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August 08, 2013

Review: How to Make Friends and Monsters by Ron Bates

Title: How to Make Friends and Monsters
Author: Ron Bates
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: August 7, 2013
Genre(s): Middle Grade (Fantasy)
Source: Publisher 
Format: ARC
Pages: 224
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Howard Boward, a 13-year-old boy-genius with a chip on his shoulder is too smart for his own good. He has troubles making friends---possibly because he complains so much. Until one day a science experiment goes haywire, and Howard creates a best friend for himself---Franklin---who also happens to be a monster. Creating Franklin was an accident, not like Howard was playing God or anything---or so Howard tells himself. Franklin and Howard are having so much fun, Howard decides to create more 'friends, ' using DNA from kids at school. Only, these friends aren't quite as friendly. Soon there's a major mess and Howard has to sort it all out before the monsters destroy their human counterparts. But terminating the monsters proves harder than he imagined. They didn't choose to be monsters; they can't go against their innate nature. Howard finds himself facing consequences for playing God. Getting rid of the monsters means learning to tame his own inner beast, and Howard begins to understand the meaning of free will and true friendship
Meet Howard Boward, a fully fledged stereotypical nerd who has a knack for getting bullied. He is super skinny, has braces and nerdy glasses, reads Goosebumps by R.L. Stine in the bathroom, and is a thimble collector. All throughout middle school he is known as How-Lame or How-Weird. Until an amazing mistake happens that turns some Wonder Putty and animal fur into an amazing monster named Franklin. Franklin is innocent, polite and finds his way rising to the top of the popularity ladder. Howard’s best friend Franklin is the only reason why he is hanging out with the UPs (Uber Popular), but when things take a turn for the worst, and all the UPs want a monster of their own, Howard must decide between his best friend or popularity.  
Such a cute book! I didn’t like Howard as much as some of the other characters, maybe its because I know that friends are more important than popularity. I can’t really relate to Howard, because I (thankfully) have friends. My favorite character was a girl named Winnie, who Howard befriended, only to end up losing her as a friend. I liked her because all her words got through to Harold. I don’t know, I feel like she would be a great friend.  
The ending bothered me a bit, I mean it was tied up nicely, but some details were thrown in randomly (details which would be spoilers, so I won’t say) which I didn’t appreciate. Thats the only thing that really bugged me. Can you guys guess what kind of POV this was? Thats right! First person!! Immediately, I liked this book much better. How to make Friends and Monsters is a cute and fairly quick read, and would totally recommend this book to kids ages 11-14. Bye!!


  1. Looks like a cute read and a good lesson about real friendship versus popularity. I know many people kind of have to learn the hard way that real friends are more important than popularity.

  2. I honestly can't connect with a main character that is younger than me for some reason. :( And although, I don't think I'll pick this up, I do like the friendship theme going on here. I am curious to see the outcome of this. Glad you enjoyed this overall, Danna! Great review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  3. Awe, it does sound like a cute read. Thanks for sharing it, I'm off to find it. I think my daughter and I would love it. Great review.

  4. This book sounds like a really light and funny read! Even though you weren't able to connect with Howard, I'm glad you still liked him and his friends. It sucks when an ending ruins the book, but overall it seems like you enjoyed this one! Fabulous review, Danna!

  5. Aww this sounds like such a cute book, sorry you weren't able to connect with Howard's character that much Danna, but I'm glad you still enjoyed this book. Cute review! :)

  6. Glad you mostly enjoyed this, Danna, even with not relating to the main character well. I love first person as well. Great review! :)

  7. I'm glad you liked this overall, even if you couldn't connect completely with Howard. I love that he is a thimble collector. ;) This sounds like a fun read. Great review, Danna!

  8. This sounds so cute!! Glad you enjoyed it. Shame you couldn't relate to Howard. I guess I can relate Howard on the whole geeky aspect but like you said, Friends are way more important then popularity. Thanks for stopping by my haul. Great Review :)

    - Sunny