Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty details the story of two boys, Max and Kevin, who desperately need each other. The boys, dependant upon one another for very different reasons, thrive in the company of one another. It is only through their friendship that each is able to grow.
One of the main themes of the novel is transformation. Each of the boys transforms individually through their friendship. Reminiscent of O. Henry's "The Gift of the Maji," each possesses something which the other needs in order to feel a part of the world and loved. Kevin, crippled from birth, relies upon Max to feel the freedom other children feel. Max, large for his size and shunned for it, feels acceptance from Kevin (something he needs in order to accept himself).
Both boys transform from individuals who cannot necessarily function "normally" in the world into ones who can. It is only as Freak the Mighty (the pair of them) that they are able to find the strength to face any and everything. Even with Kevin's death, and the loss of one half of Freak the Mighty, Max comes out transformed. He finds inner strength which allows him to move on with his life.
Both boys need the other to insure the transformation of each of them. Max needs Kevin to see his importance. Kevin needs Max to see that he can change the world.