Sunday, January 20, 2008
The Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato
I recommend this book for: grade 4-7
This one has been on my "to read" list for a couple of years, and I finally stopped pushing it out of the way. I'm glad - it was fantastic! Frankie, 12, is surprised, angry, and hurt to find out that her father met a woman and went on dates while he was away at a conference. When the woman (a keeper at the National Zoo who happens to specialize in naked mole-rats) sends Dad an email, Frankie quickly replies that she should never try to contact him again and takes desperate measures to make sure it doesn't happen. Along the way she finds herself getting into deeper trouble with Dad, her teachers, the school counselor (who sees Dad as her last chance to get married!), and her friends. Although she nearly burns the house down and makes a lot of people angry, Frankie eventually also sees beyond rumors to make a new friend at school, finally really comes to terms with her father over her mother's death, and - as much as she didn't want to - befriends "Ratlady" through their emails. A funny and touching book, it reminded me of the newer and also fantastic Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, by Lauren Tarshis.
But don't take my word for it!