Title: Naked Mole Rat Saves the World
Author: Karen Rivers
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: October 15, 2019
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?
This book had a lot of mental health representation that isn’t common in children’s books. Kit’s mom has anxiety and doesn’t like to leave the house. Clem is depressed as a result of an injury in a talent show. Kit has alopecia universalis, which means that she doesn’t have any hair. I would have liked to see kit’s bald head accurately represented on the book cover, because that was an important part of her character.
There were some strange magical realism aspects to the story. When kit would get upset, she would turn into a naked mole rat. It was unclear whether this would actually happen or if it was the result her hallucinating during a panic attack. I found those parts a little confusing because I didn’t know if it was actually happening or not.
This is a good story for young readers to see different kinds of representation.
Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to Read Next:
A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers
The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden
Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for letting me participate in this blog tour.