Reviews for The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

by Leslie Connor

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Dyslexic seventh-grader Mason is grieving the death of his best friend, Benny, and is a victim of intense bullying. Lieutenant Baird of the local police believes Mason knows more than he's saying about Benny's death. When new friend Calvin goes missing, too, Mason is again under suspicion. Mason's voice is honest and true, and the multifaceted characters both enrich and propel the narrative. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Life hasn't dealt 12-year-old Mason Buttle a winning hand. Since the death of his mother, he has lived with his grandmother and uncle Drum (who both suffer from depression). Also, his best friend, Benny, has died after falling from a treehouse an accident that Lieutenant Baird thinks is somehow Mason's fault. What's more, Mason is constantly bullied because of his learning difficulties and his size (he's the largest, sweatiest kid in seventh grade). A bright spot enters Mason's life, however, in the tiny form of his new friend, Calvin Chumsky. Together, they make a hideout in an old root cellar, but when Calvin goes missing, Mason is again suspect. Throughout this realistic problem novel, Connor's portrayal of Mason is spot-on, and the seventh-grader's honesty shines through as his greatest attribute. Laced throughout the story, and evident at the end, is hope for a brighter future, both for the entire family and the community. Reminiscent of Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty (1993), Connor's novel provides a thoughtful look at human nature, resilience, and love.--Petty, J. B. Copyright 2017 Booklist

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Under a cloud of suspicion after the death of his best friend, a boy with a "trifecta of troubles" continues as best he can.Lt. Baird is sure seventh-grader Mason Buttle knows more about the death of Benny Kilmartin than the story he's told over and over. Now he's writing it, with the help of speech-recognition software in the school social worker's office (a process that is reproduced with unlikely accuracy). In a moving first-person narrative, Connor reveals a remarkably distinct and memorable character. Loyal and good-natured, Mason is large for his age, highly dyslexic, abnormally sweaty, and the regular target of bullying neighbor boys. He feels his emotions as colorsgreen for stress, shades of pink for happiness. There hasn't been much pink in Mason's life in the 16 months since Benny's accidental death, but now there's a new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, and the bullying neighbor's dog, Moonie, who prefers Mason. Using Mason's conversations with the detective and his voice-to-text storytelling, the author weaves the back story into a narrative of redemption chronicling his growing friendships. The climactic revelation reveals the gaps in everyone's understanding of the event and propels his struggling, white, apple-farming familygrandmother, unemployed uncle, and the stray, shopping-addicted young woman his uncle brought hometo make some needed changes. Connor's gift for creating complex characters extends to the supporting characters and makes this a compelling read. (Fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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.