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The Mason List

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2015 Goodreads Choice Award Semi-Finalist: Best Debut Author for The Mason List

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.

448 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 10, 2015

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About the author

S.D. Hendrickson

6 books858 followers
SD Hendrickson received a Bachelor's of Science in Journalism from Oklahoma State University.T he Mason List was her first novel and it was a 2015 Goodreads Choice Award Semi-Finalist for Best Debut 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.

Visit www.sdhendrickson.com for more information on upcoming projects.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,294 reviews
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.9k followers
January 21, 2015

WOW WOW WOW!!! This book was just breathtaking!! I loved the writing, I felt the story, and the intensity of this childhood friends-to-lovers romance kept my heart racing the whole way through. Truly, an epic love story.

It began with a heart-wrenching scene set in present day. While we didn't know exactly what had happened, it was clear that the heroine had just been through some kind of trauma. And in order to explain what was happening to her, we were taken back to the beginning of her story. To her childhood.

Alex (heroine) and Jess (hero) met when they were just eight years old. Alex's mother was dying and after her father lost his job, they were kicked out of their home. Homeless and with no where else to go, they were forced to sleep in their old truck outside the hospital in the parking lot... until Mr. Mason, the doctor treating Alex's mother, found them one night and made them a generous offer that would change their lives. Even though Alex hated the idea of charity, she and her father had no choice but to accept the help... She may have hated the charity, but the one person she couldn't hate was the doctor's son, Jess. A boy her age who was the first person to make her smile again in what seemed like forever.

“I let myself be pulled in by Jess. The broken, leftover shell of a girl felt bright and shiny whenever he stepped in a room.”

The Masons gave Alex and her father a place to live on their ranch and over the years, she and Jess grew up together and become inseparable best friends. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that this book then follows their story all the way through to adult-hood as they eventually fall in love.

“I’ll always have your back and you’ll always have mine.”

“Always? That’s like forever. How do you know we will be friends forever?”

“I just do.”

This story blew me away!! I truly felt every word with all my heart and soul. From the moment I read the prologue I was hooked and could not put it down. The more I read, the more invested I became in these characters and I can honestly say that I had tears in my eyes for the entire last 20% of the book.

This was such a multilayered story. There were two storylines, past and present, that were seamlessly woven together. It's not always easy to write this kind of dual timeline but this author did a fantastic job with it. My heart didn't stop racing. I cared about the past, I was beyond curious about the future, and I loved seeing the way all the pieces we were shown fell in together as their life story began to take shape.

It's both a coming-of-age story and a romance. Alex had a lot of personal issues stemming from the charity she was forced to accept each day. Her intense guilt over the generosity showered on her by the Masons fuelled her deep-seeded need for independence that shaped the course of many years of her life.

“I would pay them all back; I just didn’t know when or how, I just knew it would happen. Someday, I would repay every so-called miracle. I would not be a product of charity.”

For a long time, she insisted that on only being friends with Jess. Best friends, but nothing more. As frustrating as that was, I felt like I could understand her reasons while simultaneously wishing desperately for them to be together. It was painful because I felt so connected to this story. It didn't just feel like I was reading their story, it felt like I was living it right along side them. Meanwhile Jess had loved her since they were small. He still knew she had a lot to work through and was willing to wait for her until she might be ready. This guy just loved her so damn much that it broke my heart at times. Especially with the stunning beautiful writing... it was all just overwhelmingly emotional at times.

“His blue eyes spoke a thousand words all rolled into a heartfelt stare. They calmed the panic inside my body. In the silence between two friends, the air carried an entire conversation. His dark lashes blinked back a vow I knew he meant more than anything. ‘I promise this will not destroy us.’

But the things about best friends... and soul mates... is that, no matter what, they gravitate back to each other. And there was no doubt, from the very start, that Alex and Jess were meant for each other.

“I think ‘bout all of it, you know. You and me, being here together. It’s always been you.”

The intensity built steadily throughout the book but then suddenly, at 80%, I was crying. I read this one heart-breakingly gorgeous paragraph and tears just started pouring down my face. There's something about the combination of a strong story with the exact right words that can really hit you SO hard. It's one of the most powerful reading experiences you can imagine. I literally just read that paragraph over and over again while I sat there crying. Only my most favorite books elicit such a reaction from me.

For the entire rest of the book, I alternated between crying and almost crying. I was constantly on the verge of tears. It's not tragic or devastating and, in many ways, these were good tears. It's just that I was feeling the story so strongly by this point and the years of history between these two characters had built to the point where my emotions were just overflowing. I needed Alex and Jess to be together so badly.

“I was his and he was mine… I needed him. I needed him the way I needed air; a little bit every day just to survive in this dark world.”

