Cover Image: Naked Mole Rat Saves the World

Naked Mole Rat Saves the World

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I didn't particularly care for the magical realism in this book; it didn't quite work for me  Thank you to Netgalley for this free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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Magical Realism is usually a MISS for me, this story was no different. I probably just was not the right audience for this one. I can see a lot of other readers... other younger readers loving this one. The story spent too much time on Kit's superpower and ability to turn into a naked mole rat. Of all the animals... a naked mole rat?? I digress. The story spent too much time on this one thing and not on why. Why is Kit able to do this? Why this particular animal? Why her?

There is not much else I can go into with this as it is not a deep or thought provoking story. It is straight forward but too simple at times. It will be a great read for much younger readers who enjoy super weird stories that are great for distracting for a few hours.
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I thought this was great fun, so I ended up buying copies for my nieces! I definitely recommend for 8+, if you like funny (and sometimes silly) fiction!
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This is not your typical middle-grade book. Rivers has given us a cast of unconventional characters who somehow seem ordinary despite their extraordinary circumstances. This is a complex, unapologetic book, overflowing with powerful emotion, necessary magic and superhero naked mole rats—really, what more can I say?
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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.
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I didn't get to read the whole book, but I enjoyed what I read so far. As someone who has anxiety, it was nice to see a character dealing with all the quirks that can come along with anxiety. I do plan on finishing the book, and will provide an updated review then.
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Although I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher (via netgalley) it in no way reflects the opinions in this review.

Overall, I thought this was a wonderful book. It showed a story from the viewpoint of a girl with a disease but doesn't show her as broken or fragile, which I appreciated. I really loved the way that it showed her panic attacks. That's how they feel sometimes and I wonder if some kids will connect with her that way. One thing that did bother me is that her first name is never capitalized. Seriously. I understand that it was part of the story but it was REALLY frustrating. The relationship between Kit and her bff Clem is an interesting one and I love that it isn't perfect because what middle school best friend friendship is. Another relationship I thought was a good one was the one between Kit and her mother. You can tell there are some real issues there and they aren't hidden and it doesn't show this picture perfect life like some books have. I love the imperfect characters in the book. Its what makes the book I think. Overall this is a wonderful middle grade book and would recommend it, I think my girls would like it.
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Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers is such a cute and quirky little book. This book stars out a bit slow but I feel like I redeemed itself with the super clever story-line. I thought this story was beautifully written. It is very entertaining. The story is filled with so much friendship and it does a great job with touching on mental illness. I think Rivers does a good job touching base on the importance of depression for a young reader and social anxieties. I don't think we see enough of these important topics in our kid lit books.
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Kit ‘s name is suppose to be in all small letters but after reading the story I don’t agree therefore I will use Kit in my writing.  Kit is twelve years old.  Her mother owns/works in the salon below their home.  Kit has alopecia and her single mother has an acute anxiety disorder. Kit’s illness keeps her hairless which makes everyone think she is having chemotherapy as she doesn’t wear wigs.  Kit hangs out with Clem and her brother.  Clem is her best friend.  She is going to watch Clem and her family do an acrobatic show on tv to win money.  Sadly Clem falls during the act which has never happened before.  When Kit sees Clem fall, she is horrified and wants to know if Clem is okay.  Clem ends up in the hospital.  The tv station gives the family money so they won’t be sued by the family.   Clem and Kit become distant with each other when Clem comes home from the hospital.  Why?  Kit is unhappy losing Clem as a friend.  Will Clem and Kit ever be friends again? 

This lovely story introduces an illness — acute anxiety that affects Kit’s relationship with her mother.  Kit keeps hoping that her mother will be able to overcome it.  It’s done with just the right introduction and gentleness of her mother’s illness and Kit’s lack of hair.it shows how others see it and what they do or don’t do when interacting with Kit or her mother.  I really like seeing Kit’s growth throughout the story.
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3,5 STARS

This was a cute and interesting read..It deals with some topics that concerns everyone ,  depression, mental illness and friendships.. The story was a little slow ,  but so many things were happening..At some point I was feeling lost.Kit and her friends are really relatable, and their struggles will certainly help children to empathize.
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This adorable Middle Grade is a well written story about how mental health affects two young friends who experience the same incident in two different ways. One from the outside and one first hand.

kit (with a lowercase k) has always taken care of her mother who struggles with anxiety and rarely leaves the house. Even her mom’s hair salon is in the ground floor of their building. After kit experiences the first panic attack she realizes she may struggle with the same things her mom does, it just manifests differently. Karen Rivers did a great job at describing the feelings of anxiety and panic that kit feels along with describing her transformation into the mole rat she becomes when she gets stressed. I thought it was a good representation of mental illness and how it can affect young people kit’s age. It was well written and accurate portrayal of anxiety.

