I've had The Mason List by author S.D. Hendrickson, downloaded on my iPad's Kindle app for quite some time now. Probably six months at least that I've had it actually, on the advice of several fellow book lovers. I kept putting it off and putting it off for some reason. I think that I wasn't sure what to expect with it, so I didn't feel any need to immediately jump right in and read it, so there it sat for months on end waiting for me. The other day I finally decided to read it, mostly because it was just bugging me that I hadn't read it yet and remembered that lots of people liked it and told me how good it was.
The Mason List was an awesome read! Before I say anything else about the story, I just have to tell you that I really really loved this story. It all begins with Alexandra, waking up in a hospital after having some type of mental breakdown, before going back in time to when she was only eight years old. We see her as a young girl, dealing with the impending death of her mother and all the things that come along with that, from her mother going to the hospital, to her father losing his job, and the aftermath of dealing with such a life-altering situation. Enter Jessup Mason and his family. Jess is a rough and tumble boy of eight years who immediately takes a liking to Alex and they fast become the best of friends.
The book leads us through their friendship over the years and updating us every two years on what's happening with them, while slowly continuing to take us back to Alex in the hospital. As readers, we're still not sure exactly why she's there or what has happened until finally they're past catches up to the present and we find that Alex remembers what caused her to land in the hospital, why she needs to leave, and who she needs to see. (How's that for being vague? ;) )
I love the way this story was written with the going back in time and then leading us right up to the current day in the story between Alex and Jess. I think Hendrickson did a fabulous job of really developing the main characters and building up their relationship. While reading, they felt so real and so alive to me that when they had a big fight, I was hurting for them, crying, because that wasn't how I wanted their story to end. I didn't want them to say the mean words to each other and inflict more pain.
I believe this is Hendrickson's first novel and I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed, not just because of the tremendously wonderful characters, but the story line was wonderful too. I love that instead of the rich people looking down on the poor family that she switched it around and gave the poor girl a reason to dislike the rich. It wasn't because they were mean to her or treated her badly, but simply because they were rich and could do what she and her family could not.
The only complaint I have is that I'm a HUGE stickler for endings and this did not end to my satisfaction. It was abrupt and a bit cut off, like it was rushed to simply hurry-up-and-end-the-story-already. I feel like with such a long and drawn out story, with such a giant build up, that to end it like that did a major disservice to the characters that the readers had grown to fall in love with. Hendrickson is just lucky that she did such a great job on the other 90% of the story that this reader (and likely a couple others) is willing to let it slide, even if I don't like it.
I'm definitely hoping for good things from her next book, Waiting for Wyatt, which is yet to be released.