A welcome feeling surrounds me every time I open a new Andrew Clements book. He has over 80 published so far. Most are about school and have a unique twist on life inside those walls.81x7EGJFMTL.jpg

Sixth grader Grace narrates the newest story. She has an emerging scientific mind and loves to test out theories. Her best friend is a “do it my way or no way” type of personality and their friendship ends thanks to buttons—the kind on your clothes.

At first I thought how improbable, but then it all makes sense. Fads come and go like Pokemon cards, fidget spinners, and even marbles back in the day. Why not button collections? They actually have a fascinating history and I found myself checking out the buttons in my own closet.

Grace gets boxes of buttons from her grandpa who is still grieving the loss of his wife. She brings a few to school and soon everyone is collecting and trading for the best ones. Kids create bracelets and belts all in good fun. Grace makes predictions as to how her actions will fuel the button fad. What she can’t predict or fix is the breakup with her best friend. Leave it to new friend Hank and a different view of friendship to hopefully bring this war to an end.

Clements’s books can be light in nature, but always have a few tough issues buried inside. The length makes a perfect friend to those looking for the old style of MG books that were around 200 pages. You also get an entertaining story.



Grace and Ellie have been best friends since second grade. Ellie’s always right in the center of everything–and Grace is usually happy to be Ellie’s sidekick. But what happens when everything changes? This time it’s Grace who suddenly has everyone’s attention when she accidentally starts a new fad at school. It’s a fad that has first her class, then her grade, and then the entire school collecting and trading and even fighting over . . . buttons?! A fad that might also get her in major trouble and could even be the end of Grace and Ellie’s friendship. Because Ellie’s not used to being one-upped by anybody. There’s only one thing for Grace to do. With the help of Hank–the biggest button collector in the sixth grade–she will have to figure out a way to end the fad once and for all. But once a fad starts, can it be stopped?


  1. The relationship between Grace and her grandfather is special. It’s all about supporting one another and the results are heartwarming.
  2. Who knew there was so much history surrounding buttons? The ones you find each have a story and many are valuable.
  3. Hank is the perfect friend. He always wants to know why and his scenes with Grace were my favorite.
  4. Hurray for a story that doesn’t have a dozen issues crashing down on the MC. There’s also no divorce—just a loving family taking care of their kids.
  5. Emerging readers or those who haven’t quite caught on to the joys of reading can start here with a easy to understand story that forces you to think.


I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1949 and lived in Oaklyn and Cherry Hill until the middle of sixth grade. Then we moved to Springfield, Illinois. My parents were avid readers and they gave that love of books and reading to me and to all my brothers and sisters. I didn’t think about being a writer at all back then, but I did love to read. I’m certain there’s a link between reading good books and becoming a writer. I don’t know a single writer who wasn’t a reader first. Before moving to Illinois, and even afterwards, our family spent summers at a cabin on a lake in Maine. There was no TV there, no phone, no doorbell—and email wasn’t even invented. All day there was time to swim and fish and mess around outside, and every night, there was time to read. I know those quiet summers helped me begin to think like a writer. (Read more at Andrew’s author website)


I received a copy of the book for my honest review. Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Andrea says:

    I’ve heard about this one before and your review reminded me how much I want to read it!

  2. My son and I loved The Loser’s Club–and we just got this new book out of the library. Your review makes me excited to read it!

  3. I saw another positive mention about The Friendship War. I agree with you that sometimes there are so many themes that challenge a MC, it can become quite tricky. I like the idea of collecting buttons and how it turns into a fad. Very entertaining.

  4. This makes me wonder what ever happened to my mother’s button box. She had an old, green, metal lunch box that was filled with wonderful old buttons. Wish I had it. The story sounds great. I will look for this one. Thanks for the post.

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