Review / The Friendship War

Book: The Friendship War (2019)
Author: Andrew Clements
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Basic plot: When Grace visits her grandfather, she comes into the possession of a collection of old buttons. She brings the buttons to school and, bam! A fad of button-collecting is started. But soon she’s at odds with her so-called best friend, Ellie. This time, Grace doesn’t want to give in to her friend and so begins the Friendship War …

Opening lines from the book …
Flying from Chicago to Boston by myself hasn’t been as big a deal as my dad said it was going to be. But nothing ever is.


1) Let’s start with all the cool buttons! I’ve never thought too deeply about buttons, but I did very much enjoy learning about the different types of buttons, especially the vintage ones. I thought this information was handled nicely through the character of Hank, Grace’s new friend.

2) Since I love old things, I definitely felt a kinship to Grace as she wanted the buttons. I think, however, I might be a little more like Hank in wanting to know the history behind them. He does all the research.

3) This was an interesting study in how fads work. Grace has a very scientific approach to things, and this whole button thing is no different. I like the scene where she discusses the idea of supply and demand with her older brother. Which, of course, leads to the thing that gets her into trouble!

4) The war between the two friends was the focus of most of the book. I was definitely on Team Grace. But I do like what Andrew Clements did at the end to make Ellie a little more sympathetic. And how the friendship is eventually saved.

5) I liked the Grampa. (I like grandparents in stories like this.) I just wish there was more with him in the book!

6) Favourite Quote: “Of all the kids you knew back when you were in sixth grade, are any of them still your friends?” This is Grace talking to her mom about the trouble in her friendship with Ellie. If I were to ask the same question of myself, I can answer and say: “Why yes, yes I am!” 🙂


1) There were moments when I couldn’t fully believe in Grace’s motivation. One particular section is when she does decide to launch a full-out war against Ellie. I didn’t totally buy it. (I just had to remind myself to just keep reading.)


I found this interesting, especially compared with The Button War by Avi. While that book is historic fiction, both books deal with button collections. I enjoyed this book by Andrew Clements. (I believe it was the final book published before his death in 2019.)



Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

15 thoughts on “Review / The Friendship War

  1. For some reason, the title didn’t ring a bell, but I certainly remember the buttons! Clements is always a good choice for my readers who want shorter books. I am friends with one person I knew in 6th grade!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to love playing with buttons and I still think they are beautiful. While I have read almost every one of the books Clements wrote- I haven’t read this one. I do have it in my school library, so I will have to borrow it and give it a read. His books are always fast reads- which helps draw in a lot of readers.

    How interesting that this book focuses on buttons. I don’t recall ever reading a book in which buttons played such a big role.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved collecting different buttons as a kid and kept them in a round tin. Always wondered about the history, but was too young to research — if that was even possible. So this story appeals to me, especially since it starts a war between friends. Sounds like a lovely fun read!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just might have read every Clements’ book including this one. I too was fascinated by the buttons and how fads get started. Oh, and I’m still friends with my best friend in sixth grade, although we took completely different career paths. Thanks for featuring this book on today’s MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a really fun story! I’ve heard of some of Clements’s other books, but I was unaware that he had passed away. Still, I’m glad his stories continue finding an audience! Thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds intriguing! Andrew Clements has a knack for making the ordinary really believable and engaging. Having read the Button War, which was engrossing but also very chilling, this sounds more my style.
    My mother-in-law always had lots of buttons like this. It’s kind of cool to hear that there is a MG about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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