The Story

There are three things Howard Boward knows way too much about: bullies, wedgies and scientific experiments that go terribly wrong. Nobody said being the smartest kid in Dolley Madison Middle School was easy. Still, his biggest problem is what he doesn’t know—how to make friends. That changes when he realizes he has something other skinny, 12-year-old klutzes don’t: a laboratory in his garage.


Told by Howard, How to Make Friends & Monsters describes what it’s like to be on the low end of the seventh-grade popularity ladder. A freak accident in the lab gives him the friend he’s always wanted but there’s one small problem… it’s a monster. At first, Howard panics but after taking “Franklin” to school he discovers there are certain advantages to having a hairy, super-sized best friend. Things go so well, in fact, Howard starts to wonder if he might have a real shot at being an “UP,” the name given to a group of ultra-popular kids who, until recently, didn’t know he existed.

Franklin definitely changes Howard’s world for the better. But when he’s forced to manufacture more friends, Howard discovers there’s a reason his creations are called “monsters.” Can he stop them before they destroy the school and, with it, his only chance at popularity?

How to Make Friends & Monsters explores the joys of sleepovers, starlight, haircuts, football and sugary-sweet Gooshies. It’s a monster’s-eye view of growing up that reminds us that sometimes the hardest part of friendship isn’t making a friend—it’s being one.

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