An epic love. An epic hate. An epic story that would last a lifetime.
Today, 8:15 p.m.
I hurt. I hurt so deeply, I felt the pain searing in my bones and jabbing like a hot poker into my heart. I knew nothing would make it better as the memories pulled from the crevices of my mind, detailing the bad and the ugly, filling my thoughts with regret as I slipped into the darkness. . .
When I was eight, my mother was dying of cancer, my father lost his job, and the bank kicked us out of our house. I was forced to move to the strange town of Arlis, Texas where my father and I slept in our car in the hospital parking lot. Desperate and hopeless, we lived on fumes of our former life.
Then one night, everything changed forever. A knock on the car window brought a family into my life that I only wanted to shut out. I hated charity and I hated the Masons. Well, except one. He made it impossible to hate him.
Jess Mason had the biggest blue eyes and ornery smile of any boy I had ever seen. He was a ray of sunshine in my dark world. A boy full of adventure, dragging me across the meadow of Sprayberry Ranch; a beautiful Texas paradise full of horses and tree houses that got us into more trouble than anyone ever imagined.
Jess was my everything as a kid until we grew up and the rules changed. Instead of living happily ever after with a boy full of love. . . I destroyed it.
– Alex Tanner
Author Note: The Mason List is a coming-of-age story that follows the life of Alex Tanner from the age of six to twenty-six. The novel crosses the genres of Young Adult and New Adult. The Mason List is a standalone, 118,940 word, full-length novel.
“We’ve got somethin’ that people look for their whole lives. We just found it when we were eight.”
I am soooo glad I decided to read The Mason List. It was recommended by a friend, and thank God I listened and read.
First and foremost, let me commend this debut author on a job well done. S.D. Hendrickson’s writing isn’t one of a debut author. I would swear this was a NY Times Best seller penning the words of this story. No joke. She’s poetic; her beautifully flowing words melted my heart and in the same breath made me want to jump off a bridge.
The way in which she laid this story line out was genius. She started off in the present and took us back to when Jess and Alex first met at eight years old, and their story unfolded from there. Occasionally throwing in some present time chapters, which honestly made me cringe. She was very smart in picking and choosing what information she wanted to reveal, which lead to the angst factor!! Big time!
Jess and Alex truly have an epic story to be told. And it all starts when Alex’s mom dies when she is eight years old. Jess’s parents are there to pick of the pieces for Alex and her father. They are taken to Sprayberry, the ranch where Jess and his parent live and raise cattle. It all happens on Sprayberry.
Jess and Alex develop a very close friendship/love very early on; one that is unique and special. Through very clever, deep and stellar writing, the author takes us on a journey. This journey is not an easy one by no means.
Many times during the process (and yes, this was a process) of reading The Mason List I cried tears of sadness. Oh, there are tears of joy as well. But not before the author decides she wants to rip your heart out a couple of times. I had a good 4 heart attacks while I read. But I survived!
Jess is one boy/man that I will cherish and never forget. The love he has for Alex is unwavering and can’t be duplicated. With every chapter, and as they grow older, he just becomes more and more amazingly sexy, and romantic, and caring. He’s a good son and an even better friend. I can’t say enough about Jess.
Alex, I loved her too. And I hated her at times. Well, maybe I wanted to slap her around a bit. She drove me bananas but I can sympathize with her reasoning for why she makes the choices she does over the years. Thanks to some of her poor choices, I was subjected to a ridiculous amount of hurt.
This book is also very descriptive. I can honestly say, I know exactly what Sprayberry looks like and smells like. I know every porch, every tree stump, and window sill. If I could jump into any book and want to re-live any story, I am sure this is the town, the ranch, and the friends I would definitely want to keep. Especially if Jess was my best friend.
The whirlwind of emotions you feel in all 400 plus pages of this book are out of control. At one point I had to stop reading; needed to regroup. I think I went through a mini depression. It just all felt so real; the author is that good and evoking such feelings. I cried that’s for damn sure. And I hurt; my heart actually hurt.
But was it worth it? Abso- fucking – lutely. This book is FILLED with Angst!!! FILLED!! And love and friendship, resentment and hurt. Everything. It has everything.
I give The Mason List 5 stars and 5 HOLLAS across the board; for writing, for storyline, for character development.
It’s unforgettable and will stay with me for a long time. I can’t wait to re read this and put myself through more torture.
“I’ll always promise. You, me, and Sprayberry and burnin’ shit down.”
About the Author
S.D. Hendrickson lives in Tulsa with her husband and their two schnauzers. She loves chocolate, romance books, Oklahoma State Cowboys, music, Lost, chocolate, beaches, coffee, cooking, beautiful sunsets, Friends, chocolate, sad puppy stories, dreaming of Australia, guacamole, quotes, Netflixs bing watching, Dawson’s Creek, chocolate, hot tubs, exotic animal rescues, going on vacation, Friday Night Lights, writing, and of course, chocolate.
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