Howard Boward is the typical geek at school: he’s good at science, he doesn’t have any friends, he’s extremely pale, wears glasses, and is a bully magnet. When his mother gives him a book about how to make friends, he decides to take it literally and MAKES a friend. By collecting some DNA, using a glob of Wonder Putty, spritzing one of his experimental mixtures onto the concoction, and exposing it to electricity, Franklin is born.
Franklin Stein is Howard’s best friend and they do everything together—joining the football team, attending classes, playing games, etc. But when Howard gains popularity by association and the Uber Popular kids (the UPs for short) think he’s “How-cool”, Howard ditches his friend. The UPs don’t really care about Howard; all they care about is what they can get from him—Monsters of their own.
But the monsters take on the personalities of their owners, and UPs are rotten to the core. When Howard finally realizes what the UPs actually think of him, will it be too late to make amends with Franklin and save the town?
What I liked:
It was a cute story. Franklin seemed like a great guy, fun to hang out with, not a bad bone in his body. The message of treating others how you want to be treated, and keeping an open mind are nice, too.
What I didn’t like:
I really wanted to sympathize with Howard about his lack of friends, but I found myself thinking that if that was how he behaved, of course he was a loner. I know that the purpose of the story is to see how Howard grows and changes, learning about himself and other people in the process, but there were some inconsistencies.
Sure, it’s not high literature, but I still have expectations.
For one, if Howard doesn’t like how he’s treated by other people, I think that would make for a powerful lesson in how he should treat other people. This primarily applies to his “lab assistant” and sometimes tolerated friend and weird little neighbor.
Secondly, if the monsters take on the personalities of the Facespace profiles they were connected too, why is Franklin such a nice monster? We see a lot of negative qualities in Howard, even if he doesn’t realize he has them, but we don’t see any of them in Franklin. This makes me question if Howard takes on these qualities because he is hanging with the Ups. Or does Howard really know how to make a good profile that doesn’t show any negatives about his character?
These are not make or break questions, but they do make for some interesting mental fodder to keep in mind while reading the story.