Freak the Mighty

Book review by
Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media
Freak the Mighty Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Outcasts join forces to conquer readers' hearts.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 100 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The novel deals with series issues such as mental and physical disabilities with heart and humor.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kevin is brave in the face of his illness, never gives up, and inspires Kevin inspires Max's progress. 


A gang member attacks the two main characters, and a man strangles two characters. A main character is kidnapped and nearly killed by his own father.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that one main character has a learning disability and lives with his grandparents because his father was put in prison for murdering his mother. He and his best friend, who is disabled and uses crutches to walk, also endure cruel and emotionally painful treatment at school from their fellow students for being "different." Despite the inherent seriousness of these themes, kids will enjoy the funny writing, quirky and likable characters, high imagination, and suspense. The book also includes a humorous dictionary.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17-year-old Written byKaceygurl123 November 18, 2010

Amazing, touching book!

This book is a really touching book about 2 special boys. For all of you people saying it's too violent for little kids. Why are you reading it to little k... Continue reading
Adult Written bytheatreteach September 12, 2009
I absolutely loved this story. It has great messages for readers of all ages. It deals with a lot of issues, such as friendship, myth and reality, death, and... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheDramaticArrow March 24, 2020

Loved It!!!

I absolutely loved this book! This is a fantastic story for middle and high schoolers!
I'll be honest, when I had to read it for a report, I was not excite... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byBlue45 February 26, 2020

10/10 amazing book for kids of all ages, kids shouldn't miss out on such a great book just because of parents being scared

Freak the Mighty is a great book about two boys becoming friends in a bad world

i think everyone should read this at least once.

What's the story?

A hulking "retard" and a brilliant, crippled boy become strong as they undertake imaginary quests and fight all-too-real criminals. The only thing they can't conquer is time. Max knows that people -- even his own grandparents -- fear him because he looks just like his imprisoned father, who's known as Killer Kane. He's huge, he can hardly read or write, and he lives in his grandparents' basement.

But his new neighbor, Kevin, in his tiny, deformed body, seems willing to accept him. The two become close friends, assuming a new identity when Max begins carrying Kevin on his shoulders. Kevin dubs them Freak the Mighty, and they wander their town using Max's mobility and Kevin's brain to conjure up exciting quests. With Kevin's help, Max learns to read and is allowed out of his special-education classes to join Max in his honors courses. But when Max's father is paroled, Max relives the horrors of his past, while Kevin tries to rescue him.

Is it any good?

Funny, scary, suspenseful, and wise, this book can help young readers accept kids who seem different from them. When you don't fit in, and you're a kid, what do you do? Max just suffers alone, compressing his emotions inside his massive body. Kevin fights back by letting his intelligence and his imagination soar beyond his deformed body. Even if he can't save himself, Kevin can save Max. He teaches Max how to use his imagination to create exciting adventures: Houses become castles, swimming pools become moats, and a hardboiled motorcycle mama becomes a damsel in distress. And he teaches readers compassion and that everyone is valuable and has something to contribute.

Through Kevin's courage in the face of his illness, readers learn the importance of not giving up when faced with difficulty, and they witness how Kevin inspires Max's progress. Kevin uses his vocabulary as a weapon and teaches Max how to use the dictionary, his favorite book. Max says that Kevin "pulls it out like Arnold Schwarzenegger pulling out a machine gun or something." Thus the character instills in real kids the power of words.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Max and Freak have been affected by cruel and relentless teasing from their classmates.

  • Are Max's criticisms about his brain accurate?

  • How does Freak help him see himself in a different light?

  • For kids, have you ever teased someone who was different?

  • If so, did you feel bad about it later -- and what did you do to make it right?

Book details

For kids who love school

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