The Naked Mole-Rat Response to Oxidative Stress: Just Deal with It, Antioxidants & Redox Signaling

The Naked Mole-Rat Response to Oxidative Stress: Just Deal with It

Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Department of Biology, The City College of New York, City University of New York, New York, New York.

Department of Biology, The City College of New York, City University of New York, New York, New York.

Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Department of Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Abstract

Significance: The oxidative stress theory of aging has been the most widely accepted theory of aging providing insights into why we age and die for over 50 years, despite mounting evidence from a multitude of species indicating that there is no direct relationship between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and longevity. Here we explore how different species, including the longest lived rodent, the naked mole-rat, have defied the most predominant aging theory. Recent Advances: In the case of extremely long-lived naked mole-rat, levels of ROS production are found to be similar to mice, antioxidant defenses unexceptional, and even under constitutive conditions, naked mole-rats combine a pro-oxidant intracellular milieu with high, steady state levels of oxidative damage. Clearly, naked mole-rats can tolerate this level of oxidative stress and must have mechanisms in place to prevent its translation into potentially lethal diseases. Critical Issues: In addition to the naked mole-rat, other species from across the phylogenetic spectrum and even certain mouse strains do not support this theory. Moreover, overexpressing or knocking down antioxidant levels alters levels of oxidative damage and even cancer incidence, but does not modulate lifespan. Future Directions: Perhaps, it is not oxidative stress that modulates healthspan and longevity, but other cytoprotective mechanisms that allow animals to deal with high levels of oxidative damage and stress, and nevertheless live long, relatively healthy lifespans. Studying these mechanisms in uniquely long-lived species, like the naked mole-rat, may help us tease out the key contributors to aging and longevity. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 1388–1399.

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  • Copyright 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

    • Published in Volume: 19 Issue 12: October 4, 2013
    • Online Ahead of Print: December 7, 2012
    • Online Ahead of Editing: October 1, 2012

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    www.liebertpub.com

    Naked Mole Rat Saves the World

    Can Kits super-weird superpower save her world?

    Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When shes 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 happeningwhether kit wants them 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? . more

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    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, 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.

    Copy provided by NetGalley . more

    :(( this was such a strange story — i had a difficult time trying to figure out what everything meant.

    A huge thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for the chance to be a part of this blog tour.

    Naked Mole Rat Saves the World is definitely a quirky book. Its 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. Its beautifully written and its well paced. It captured my You can also read this review on my blog illbefinealonereads.

    A huge thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for the chance to be a part of this blog tour.

    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.

    *Copy received through NetGalley
    *Rating 4/5 stars

    Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be released October 15, 2019, by Algonquin Young Readers.

    kit, deliberately spelled with a lower case k, for numerous reasons, lives with her agoraphobic mother. K.I.T. stands for keep it together, her mothers mantra before kit was born. When kit arrived her mom thought she was too tiny for a capital letter. Her mom was once a famous singer, but her mental illness has become so debilitating that kit has to take care of Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be released October 15, 2019, by Algonquin Young Readers.

    kit, deliberately spelled with a lower case k, for numerous reasons, lives with her agoraphobic mother. K.I.T. stands for keep it together, her mother’s mantra before kit was born. When kit arrived her mom thought she was too tiny for a capital letter. Her mom was once a famous singer, but her mental illness has become so debilitating that kit has to take care of everything to do with life outside their apartment complex. To add to this, kit has alopecia universalis. This means she has no hair anywhere on her body and is often mistaken for a cancer patient. It’s already a lot for a young person to deal with.

    The book begins with kit watching her best friend, Clem, and her acrobatic family on a reality TV show, where they hope to win the most talented family in America prize. When Clem falls and is injured, kit becomes so stressed that she transforms into a naked mole rat.

    Clem ends up spending a lot of time in the hospital before she can return home.

    A year later, we discover that both of the girls are changed from this experience. Clem deals with her trauma by transforming into an angry goth girl. kit’s anxiety, and her transformation, seems to have increased along with her mother’s agoraphobia.

    Rivers takes us into the headspace of the two girls in alternating chapters through third person narrative. Since the accident they have been unable to share their most important secrets and this ends up creating unspoken conflict between them.