And THEN, there was literally one of the biggest HOLY FUCK moments I have ever read in a book. Ever. ---- My. Heart. Stopped. ---- To say the ending is intense in an understatement of epic proportions but my gosh was it ever amazing!! The author didn't hold back and even though it ripped out my heart, that epilogue rounded everything out perfectly! I couldn't have been happier with the finale.

Everything about this book, from the writing, to the story, to the emotions it evoked, made it exactly the kind of story I most love to read. The delicious, heart wrenching push/pull of Alex and Jess' friendship and love, the guilt, the longing, the desire, the pain, the healing, all of it was just stunningly portrayed. This is truly one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. An absolutely EPIC love story.

I recommend this book for everyone!!

“We’ve got somethin’ that people look for their whole lives. We just found it when we were eight.”

Rating: 5++ STARS!!! Standalone romance.


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Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,412 reviews4,663 followers
January 12, 2015
3.5 Stars

”You believe in miracles. I believe in retribution.”


My experience with this story seems to be different from the reviews listed so far. Tears were shed in the beginning at Alex’s heartbreaking tale. Sadly once I reached the middle I was completely Present Perfect frustrated with her till almost the very end of the story.


Truthfully she made me insane, while someone needs to recommend Jessup Mason for Sainthood in Rome.

This story is told with glimpses in the present while the author takes the reader from age eight years old to twenty-six years of age. Alex and her father lost not only her mother but their home, job and all their belongings. Dr. Mason who is her mother’s doctor and his wife open up a house on their large property to them and so The Mason List is born. Alex keeps a tally of everything the Mason family gives her and her father. She can’t let go of all the feelings of anger that are attached to everything the Mason family gives her and her father. Jessup Mason is the couple’s only child and from their first meeting Alex and Jess become the very best of friends.

As teens, Jess tries to reveal his feelings to Alex she quickly squashes them and keeps him in the friend zone repeatedly throughout the story. Jess is the heir to the family’s large estate and ranch and sees his future with Alex.

It’s always been you, Alex. It’s what I’ve always wanted… We’ve got something’ that people look for their whole lives. We just found it when we were eight.”

Alex is stuck on her list and justifies not having any romantic future with Jess as some sort of penance and/or she dreams of getting far away from the Mason’s hold.

”The debt I owed this family was so big. I couldn’t take the most precious thing from their lives. No matter what I felt, I would never take their son.”

They go through college, summers, etc., while poor Jess gets his heart trampled on. I could only guess that the poor guy must have taken a zillion cold showers over the years.


The present chapters are so vague that I implore a reader not to even try to guess what the heck is going on because the author honestly doesn’t reveal it to almost the very end of the book. So don’t hurt yourself, it’s impossible to figure out and that’s the author’s hook to have you turning the pages.

Overall, this story started out fantastic. The writing is very strong but I was completely frustrated with Alex till about the last 5 percent of the book. I mean so many times I thought this is it and they are finally going to be a couple…only to be foiled yet again.


I understood her resentment, her anger and the lesson she learned. I'm still so aggravated that the ending didn't even matter. Does this story have an hea? Click on spoiler if you must know so that’s something. The epilogue didn't wow me and those fade to black sex scenes were disappointing because I earned more after sticking it out with Alex and her darn list.

This author is definitely talented and I will be looking out for any other works she may publish in the future. I strongly believe that this is going to be a hit or miss type and will have to be up to the purchaser to decide.
Profile Image for Catarina.
896 reviews1,974 followers
January 21, 2015
4 Forever Stars.

At eight years old Alex lost everything. Her mother, her house, all her possessions. She was living with her father in the car, when Dr. Mason decided to help them. He opened them their home in Sprayberry Ranch and have them means to start a new life. In that day Alex also gained a best-friend, Jess, the Mason’s only son. But for Alex that help was something she could never repay, and slowly she started resenting them for making her owe them so much, (at least in her head) so she made the “Mason List” where she wrote everything they gave her, in order to pay them back someday. She and Jess grow up together and the strong friendship eventually turned into love. Jess made very clear that Alex was the girl for him, but despite Alex having the same feelings, how could she take Jess from the Masons when she already had taken so much?


In a way this book reminded me a little of “Present Perfect”, mainly because I spent most of it frustrated with heroine and her stubbornness in seeing the happiness that was right in front of her. This story starts when Alex is 8 years and ends when she is 26. It takes place through most of her live so most of the chapters are set in the past, telling us her and Jess’s story while growing up together. There's something serious happening in the present and we only find out what it is near the end, which was the factor that hooked me to the book. I needed to know what the heck was going on!! This was an amazing journey and a wonderfully written book, so why am I not giving it five stars? First, I spent too much time frustrated… and not in a good way. Second, after everything I, as a reader, was put trough I deserved so much more than a rushed ending and an half page epilogue. That pretty much “ruined�� the book for me.
Nonetheless, if you’re in the mood for a great love story that takes the length of a life, this is a very good choice.