Clem experiences a traumatic event and her moods start to change. She starts to have mood swings that lean toward the negative and kit starts to wonder what is happening. What kit doesn’t know is that since Clem’s accident she’s started struggling with depression. Clem knows the accident was her fault but doesn’t want to admit it even though she believes her brother Jorge feels he’s to blame. By holding in the events of that day she starts to unravel and it eventually takes a toll on her relationship with kit.

If you’re looking for a middle grade that addresses mental illness than you’ll enjoy this one. It’s serious without being too deep which I enjoyed. The characters are well developed and the friendship so sweet all while you get to read about how each one of them learns to acknowledge their struggles and work through them.

I picked up the audio on Audible and it is really well done. I thought the narrator did a wonderful job and would definitely recommend it.
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So Kit (with a small k) has the power to turn into a tiny naked mole rat when the need arises. Her best friend Clem and her have been undergoing some major changes in the past months since Clem was hurt while performing for a tv talent show. They have fallen apart, previously best friends but now estranged as their lives have diverted off course.

I found myself really enjoying the character of kit. Although she is a young girl who has lost most of her friends, she was extremely resilient, helping others in times of need. While she is predominantly seen at home or at the local dog shelter, the reader can really empathise with her plight – we both found herself cheering her on the closer to the conclusion of the novel we came.

Kits mother is more or less an agoraphobe and refuses to leave the house except to head to her beauty salon downstairs at their house. Leaving kit along for prolonged periods has made her small but beautiful daughter self sufficient and always willing to take any opportunity she has been given. This character kind of reminded me of a childhood friends mum so I was easily able to  relate to her.

The story, while middle grade in its current form could easily take on a different genre had it been aimed at an older audience. It deals with loss, grief, changing relationships and depression. The references to real life circumstances make the characters all the more relatable. Although simple due to the target audience, I found the prose utilised was extremely efficient at communicating the heavy content and themes involved in this novel.

Despite it being a middle grade novel, I tore through Naked Mole Rat and quickly passed it on to my daughter to read. While it had some heavy themes, the tale was told in a way that was overall upbeat. The changing points of view give the reader a very good understanding of both sides of this amazing friendship. It would be a novel valuable in teaching tweens that although things change and relationships may fall apart, most of the time its for the better
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4.5
This is a quirky middle grade fantasy set in Brooklyn. The fantasy is lightly touched on and unexplained, but it intersects beautifully with the inward life of an anxious child of a very anxious mother.

At the heart are four friends, age twelve, verging on thirteen. We switch between the points-of-view of kit (small k, as she is so small; she was also born with no body hair, so her mom called her her little naked mole rat) and Clem. Filling the corners of this friendship are Clem's twin brother, Jorge, and Jackson. The latter is now kit's enemy, because he--a kid from a family full of cops--took it upon himself to find out who kit's real father was, and tell her, ruining her fantasy that her father was the Night Sky.

The book starts at a slow pace, with clever, sometimes almost artificially clever, self-consciously artful description, making me wonder for a while who the read audience would be. It seemed a bit too heavy on the poetic afflatus for a kid reader. But once the story gets going, the pacing smooths out and the language is beautiful, sensitive, and full of insight as well as heart, as kit struggles not to fall into her mother's anxious paranoia while trying to value everyone around her.

Clem is also struggling. Early on we learn that she and her brother are the last performers in their family trapeze act, and while doing a gig on TV, something bad happened to Clem. She's still paying the emotional and physical price.

But--and this is so sensitively done--the older reader sees that these kids are feeling the first stirrings of the teens they will become. The boys in particular are thoughtfully written. Jorge is a wonderful kid, thoughtful, helpful. Clem is a knotted ball who drives everyone away while struggling, even when she is offered help. Jackson is elusive, until kit begins to gain some insight, and slowly we get to know him, too.

