Connor, Leslie. Truth As Told by Mason Buttle, The. Fiction. K. Tegen/HarperCollins, 01/2018. 329pp. $16.99. 978-0-06-249143-5. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-7.
Mason is the biggest, tallest, sweatiest seventh grader at Merrimack Middle School, whose best friend Benny died at Mason’s tree fort two years earlier, causing the police to still suspect that he knows something about it. When Mason reveals that he’s unable to read or write because he has synesthesia, a teacher at his school allows him to dictate into Dragon, a speech-to-text software that finally enables Mason to get out of his head and put his thoughts into words. Mason’s first-person narration is in short, choppy sentences, while his Dragon dictations are even choppier, coming across as somewhat stream of consciousness, both of which lend an authenticity to Mason’s voice. Mason is a loveable, honest, eternally well-intentioned character who is sure to grab the heart of readers (especially when the bully neighbor kid’s dog, Moonie, takes a liking to Mason), while other characters—like the grandmother and uncle with whom Mason lives on an apple farm, as well as a runaway, agoraphobic, online shopaholic who Mason’s uncle takes in—further flesh out the engaging and affecting world of Mason’s that Connor has created.
Eric Barbus, San Francisco Public Library