Monday, February 4, 2019

MIDDLE GRADE REVIEW: The Friendship War by Andrew Clements


This is war. Okay--that's too dramatic.
But no matter what this is called, so far I'm winning.
And it feels wonderful.

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?


Once again Clements demonstrates his knowledge and understanding of life in elementary school.  In this book, he takes on the power of fads as well as friendship.  Grace has returned from visiting her grandfather with numerous boxes of buttons.  She adds them to her collection of miscellaneous items.  This seems harmless enough until she inadvertently helps start a fad that leads to conflict with her best friend, Ellie.  As the stakes get higher, Grace has to decide what she is willing to do to 'win' this 'war'.  Maybe the cost of winning is a little too high.  I found it interesting to read about Clements own experiences with fads both at home and in his classroom and how that lead to the creation of this story.  The book is an easy read that many middle grade readers will be able to relate to in it's take on the ups and downs of both fads and friendships.  I also enjoyed reading about a character like Grace who sees the world a bit differently than those around her, and her friends find that okay.

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