The Mason List by S.D Hendrickson | Review

The Mason List | S.D Hendrickson
Pages: 448
Genre(s): Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary
Published: January 10, 2014 | Self Published
Format: E-Copy
Source: Purchased | Amazon

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

I'm a HUGE FAN of contemporaries, so when I hop on Goodreads and see books whether they're Young or New Adult with a 4.00 or more rating, I always feel this magnetic pull that pushes me to make the purchase(s).  The only problem I have with being what I call a " Contemporary Connoisseur "  is that you always have such high expectations for the books you find with such great ratings, and The Mason List was no exception. The good news is -- it exceeded my expectations, but there was one thing I couldn't get over that kept me from giving TML the 5 stars it most definitely deserves.

Ready for the breakdown?

You're my past, my present, & my future . . . 

What caught my attention and inspired me to pick this up, was that The Mason List crosses not one, but two genres. We kick the story off with 6 year old Alexandra Tanner, and from there we venture on an emotionally charged rollercoaster of two friends, which doesn't end until they're 26. That may seem like a very long time, but it happened to be one of my favorite aspects of this story. We really were able to witness a genuine friendship, relationship, or whatever you choose to label it, from the very beginning -- the hospital visit that saved Alex's life.

Miracle Workers

It was hard to grasp how much our lives had changed in a year. 

At the tender age of 8, Alex was delivered some harsh news . . . her mother was diagnosed with cancer. From there the next couple of months go by in a blur, and before you know it, Alex's dad loses his job, get's evicted from the hotel they move into in a different town, and are forced to live and sleep inside their family truck . . . in the parking lot of the hospital where her mom is being treated.

Truly heartbreaking . . . but the sun can always shine, even on your darkest days . . .

After being pretty much homeless, and losing everything they've ever had including Alex's mother, The Tanners are offered what I call a Miracle. Mr.Mason, (the doctor of Alex's mother) his wife, and son, are probably one of the richest families in town. They own a farm called Sprayberry, with ton of barnyard animals, and enough oil to cover half of the united states. After taking notice to the Tanners situation, they ask them to move into a small cottage located on their farm. Alex's dad is given a job at the local hardware store, and Alex is given a roof over her head, clothes on her back, (expensive clothes i'm sure) as well as food to fill that malnourished tummy of hers. Life should be all good right? Hmph, not to Alex.

* Rolls Eyes *

Alex has an ass whooping with her name written all over it

Don't worry about why they were our miracle. You need to just be thankful they were the miracle and not be angry. Your mother wouldn't like to see you this way.

Well, I guess it's good she's dead.

* Insert exasperated sigh here *

For most of this book, you're not going to like Alexandra Tanner. She was an ungrateful bitch -- YEAH I SAID IT, and a complete ass towards her father. This man lost his livelihood, his wife, and you're going to act like he's being a pussy towards the situation? Yeah, so not cool. From the moment the Mason's lent a helping hand, Alex hated them. The Tanners were pretty much set for life because of them, and instead of being grateful, appreciative, or even freaking HAPPY, she reacted in a way that would have resulted in me getting my ass whooped back in the day. I found it so hard to forgive her actions, I mean I completely understand that she was a prideful little girl, who didn't want to be the butt-of-the-joke in the town, or a charity case for the Masons, it still didn't excuse her behavior. But for Alex there was one good thing about living on Sprayberry . . .

Jessup Mason.

A heart of gold . . . give this man a trophy  

Jessup Mason was perfection. He was cute, funny, sweet -- everything you would want in a good ole' country boy. He was a breath of fresh air, especially in those moments when Alex was a bit unbearable, but I will say he definitely bought out the best in her. From the very first time he met her, Jess treated Alex like a friend. During the rough times in the hospital when her mom was dying, Jess allowed her to forget her surroundings -- even for just a few moments, and she was finally able to live as the child she was supposed to be.

Another aspect of this story that I absolutely adored, was their friendship. It was such a pleasure to read, especially when they were younger. As kids, they never failed to land themselves in a heap of trouble. The mischief between these two were both hilarious & scary, as you witness treehouses being burnt down, trucks be crashed, and countless trips to the hospital for an accident. * sigh * They were just so freaking cute.

As the years passed by, feelings were formed, and things got a bit -- well completely complicated. Jess wanted Alex, I mean you could clearly tell he deeply cared for this girl, but being the irritating person that she was, she pushed him away time after time.

I love you, and you're choosing to not love me back. That hurts pretty damn bad.

I'm sure you can now see my frustrations with this book.

Train Wreck

As I mentioned before, this book is nothing more than an emotional rollercoaster. Just when things are going smooth, and you finally think it's going to go your way, something happens that knocks you completely off track. You know the saying, " We take 1 step forward & 100 steps back. " Yup, that's pretty much this book in a nutshell. I'm sure with my dislike for Alex during the early stages of this story is quite off-putting to you readers, but I definitely don't want that to keep you from picking this up.

 At exactly 95%, The Mason List takes a 360 turn that knocked me off my feet, and shattered my heart into pieces. Alex had finally become the genuine, appreciative, loving person I wanted her to be, but her world gets turned upside down once again. She grew into such a spectacular person, especially with her giving back to the community by helping those who are in the position she once was in, and I most certainly commend her for that. 

Alex will make you strangle her, Jessup will steal your heart, and this touching story of love, friendship, family, grief, and faith, will keep you on edge until you're ride has finally come to an end. 

Closing my eyes, I clutch his warm fingers and whisper in the darkness, asking for the impossible.

I ask for a miracle. 

Buckle up people. 

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