Rating: 4 Stars.
Characters Development: Alex was a tough character for me. On one side I admired her strength and perseverance. On the other side I spent about 80% of the book frustrated with her and her extreme levels of stubbornness. In the end she fell on my category of “most annoying heroines ever”. Jess… damn, someone should canonize that boy! I can only image the size of his blue balls by the end of this book. I don’t know if the patience he had with Alex makes him a doormat in real life, but in this book was an amazing character. And it show us that if you truly love someone and know in your heart that you belong together, you’ll wait whatever time it takes and do whatever’s necessary to achieve that. He was an great hero and impossible not to love him.
Steam: Meh.
Sensible Subjects:
Love Triangle:
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
November 23, 2015
We’ve got somethin’ that people look for their whole lives.We just found it when we were eight.

If you want to read something light and funny,then this isn't a book for you.If you're looking for a cute fluffy story full with lollipops and candycanes,this isn't a book for you.But if you're searching for something meaningful and bittersweet,something dramatic and devastating and soul-consuming,if you're looking for a heroine guided by hatred and pride who breaks her best friend's heart over and over again then yes,The Mason Listis the book for you.
I’ll always have your back and you’ll always have mine.

When Alex was 8 years old,her mother was dying and her father sold everything they had to pay for the hospitals and the doctors.They ended up living in their car,eating chips and sleeping in their own filth,until Dr.Mason offered them a farmhouse in his ranch and basically gave them for free everything they needed.Alex wasn't grateful though.She felt that her whole life belonged to the Masons,that she would always be their charity and her shame for her family's state and her pride made her hate them.The only sunshine in her life was their son,Jess.They grew up together,they got into trouble and had each other's back,they set fires and fished in the lake and their friendship seemed that it would last forever.Until “Jess leaned a little closer,then in the space of a nanosecond,ten years of friendship changed forever.” Alex couldn't let it happen,not when she was trying for years to break free from the ranch and the Masons.
I was his and he was mine… I needed him.I needed him the way I needed air; a little bit every day just to survive in this dark world.

I think my heart broke a million times while reading the Mason List.I could not understand Alex's attitude towards the Masons and honestly,I could not forgive her for the way she treated Jess.Jess Mason.The boy that girls keep searching for their entire lifes.The kind of boy that is willing to give you all the time in the world,takes the punishments for your mischiefs,smiles when you smile and breathes when you breathe,makes wishes to the stars and never leaves you to face the darkness alone.The kind of boy that loves you unconditionally.The book was written in Alex's POV but Jess was a really vivid character,that filled you with love and hope and longing.The tension was masterly built,because the chapters switched between the past and the present.You knew that something was wrong and you dreaded what you were about to find out.I couldn't hold my tears,it felt like my chest was crushed by something heavy and I collapsed under the unbearable weight.I didn't like Alex,I never agreed with her,but the Mason List deserves 5 stars because S.D. Hendrickson gave us a beautiful story.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,915 reviews33k followers
April 26, 2021
3.5 stars

I have such mixed feelings about this one. I absolutely loved the last 10-15%. It gave me so many feels and even brought me to tears a few times. But the bulk of the book was so dang frustrating. The heroine was unbearable and honestly, I love a good slow burn, but what I don’t love is this constant push and pull and ignoring of feelings etc. I’m sure a lot of people will love this one, but I struggled to even give it a full 3 until that ending that I loved so much.

Audio book source: Audible (purchased)
Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrator: Honey St. Dennis
Narration Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: YA that turns into NA/coming of age/romance
Length: 10 hours and 17 minutes

Profile Image for Dora  Koutsoukou.
1,872 reviews430 followers
January 3, 2021
3,5 💔💔❤️🌟🌟🌟s❣️

I have so many mixed feelings for this emotional and heartbreaking story.
This was the journey of Jess and Alex, since they were 8 y.o., told entirely by Alex’s pov.

Alex was a very difficult person to connect with and furthermore grow fond of.
She went through a lot, bad and harsh, that a child should never go through, and her reaction towards the events that followed in her life was full of negativity. She rarely laughed and was surrounded by anger, shame, and complete lack of hope.
There were so many times that I was wondering how could Jess have so strong feelings for her...
Jess, was an incredible character and I don’t know if he deserved a girl like Alex. But the heart wants what it wants...

The author’s writing was fantastic. Gripping and full of emotions, either happy or distressed.
For me, this story should have been more concise and not that long.

