Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE NAKED MOLE-RAT LETTERS by Mary Amato

THE NAKED MOLE-RAT LETTERS

By Mary Amato

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: June 15th, 2005
ISBN: 0-8234-1927-4
Publisher: Holiday House

Seventh-grader Frankie Wallop has enough problems: No mother, two wild younger brothers and a perfect reputation to uphold. She certainly does not need a father who is dating, especially if he’s distance dating a naked mole-rat expert who lives in Washington D.C. From their home computer in Pepper Blossom, Ind., Frankie tries to nip the relationship in the bud by intercepting e-mails and sending false responses. One lie leads to another and soon her life is in shambles. Her grades slip; a pizza fire that’s her fault blackens their kitchen; one brother is spying incessantly and the other is missing. Help comes from an unexpected source: Ratlady—and all ends well. Shifting between e-mails and diary entries, Amato does a good job of portraying Frankie’s inner turmoil and creating the atmosphere of a very small town. At times, the convention of the diary entry seems forced; there is length and detail a bit out of proportion with Frankie’s age and free time. However, middle-graders looking for a realistic summer read with laughs and a few misty-eyed moments won’t be disappointed. (Fiction. 8-12)