The Friendship War

by Andrew Clements
208 pages, Contemporary
Reviewed by bookishbeauty387

Great, clean, and entertaining middle-grade read, but with an uneducated view of the afterlife.


All fads come and go, but once they’re gone, they’re gone...right? When Grace Hamlin returns home from visiting her grandfather in Massachusetts, she accidently starts a trend at school with her button souvenirs. But as the new button vogue grows stronger, her long-time bond with Ellie grows weaker—and even dangerous. Add her new friendship with Hank into the mix and you have a catalyst for disaster! Will Grace be able to successfully stop the button fad and salvage her relationship with Ellie?


One of the main themes in this book is revenge, and why it’s wrong. When Ellie parts ways with Grace because of a really small matter, it asks the question: If a friend is mean to you and is only concerned about themselves, should you remain friends? This book takes a good, hard look at friendships and why loyal friends are so important. Grace struggles with “getting back” at Ellie, but eventually sees, with Hank’s help, that a wrong should not be returned with a wrong.

Spiritual Content

In light of the recent death of Grace’s grandmother, Grace and her mom have a discussion on whether people can still think, feel, and love after death. Her mother thinks so—but doesn’t give a very definite answer: “If you’re asking me whether your grandmother is still herself, still somewhere, then I would say yes, I believe she is....Do I know it, for sure? No. And I guess I won’t completely know any of this for sure until that moment when I die, or rather, I don’t die—when I figure out that I haven’t stopped thinking or stopped being myself. Where I will be at that moment, or what any of that will be like—I have no idea. Not yet.”


Two boys wrestle in the cafeteria over buttons, but are stopped by some teachers.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Ben teases Grace about her enormous button collection by calling her a “crackpot”. Otherwise none.

Sexual Content

It is suggested that two younger characters like each other, but the pair are just friends in this story. Also, Grace says her brother mainly thinks about music and girls.

Crude or Profane Language or Content



It seems cliché to say that Andrew Clements is master of the school story, but it’s true and cannot be said enough. Grace’s character is very believable for a sixth-grader, and I loved the absence of the offensive language that is so common to this genre. Other than 'Frindle', I think this is my favorite Clements story yet. I would recommend this book for anyone ages 9 and up, and anyone interested in middle-grade fiction.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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