There is a lot about depression, and kit and Clem might be a tad too aware for twelve-year-olds, and yet I think this would be perfect for the bookworm sort of reader. At twelve the reading child (different from the child forced to read) will often try everything, and I would frankly love to see this book fall into their hands, especially the sort of reading child who has social anxieties, or struggles with depression, or who might have a disability that keeps them in in the reading chair.

The way Rivers weaves the magic in is so deft. Magic, as magic, does not fix all the problems--it is instead incidental to the real work the characters do to put themselves on the path to renewing their friendship and finding themselves.

A lovely book.
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This story follows two friends from their point of view. Kit and Clem have been friends from years. But one day Clem has an accident and it changes her life. And at the same time Kit is trying to figure out herself and how to understand what her Single Mom is going through.

The story telling is for the POV of these chatacter was good. And detailed. Yes there were some parts were the story is very slow. But other then that you get to see them devlope as chatacters and come to an understanding. The naked mole rat part was too bizzar and very different take for the story.

This was good read. Thank to the Algonquin Young Readers for providing with the E-Arc. *But this in now way has affected my review of the book
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When I was first approached to take part on the blog tour for Naked Mole Rat Saves the Day, I was ecstatic. I don’t get a chance to discuss as much Middle Grade as I would like to and the book sounded emotional and exciting (and more than a bit quirky with the main character transforming into a naked mole rat whenever she’s stressed). I disregarded the fact that my first and only other experience with the author wasn’t that great and let my optimism rule.

Kit (spelled kit – with a small k, thank you very much) is not having the best year. As if dealing with middle school wasn’t bad enough, she’s no longer speaking to one of her best friends, and watched another best friend horribly injure herself on national television. Her mother was once a one-hit wonder and now she’s aiming for a comeback and kit never knew her father; her mother always said he was the stars and kit was more than happy to accept that until Jackson blurted out her father’s true identity.

Though she won’t tell her other friends why she’s no longer speaking to Jackson, they do know they’re not to speak to him anymore either. And once Clem is released from the hospital, she doesn’t seem like the same bestie kit knew. She’s moody and sad – and holding in a secret.

I’ll cut right to the chase and say that Naked Mole Rat Saves the Day didn’t work for me, unfortunately. While it was certainly a one-sitting read (admittedly due to a lot of skimming on my part), I couldn’t help but feel the book was weighed down with an overabundance of heavy topics: mass suicide, a parent’s mental health, another parent found someone else and left the family, the MC learns the identity of her father, another character learns the grandmother had been married previously and the mom’s dad had actually died before she was born/grandmother didn’t realize she was pregnant. There are also themes on friendship and growing up and a completely random scene in a shelter where it’s announced all the animals need to be adopted ASAP or they’ll all be put down. All the while, the main character spends scenes turning into a naked mole rat (I never understood this) and that odd mix of magical realism/fantasy was extremely jarring when thrown in between mentions of mass suicide and mental health.

My previous novel of the author’s, A Possibility of Whales, was another too-quirky novel that didn’t live up to my expectations. In that book, the main character’s father, a celebrity, has his name in all caps anytime it’s mentioned. In Naked Mole Rat, kit (short for keep it together) is written in all lower case. I’m not sure if Rivers’s other books do this as well; just another way to try and make an already strange book feel ‘unique.’

Sadly this one didn’t work for me. There was a too-strange juxtaposition between extremely heavy topics and random scenes where the main character transformed into an animal. There was a checklist of issues in this book ranging from mental health to suicide to family secrets and I wish the author would have instead chosen to focus on just one or two. Instead I felt I was constantly on edge, bouncing from one issue to the next. This story might work better for tweens and I’m sad to say I didn’t enjoy it as I had hoped.
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I really tried to like this book, honestly I did, but I just don't think it was my cup of tea. First of all, I definitely am not the audience since this is kidlit, but I do think kids will really enjoy this very weird book. Second, I just didn't really GET it. I feel like magical realism can be really hard to pull off and it just didn't work for me here.

The magical realism in this book pertains a lot to Kit's superpower that she can turn into a naked mole rat. I feel like the book doesn't spend a lot of time on this and we never learn WHY it happens. I don't think she ever actually tells anyone about it either. It was very confusing and I found this super frustrating. The book just felt really stream of consciousness, which I think made sense for a book in the eyes of a child, but I just couldn't get into it.