    Before the book begins, Clem and kit were part of a tight group of friends that included Jorge, Clem’s twin brother, and Jackson, whose mom looked after kit when she was small. Something happened between Jackson and kit that created a division in the group. We don’t learn what this is until the book is well under way. Finding their way back to who they used to be means they all have to learn to listen to each other in new ways.

    Karen Rivers has created a quirky, middle grade, coming of age novel. The friendship issues are authentic for the age group. I just needed to love these characters more than I did right from the start. I trust Rivers enough as an author to keep reading and eventually I came to care about them, but it wasn’t till I was well into the book. Then I couldn’t stop reading. I’m not sure younger readers will wait that long. My other quibble with the book is that although I ended up enjoying this, Rivers has given her characters a lot to deal with. It seems like too much to me.
    . more

    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 moms 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 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. . more

    This review was originally posted on my review blog Deanna Reads Books
    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 This review was originally posted on my review blog Deanna Reads Books
    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. . more

    Book: Naked Mole Rat Saves the World
    Author: Karen Rivers
    Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

    I would like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with this ARC.

    This is probably the strangest book Ive read in a long time. I honestly have never read anything like this or so far out there. Now, this does not mean that this is a bad book, but it does take some getting used to. I also didnt know that this was magical realism when I started. Im honestly not a fan of magical realism; its really hard to Book: Naked Mole Rat Saves the World
    Author: Karen Rivers
    Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

    I would like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with this ARC.

    This is probably the strangest book I’ve read in a long time. I honestly have never read anything like this or so far out there. Now, this does not mean that this is a bad book, but it does take some getting used to. I also didn’t know that this was magical realism when I started. I’m honestly not a fan of magical realism; it’s really hard to me to get into.

    So this book is a middle grade book, but like with some many other middle grade books as of late, it features a lot of well-developed characters and a complex plot. I did personally enjoy some elements of this, but at other times I didn’t. a lot really wasn’t explained for much of the book. The author expects you to know what is going on and just go along with it. I guess this is why I’m not sure a huge fan of this genre; I enjoy world building and I really want to see it in all of my books.

    The characters are really fleshed out, which is also something that I liked. I like how we knew a lot about some characters, but others we really didn’t know anything about. It really added to the whole world building aspects and actually made me keep reading because I had to know just what kind of a role these characters were going to play.

    While the writing style was really enjoyable and simple, there were a lot of elements that just didn’t really make sense or were fleshed out a lot. I feel like had we had more detail, things would had felt better…If that makes any sense…It’s quirky and out there, but it just felt like there wasn’t enough there. Okay, what I’m getting at is everything felt rushed, which made it kind of difficult to connect with everything.

    I know a lot of other people have pointed this out, it’s the last hundred pages that really make this book. It just feels like that is the core of the story. However, with this being a standalone-I believe it is, correct me if I’m wrong-that is a big problem. I honestly feel like as a middle school teacher a lot of my students would DNF this book because of how the pacing is.

    Anyway, this book comes out on October 15, 2019.
    . more

    Disclaimer: I recieved this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

    Author: Karen Rivers

    Book Series: Standalone

    Publication Date: October 15, 2019

    Genre: MG Fantasy

    Recommended Age: 10+ (little violence and a little bit of being a hero)

    Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

    Synopsis: Can Kits super-weird superpower save her world?

    Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When shes stressed, she turns into a Disclaimer: I recieved this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

    Author: Karen Rivers

    Book Series: Standalone

    Publication Date: October 15, 2019

    Genre: MG Fantasy

    Recommended Age: 10+ (little violence and a little bit of being a hero)

    Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

    Synopsis: 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?

    Review: I thought this was a cute book! The concept behind it was intriguing and overall it was absolutely adorable! The characters were developed and had great interaction with each other and I think it was a great coming of age story!

    My only issue is that the pacing was really slow and it’s hard to get into at first.

    Verdict: Super cute and cool! . more

    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 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 . more

    Karen Rivers, I’ve found, has a very distinct and divisive writing style. Her books always have this vibe; it’s kind of experimental and marked with a lot of risky stylistic choices, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I can always tell that I’m reading a Karen Rivers book shortly after opening it. So, if you’ve read other Karen Rivers books and didn’t like them, you probably won’t like this one either. That said, if you were to give any of her books a try, I think it should be Karen Rivers, I’ve found, has a very distinct and divisive writing style. Her books always have this vibe; it’s kind of experimental and marked with a lot of risky stylistic choices, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I can always tell that I’m reading a Karen Rivers book shortly after opening it. So, if you’ve read other Karen Rivers books and didn’t like them, you probably won’t like this one either. That said, if you were to give any of her books a try, I think it should be this one.

