Freak the Mighty : 20th Anniversary Edition
by Philbrick, W. R.

At the beginning of eighth grade, learning disabled Max and his new friend Freak, whose birth defect has affected his body but not his brilliant mind, find that when they combine forces they make a powerful team.

Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick has written more than a dozen novels for young readers. In 1993, he published his first children's book, Freak the Mighty, which became an instant classic, and was made into a feature film. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg was a 2010 Newbery Honor Book. Philbrick's other acclaimed novels include Max the Mighty, The Young Man and the Sea, The Last Book in the Universe, Zane and the Hurricane, and Wildfire. Philbrick divides his time between Maine and the Florida Keys. You can learn more about him on his website:

``The unvanquished truth'' concerning the extraordinary friendship between Kevin (``Freak''), a brilliant 12-year-old whose birth defect prevents growth, and gigantic Max, who recognizes in his new two-foot-tall neighbor the feisty kid with crutches he knew in daycare years ago. Meanwhile, Max has his own troubles; he can barely read, making school an ordeal, and since his dad's in jail for killing his mother, he lives with gentle Gram and the aptly named Grim in a fairly rough neighborhood. As ``Freak the Mighty''-as they call themselves when Freak perches on Max's shoulders, guiding him like a horse and issuing instructions-the two have much to give each other. With Freak's quick wits and Max's long legs, they explore the neighborhood and best a gang of bullies on July 4. Freak, with his vast vocabularyand imagination to match, is uncondescending but uncompromising. He gets Max involved in his elaborate fantasy games and lures him into reading; when school starts, Max (somewhat implausibly) is placed in the gifted class to help his friend. When Max's father gets out on parole at Christmas, a mesmerizingly suspenseful sequence echoing the earlier rout of the bullies ensues. Max's description of their friendship-ostensibly written, after Freak's death, in the blank book Freak had given him-is gritty, unsentimental, sparked with Freak's wry verbal wit and Max's earthier humor, and ultimately poignant. Easily read but compelling: an intriguing and unusual story. (Fiction. 10-14) # Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

Well, I was a butthead, because like I said, I never had a brain until Freak moved down the street. That summer before eighth grade, right? That's the summer I grew so fast that Grim said we'd best let the boy go barefoot, he's exploding out of his shoes. That barefoot summer when I fell down a lot, and the weirdo robot boy with his white-yellow hair and his weird fierce eyes moved into the duplex down the block with his beautiful brown-haired mom, the Fair Gwen of Air.
Only a falling-down goon would think that was her real name, right?
Like I said.
Are you paying attention here? Because you don't even know yet how we got to be Freak the Mighty. Which was pretty cool, even if I do say so myself.

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