Freak the Mighty Critical Overview
by Rodman Philbrick

Freak the Mighty book cover
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Critical Overview

Freak the Mighty has won numerous awards—a Judy Lopez Memorial Award Honor, the New York Charlotte Award, and young reader or children’s book awards from several states. Critics have praised several aspects of the novel, especially how emotionally moving the story is. Libby White specifically notes the book’s empathy for its characters. Nancy Vasilakis highlights the novel’s plot and the author’s ability to articulate universal human themes through uncommon characters. Writing for the Times of London, Nicolette Jones calls the book “a small classic” and celebrates the novel’s use of language. Marilyn Makowski notes the novel’s “unique voice” and praises its pacing. 

A rare exception comes from Publishers Weekly, where an anonymous reviewer labels the book’s actions as improbable, the characters as clichés, and the emotional ending as cloying. Reviewing the novel for Booklist, Stephanie Zvirin agrees about Freak’s improbabilities, but she argues that they do not occur to the reader until after the suspense and the intense emotion of the friendship and adventures have passed.