family in America," and now she's shut herself off from kit and their friendship. While Clem deals with depression, kit tries to navigate alone.
Young readers will empathize with the friendship between Clem and kit and the loss kit feels as she wanders. Rivers' characters are believable and lovable. kit will remain with readers long after they close the book.
This is one read with tons of heart and will likely lead to spirited discussions in middle grade book clubs about anxiety, depression, friendship, mental illness in families and how to seek help. I received the ARC of this book which did not contain phone numbers for depression or mental health helplines. The finished book is likely to include toll-free numbers and how to seek help. It would be a plus to include questions for book clubs as well.
Highly recommended for readers who enjoy great characters and value friendship and compassion. Recommended for any middle grade book club and whole class reads. Grade 5 and up.
304 pages 9781616207243 Ages 10 and up
Keywords: superpower, mental illness, mental health, friends, friendship, secrets, middle school, anxiety, depression, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, mother/daughter, emotional intelligence, emotions, feelings
Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, Librarian, Florida USA
See more of her recommendations: https://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/
Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world?
Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When she’s stressed, she turns into a naked mole rat.
It first happened after kit watched her best friend, Clem, fall and get hurt during an acrobatic performance on TV. Since then, the transformations keep happening—whether kit wants them to or not. Kit can’t tell Clem about it, because after the fall, Clem just hasn’t been herself. She’s sad and mad and gloomy, and keeping a secret of her own: the real reason she fell.
A year after the accident, kit and Clem still haven’t figured out how to deal with all the ways they have transformed—both inside and out. When their secrets come between them, the best friends get into a big fight. Somehow, kit has to save the day, but she doesn’t believe she can be that kind of hero. Turning into a naked mole rat isn’t really a superpower. Or is it? ---from the publisher