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The truth as told by Mason Buttle
2018
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  Publishers Weekly Review

In this sensitively written novel, Connor (All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook) introduces a learning-disabled 12-year-old who will warm readers' hearts and earn their respect with his honesty and compassion. Mason Buttle may have trouble spelling words and be slow to understand some things, but he knows how to be a good friend. Ever since his best friend and neighbor Benny died in an accident in the Buttles' apple orchard, Lieutenant Baird of the police department has been badgering Mason with questions. Writing from Mason's point of view (including journal entries he composes using a speak-and-write computer program), Connor paints a vivid picture of Mason's world and the people who inhabit it: the grief-stricken grandmother and uncle who raise him, the neighborhood boys who torment him, and social worker Ms. Blinny, who provides a safe haven in her office. When Mason's new friend Calvin goes missing, Lieutenant Baird returns with more questions for Mason. Poignant and suspenseful, Mason's story crystalizes an adolescent boy's joys and fears as he comes into his own. Ages 8-12. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, DeFiore and Co. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-7-Calvin Chumsky, a brilliant seventh grader and the only friend of Mason Buttle, says, "The Universe is amazing. It knows what we want. And sometimes... it hands it over like a gift." Maybe so, but the Universe isn't kind to Mason Buttle. He is a large boy who has severe dyslexia and overactive sweat glands. He is plagued by two neighborhood boys who call Mason stupid and pelt him with lacrosse balls and mushy apples. One boy, Matt, not only mistreats Mason but beats up his own dog, who prefers Mason. Worse than the constant ragging is the memory of a tragedy that happened two years ago: Mason's best friend fell off a broken ladder to his death. Lieutenant Laird has hounded Mason ever since to remember more about the accident. Mason finds his comfort in his broken-down house, the secret hideout he and Calvin create, and a school room monitored by a caring social worker. Mason's family and friends have their own misdeeds and insecurities. Uncle Drum has sold off many acres of the family's apple orchards. Instead of working, he spends his days in a diner. Shayleen, a runaway, tries to fill her life with stuff bought on a shopping network. Connor expertly captures the camaraderie of Calvin and Mason, the overly permissive parenting of Matt's mother, and the suspicious attitudes of the townspeople toward Matt after the accident. The final line in the books says it all: "Knowing what you love is smart." VERDICT A poignant underdog tale that will resonate with many young readers.-Lillian Hecker, Town of -Pelham Public Library, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
<p>From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Leslie Connor, comes a deeply poignant and beautifully crafted story about self-reliance, redemption, and hope.</p> <p>Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason's learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason's best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family's orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can't understand why Lieutenant Baird won't believe the story Mason has told about that day.</p> <p>Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He's desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.</p> <p>But will anyone believe him?</p> <p>National Book Award Finalist * ALA Schneider Family Book Award * 2019 ALSC Notable Children's Book * Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018 * 2019-2020 Nebraska Golden Sower Award * Amazon Best Books of 2018 * Kirkus Best of Children's 2018 * New York Public Library Best Books 2018 * Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018 * 2018 Nerdy Book Club Middle Grade Winner</p>
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