    Naked Mole Rat Saves the World is an undeniably strange book. A kid turns into a naked mole rat, and her name is spelled without a capital letter. Her mother is a one-hit-wonder singer with severe agoraphobia. Her best friend is an acrobat who fell during a televised reality show competition and then discovers her biological grandfather died at Jonestown. There’s a man in a Batman mask robbing houses. There’s a lot of stuff that might be metaphor but it might also be magic. It’s weird. But it’s also oddly beautiful. The mix of resentment and love kit feels for her mom is so present in all of their interactions. The anxiety right before whenever kit turns into a naked mole rat is palpable. There is something so honest and raw about the way the characters interact with each other, especially when they’re lying. Everyone has strange little habits that make them feel real. But, in my mind, the standout here is Clem.

    Clem is quite probably the best representation of adolescent depression that I’ve read — definitely recently, and perhaps ever. The empty anger, the lashing out at loved ones, the inside jokes that aren’t funny anymore. Knowing you need help but never being able to ask for it exactly, so you change the way you dress and do your makeup in an effort to make your outsides match the way you feel while trying to not make it obvious you’re depressed but also hoping someone notices and not understanding how they don’t. (And, okay, I laughed out loud at the «vintage emo clothes» bit on page 55. That was brilliant, and also I felt very called out/old.) If this book had existed when I was 12, I . okay I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have read it because I was in my pretentious too-good-for-children’s-books phase, and the cover makes it look like it’s aimed pretty young. BUT. If this book had existed then, I SHOULD have read it, and then I should have made my mom read it, and then I might have had words for at least some of the things I was feeling instead of relying on someone to notice that I was trying to scribble myself out with eyeliner. I just wish Clem existed in a book that was less strange so that more people would meet her.

    Also, the author’s note at the end is really nice and affirming. . more

    I took part in the blog tour for Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers.!

    See my blog tour post and read an excerpt from Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers here.!

    I am always on the lookout for middle-grade books. I have a tween who devours books left and right. My son cant 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 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. . more

    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 isnt 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 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. . more

    NAKED MOLE RAT SAVES THE WORLD tells the story of kit, whose name is lowercase because she was too small for an uppercase letter. Her mother was a famous singer whose anxiety now keeps her indoors, and her mother named kit after the tattoo she has that is keep it together (k.i.t.), a mantra which kit frequently repeats. Kit has a rare condition where she doesn’t have any body hair, and her mother has fondly called her a naked mole See my full review here: https://www.yabookscentral.com/kidsfi.

    NAKED MOLE RAT SAVES THE WORLD tells the story of kit, whose name is lowercase because she was too small for an uppercase letter. Her mother was a famous singer whose anxiety now keeps her indoors, and her mother named kit after the tattoo she has that is keep it together (k.i.t.), a mantra which kit frequently repeats. Kit has a rare condition where she doesn’t have any body hair, and her mother has fondly called her a naked mole rat.

    Kit actually hates being called that, as she has told her BFF, Clem. Clem and her brother Jorge frequently hang out with kit, and they are part of an acrobatic family act. Until, that is, Clem falls onstage and is injured during the show The Most Talented Family in America. Since then, Clem has been different. Since then, kit has been having panic attacks, where she thinks she is actually turning into a naked mole rat and which she worries will become like her mother’s.

    They are all on the cusp of being teenagers, and this also brings its own challenges and changes. Navigating school and their home lives is hard enough- adding on the friendship troubles may be too much.

    What I loved: The book portrays mental illness in a way that is understandable for the middle grade audience, and I think this was done well (depression, anxiety in particular). Kit and her friends are really relatable, and their struggles will certainly help children to empathize. The book is fast-paced and engaging to read. The plot carries forward easily and is certainly intriguing with many interesting bits about changes and challenges of growing up and dealing with friendship evolutions. Kit also acknowledges that hurt people hurt people, which is a real piece of wisdom that can be imparted on the reader and also help them to empathize with others.

