Parents' Guide to

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Riveting, poignant drama explores kindness, friendship.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 8+

Compelling story and characters

We read this book aloud as our "family book" (mama, dad, 2nd and 4th grade boys) and the whole family was captivated. The characters are real and complicated people, and we all felt invested in them. The book has positive messages of empathy and accepting differences, but it isn't patronizing. Content warning: the story deals with the death of a child (not graphically), and bullying.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 12+

Sad book ends on a hopeful note

Summary with spoiler: A boy with learning delays is lonely and bullied. His best friend died recently and as the book progresses, Mason realizes that much of the town believed he was the cause. He makes a new friend and together they build a new hide out away from the bully next door. At the end, it's discovered that the bully purposely damaged the ladder which caused the child (Mason’s friend) to fall from the treehouse and die. Despite all this, the book manages to end on a somewhat hopeful note as Mason's unusual, ragtag family find purpose in revitalizing the orchard on their land. Though graded low reading level, content is mature. Includes the death of a child, same-sex parents, bullying, and swear words. Also, the book is written from the perspective of Mason which takes a while to get used to. I almost didn't finish the book because of it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Leslie Connor has created another unforgettable, unlikely hero in Mason, a large, lonely seventh-grader whose grieving heart aches for just the simplest moments of connection with the people he loves. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle unfolds in his remarkable voice: straightforward, frank, and full of sweet surprises. Connor (Waiting for Normal) surrounds Mason with well-meaning adults struggling to wade through their own grief and regret. Though he's steeped in loneliness, Mason is an optimist: He takes everyday miseries in stride and seeks out people and places that show him kindness and warmth. Sad but never bleak, the story offers a gentle lesson on what a difference a little kindness and patience can make.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate