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Twelve-year-old Mason Buttle struggles with a learning disability and has been incessantly bullied by his peers. He can’t help but feel that he and his family have been “subtracting instead of adding”—six years ago, his mother and grandfather died, leaving the rest of his family with an apple orchard they could no longer manage. As life crumbled down around them, a third tragedy struck—Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, died in their orchard.

Now Mason can’t understand why there’s an ongoing police investigation into his friend’s death or why he’s being repeatedly questioned about what happened even after he already told all he knows.

With the help of a school social worker and a new friend, Mason gains a new perspective and begins to heal, even as the truth of what caused Benny’s death is revealed.

In this emotionally charged juvenile novel, which contains several instances of profanity, young readers will encounter the life-changing repercussions of bullying. They will also see how Mason and his new friend deal with questions of spirituality and life after death by attributing power to the universe and believing one can connect with the deceased in heaven by way of sunbeams. Children raised with the belief in Jesus’ resurrection and eternal life with him will recognize that these views run counter to the truth as revealed in God’s Word.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle introduces characters that are real, complex, and intriguing. Especially in Mason, readers will encounter a poignant, loyal boy who triumphs despite many hurdles. Ages 8 and up. (Katherine Tegen Books)

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