I also want to point out that bringing up drinking the kool-aid and Jonestown in a kidlit book is SUPER weird. BUT ALSO! inaccurate! They didn't drink Kool-Aid, it was Flavor-Aid. (I listened to 5+ hours of Last Podcast on The Left about this so this factoid is ingrained in me. I defer to Marcus Parks research here.) I feel like that's not going to be a deal breaker for other people, but it just really annoyed me because it's mentioned multiple times. 

I definitley feel like kids would get this book, especially with how emotions are all over the place when you are on the cusp of adolescence. I just don't think this truly weird book was for me. 

*I received a review copy of this book via the publisher from Netgalley and voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Okay, so you’re probably thinking this book sounds weird. And it is a bit weird. But oh. My. Gosh. It’s layered. And complex. The characters face incredibly challenging things and have these really complicated, very believable (okay except for the changing into a naked mole rat part!) responses to those situations. I love both kit and Clem. Their friendship felt so real. So did kit’s troubling relationship with her mom.

One thing that was tough for me is that though the book has some characters dealing with mental health issues, there isn’t really anyone calling that out and offering help. Kit feels an incredible burden, but she doesn’t know where to turn and the only other adult regularly in her life encourages some enabling behavior rather than seeking help.

I know sometimes that’s really what happens. Sometimes there isn’t anyone really looking out for a person who’s barely treading water in the midst of anxiety or depression. This book made me want to find all the kids like kit and do something to help them. To provide them with better support.

Overall I totally love this book. The emotional journeys of kit and Clem gripped my heart. I love the way the friendships felt so organic and real. I love the way Clem’s grandma told awkward family stories and laughed at strange moments.

I think readers who enjoyed FLORA & ULYSSES will love NAKED MOLE RAT SAVES THE WORLD. It’s got a lot of the same kind of deep emotional wrestling and quirky departures from reality.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Naked Mole Rat Saves the World is definitely a quirky book. It’s fun, but it also has its serious moments, which makes it feel dynamic and entertaining. The book is about friendship, but it also touches on the subject of mental illness in an beautiful way.
The story jumps off the page. It’s beautifully written and it’s well paced. It captured my attention right from the start, and it didn’t let go throughout. Despite this being a fantasy and despite the fact that magic plays a big role in the book, it still feels very realistic. Especially the characters. It’s impossible not to connect to them, and their development is masterfully executed in the text.
Overall, it’s an unputdownable book. I recommend it.
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I am always on the lookout for middle-grade books. I have a tween who devours books left and right. My son can’t read them fast enough. So, when I read the blurb for Naked Mole Rat Saves the World, I thought of him. From the blurb, I thought that this would be an excellent book to read. But, after reading the book, I do have some doubts about letting him read it.

The storyline for Naked Mole Rat Saves the World centers around two friends, kit and Clem. kit (always spelled with a lowercase k) lives with her mother above her mother’s beauty salon. kit is dealing with a lot for a girl of 12. Her mother is a famous ex-singer who is agoraphobic (among other things). She never leaves her apartment or beauty salon. That leaves kit shouldering a majority of her mother’s responsibilities.

On top of that, kit is tiny due to being born a micro-preemie, and she suffers from Alopecia Universalis. She has zero hair on her body and is often mistaken for a cancer patient. It is a lot for a 12-year-old to handle.

Clem is kit’s best friend. She and her brother, Jorge, come from a loud, vibrant family. Clem’s family are acrobats, and they are good at it. So good, that they decide to compete on a show like America’s Got Talent. It’s on that show that Clem has an awful accident. That accident has a ripple effect on her and kit’s life.

The plotline for Naked Mole Rat Saves the World was steady. It is perfect for younger kids or adults who like books that are on the slower side. There was some lag, but the author was able to get the book back on track. I also loved the world and character building.

I felt terrible for kit in Naked Mole Rat Saves the World. She was raising herself. She had to deal with a lot for a 12-year-old. Her best friend changed (and not in a good way), her mother was falling deeper into her mental illness, and there was this guy robbing people dressed up as Batman. No wonder she had anxiety. She was alone when she first changed into a naked mole-rat, and it scared the bejesus out of her. There was a point where I wondered if transforming into the mole rat was all in her head (a symptom of her anxiety), but I was proven wrong.

