The main characters, Max and Kevin ("Freak") are introduced. Max describes how Kevin, a boy he had known when they were much younger, has just moved in a short distance from his own apartment, in which he lives with his grandparents, Grim and Gram. Both of the children are now about to enter the eighth grade, and Max remembers how he was called "Kicker" (because he constantly kicked others) and how Kevin was known as Robot Man because of the leg braces he wore. Max's bedroom is in the basement of his grandparents' apartment, and he enjoys the privacy and solitude it offers. Max is a very large boy and a loner who has self-esteem issues concerning his size and his perceived lack of intelligence. He also has to live with a secret that is only briefly hinted at in the first chapter.