Andrew Clements, the king of the middle grade novel, is back with The Friendship War, a tale of collection, buttons, friendship, and fads. Clements never disappoints, and if you ever had a group of friends obsessed with a certain book or fidget spinners or something, you’ll really understand this book.
Grace is a collector, she always has been, so when she visits her grandfather in Massachusetts and discovers he had bought an old mill, she can’t stop looking for things inside to collect. That’s when she finds the buttons. ALL OF THE BUTTONS. This former textile mill is full of buttons of all shapes and sizes and materials and Grace convinces her grandfather to ship them all home with her. When her teacher starts discussing the Industrial Revolution, Grace volunteers to bring in some of the things she found at the mill, like the buttons and old scissors and the like, to show and tell. But she’s absolutely blown away when everyone becomes fascinated with the buttons. Soon, everyone at school has button mania, and scientific-minded Grace is trying to use the scientific method to understand what is happening and why. Are some buttons worth more than others? What makes someone want to trade buttons? Where do people get all these buttons, and why, all of a sudden, is her best friend not talking to her anymore?
This is the story of unbalanced friendship, fads and collections,supply and demand economics, and discovering your passion in the strangest places. Grace isn’t a perfect protagonist. She’s a little selfish and her collection obsessions (especially the acorns!) made me break out in a tiny rash, but Marie Kondo would have lost her crap. Oh lordy, let me tell you. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoy everything Clements writes and can’t wait for his next book!