Poor Clem. Her life drastically changed after her accident on national TV. She turned into this Goth/emo girl who was nasty to everyone. She pushed people away (including kit) and acted out. She became fascinated by her biological grandfather, who was one of the victims in the Jonestown Massacre. I was worried about her, and I couldn’t believe that her parents and grandparents weren’t concerned with her drastic personality change!!!!

There were several sub plotlines in the book that were interesting too. Such as Jackson and why kit hated him. I got why she hated him (he shouldn’t have done that). I also understood why he did it. He was hurting and wanted kit to hurt with him.

I didn’t like Samara. I know this is a kids’ book, but I wanted to throat punch her after that one scene. I was MAD. How dare she say that to kit. Not only was unacceptable, but she overstepped her bounds. kit was allowed to have her dreams and wish her mother could do things.

The end of Naked Mole Rat Saves the World was the best part of the book. The author was able to merge all the plotlines. I also loved that kit was able to use her superpower to save her mother’s world!!!!

I do want to include a warning about Naked Mole Rat Saves the World. Several subjects come up that might not be appropriate for younger kids. To name some of them: bullying, Jonestown (and how the people died), depression, mental illness, and anxiety. Now all these as a whole isn’t bad, but kids might have questions about them. Also, some kids might be triggered them. So be prepared to answer questions while reading the book.
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First of all, thanks to NetGalley and Brittani and Kristen from Algonquin Books for sending me an eARC in exchange for a honest review.
You have to know English isn’t my first language, so feel free to correct me if I make some mistakes while writing this review.


Magical realism isn't really my thing, if I have to be honest - so getting the whole idea of someone turning into a naked mole rat was something it took time to adjust to. 

One of the main characters is kit - kit written in lower case because before she was even born, "keep-it-together" was her mom's mantra. 
And her mother needed to believe it - she was a pretty famous singer with a hit song still playing on the radio, but then her anxiety and her fears got the best of her and now she can't even leave her house. 
kit loves her and she knows she has to be strong for her, but sometimes she gets frustrated - it would be nice being taken care of for once in a while and she's also afraid to become like her mom someday. 

kit has always been small - so small her mother called her "her baby naked mole rat". And one day she turns exactly into one. 
It happens on the day she sees her best friend Clem falling while performing an acrobatic routine with her family on a talent show - at first kit believes in a hallucination, but it keeps happening when she's stressed or afraid. 
kit can't even talk about it with Clem because after the falling and the many broken bones, Clem isn't herself anymore - now she's sarcastic, with black clothes and black make-up, lying about the way she really feels and why she fell. 

Both girls keep secrets and kit wonders why can't she turn into a bird to fly away from everything or into another animal much stronger or more beautiful?
What a naked mole rat can possibly do? Can it really be the answer to everything? 


I was fond of kit, but Clem was definitely my favorite because I saw so much of my younger self in her. 
I got all the darkness, her being mad and wearing all black, her lying and the way she was sometimes mean with those around her. 
I got everything about the way she felt once she found out about a grandfather she never knew existed - because the one she's known all her life isn't the biological one.
I got her obsession because it was the same as mine when I found out the same thing so many years ago - I have a grandfather and an uncle I never got to know and it's like missing a piece of a family puzzle: who could I have been if they were in my life? 

Magical realism isn't my thing, but I liked the friendship and the issues between kit and Clem and their personal growth. 
Other characters are well written and developed, but I admit it was difficult for me getting into the story in the beginning - I felt myself involved only in the second half of the book. 

Since it's a middle grade, the issues presented in this book could have been less in number - less and better developed. 
Because topics like mental illness, mass suicides, parents leaving their child behind when they find someone else, animals being put down if not adopted are definitely tough and they need to be well-crafted for the readers - especially if the book is a middle grade. 
Nonetheless it was a nice reading and it sure is a particular book - the whole turning into a naked mole rat is left without an explanation and the scenes kit spends as that animal aren't as many as you think they would be. 
So yeah, if you are into magical realism I think you'll feel a little bit disappointed - you have a feel something is left unfinished and I liked better other aspects of this book.
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