    What left me wanting more: While there is good representation and portrayal of people with mental illnesses, these are not really visibly treated (particularly for Clem who is struggling with depression and not sure how to reach out for help). It would have been great to see more about therapy or treatments, and/or at least to see Clem figure out a way to ask for help.

    Final verdict: Overall, this was an engaging and fun read, perfect for the middle grade audience. Recommend for readers looking for a heartfelt book about growing up, dealing with mental illness, and navigating evolving friendships. . more

    Thank you to @Algonquinyr and #karenrivers for sharing an advance copy of Naked Mole Rat Saves the World with the #kidlitexchange network. This book will be released on October 15, 2019. All opinions are my own.

    At first, kit’s* life seems pretty normal. She enjoys eating cookies, roller skating, volunteering at the animal shelter, and hanging out with her best friend, Clem. She lives with her mother who is a former one-hit-wonder and has severe anxiety, so severe that @kidlitexchange #partner

    Thank you to @Algonquinyr and #karenrivers for sharing an advance copy of Naked Mole Rat Saves the World with the #kidlitexchange network. This book will be released on October 15, 2019. All opinions are my own.

    At first, kit’s* life seems pretty normal. She enjoys eating cookies, roller skating, volunteering at the animal shelter, and hanging out with her best friend, Clem. She lives with her mother who is a former one-hit-wonder and has severe anxiety, so severe that she won’t even leave their building. Clem’s life changes dramatically the night she watches Clem fall during a televised talent competition. Now, kit has a super weird secret: sometimes, without warning, she will turn into a naked mole rat. Following the accident, Clem isn’t her usual self and kit doesn’t feel comfortable sharing her naked mole rat secret with her. Both girls are changing, inside and out, and aren’t sure how to navigate through these transformations.

    This is a cute book. The major focus of the book is overcoming your fears, finding your courage, and recognizing that not all change is bad. The story is told through the alternating perspectives of kit and Clem. Through these alternating views the reader develops a greater understanding of each girl, their personal history, and their current struggles. There is a large focus on character development in the novel. I really like that kit has alopecia universalis as it isn’t something you often see in books (especially those written for middle grade readers). I also thought the concept of a naked mole rat super power was really cool. The power though, only shows up a few times in the book and it’s almost a you-blink-and-you-miss-it situation. I know that turning into the naked mole rat isn’t the point, it’s the personal discoveries that kit makes that are really important, but honestly I was a little sad that this component wasn’t more prevalent. The book is full of jokes and important lessons about forgiveness and friendship. . more

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was really excited for this book. Naked mole rats became my favorite animal when I was in 5th grade, and was tiny, nice, and very weird. So, I went in really wanting to enjoy this book.

    Overall, it was a good read which possessed some exciting features I usually dont get to see, but also with a few details which could have been tweaked for clarity.

    Ok I loved the accurate portrayal of what its like to be a young person only just starting to grapple with parental mental illness I was really excited for this book. Naked mole rats became my favorite animal when I was in 5th grade, and was tiny, nice, and very weird. So, I went in really wanting to enjoy this book.

    Overall, it was a good read which possessed some exciting features I usually don’t get to see, but also with a few details which could have been tweaked for clarity.

    Ok I loved the accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be a young person only just starting to grapple with parental mental illness (agoraphobia), their own depression and injuries, and the fear of ending up like one’s own parents. I thought that part of the book was very powerful with regards to both protagonists. Also, while not a magic person myself, I found it a nice change of pace to see a Brooklyn kid depicted as growing up with Wicca lite practices. I’ve known several of them in real life.

    Something I found less clear was the link between kit having a panic attack and imagining herself or actually becoming a naked mole rat. Given the title of the book, I was surprised that this storyline didn’t feel like the keystone. Along with that, the ending felt rushed, and I’m not sure if I believe in the likelihood of a convenient break in.

    I was unsure about the depiction of alopecia universalis. I want to see a review by a person who has the condition. I’m pretty sure it was reasonable though. I liked where it’s mentioned that kit doesn’t like to wear wigs because she recognizes it would be for others comfort and not her own.

    Overall, a very good read in contemporary middle grade. Definitely a good one for kids as well as adults who are invested in the emotional lives of tweens. . more

    www.goodreads.com

    See also:  Aphids on Chilli Pepper Plants - How I Solved The Problem
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