Although I read the whole book, all the details and scenes of their lives as they were growing up, I was expecting something huge and explosive towards the ending, instead I got a unexceptional closing after everything I went through.
Regarding the epilogue, it was so abrupt and short that disheartened me completely.
Profile Image for Mistress.
399 reviews91 followers
February 23, 2016
It's past 3am here and I just finished The Mason List. I could not put this book down. I desperately needed to find out what happened. This story ripped me to shreds, caused me to stress eat, made me sob until I couldn't breathe, and flooded me with so many emotions that I thought I would drown in them. Those of you who know me, know that I thrive on angst, gut-wrenching heartache, and drama. This book though, about did me in. I have to say that this is one of the most emotional journeys I've ever experienced. This story was beautiful even in its tragedy and heartache. I would definitely recommend this one. I don't know this author, but I plan to follow her from now on. I loved her writing style and her ability to write such a powerful story that could pull that much emotion out of me. This was a definite five star read for me. I know I won't ever forget this story. Read this one, experience this compelling story.

"You won't lose me. I promise. You're the most important person in my life. Always will be." "Always is a long time, Jess. A lot could happen." "Nothin' could happen that would be big enough to change it. Sometimes I feel growin' up together, there's a little piece of you that grew inside of me. I couldn't leave you if I tried."

"Nothing would ever compare to the way it felt like to really be us."
Profile Image for Jessica.
743 reviews619 followers
October 26, 2018
What with all the rave reviews and people calling this an epic love story, I certainly expected better. For starters, I thought the entire book was just horribly depressing. Alex was such an ungrateful, selfish brat and Jess was way too good for her. I guess it’s my own fault for not listening to what the blurb tried to tell me. This is the story of a girl whose mom dies when she’s 8 and who ends up being homeless along with her devastated dad and when a family, the Masons, literally picks them off the street, she spends her entire life resenting them for it. Resenting them for giving her a home, clothes, a fucking college education. I tried understanding where Alex was coming from but I spent most of the book hating her. She punished Jess for being a Mason, being totally selfish by stringing him along and hurting him over and over again. I’ll give this book exactly one thing - the little glimpses of the present (the story is mostly told in the past) were so intriguing, they made it really difficult to put it down. That’s about it though. The rest just pissed me off so bad.
Profile Image for Anne OK.
3,574 reviews460 followers
January 11, 2015
5 “I’d cry for you, Jess” Stars

This new author lives in my town! I’m so excited to find such a surprising treat (Thanks, Aestas Book Blog!), and she’s an Oklahoma State University graduate and Cowboy fan, too! Plus, her debut book is an epic standalone that encompasses twenty-years of friendship and love between a boy and a girl, Jess Mason and Alex Tanner –one who has almost everything and the other only charity and resentment. Those are my favorites - ones where you get all the emotions and "feels" through the years. This story is written in first person from Alex’s point of view. It is not only heartbreaking, but full of wonder and breathtaking moments as well.

Meet Jess, a crazy and good-looking dare-devil dressed in Wranglers and boots, who eats Skiddles by the bagfuls, and Alex, who through horrible circumstances, becomes what she views as a wealthy family’s pet welfare project saddling her with a payback list a mile long. Although I understood Alex's reasoning at times, the girl made me yell and say naughty words for a large portion of the book. These two become best friends at the age of eight, and through the years they get themselves into plenty of trouble just about every time they are together. And as the years go by, their relationship deepens and grows into something more – but Alex’s list is also growing longer and longer and she is building walls around herself.

The book blurb satisfactorily covers more than enough – you’ll get no more from me. No spoiling this journey for other readers as each meets the Tanner and Mason families, winding their way through years of happy and sad times, ups and downs, trials and tribulations, love and heartbreak, jealousy and pride, and health and sickness.

There is an Epilogue bringing full closure to the storyline. Of course, along with other readers, I always want more. This is a classic case where I just felt the need for more details between a major event and the finale.

The author’s writing voice is beautiful and smooth. I fell into the rhythm easily and quickly and could hardly put the story aside long enough to do what had to be done. That's the sign of a "keeper." And I loved the cover art chosen, along with the title which was so perfectly appropriate. I love covers and titles that fit like puzzle pieces.

S.D. Hendrickson’s work-in-progress blurbs from “Red Dirt Claws” and “The Tunnels” have me excited and intrigued for her upcoming releases. She is definitely an author you’ll want to keep your eye on.

Profile Image for Michelle Finkle.
491 reviews27 followers
April 14, 2015
2.5 stars. I hated everything about this book, yet I couldn't put it down. That's because I needed to ease my pain. But my pain never went away and then it turned into uncontrollable laughter at the absurdity of what I just read. I don't even know what to think right now. There are stories that take you through a journey and that journey is important and relevant. The journey takes you to a place that has meaning and fulfillment. This journey was a torture chamber that ended in crap. That crap was wrapped in absurdity. My head is spinning. I just can't.
Profile Image for Jessica~loves to hate a cliffy~.
235 reviews55 followers
January 28, 2015
Oh Lordy Lordy, this book was so exhausting!

Jess was the greatest friend/love interest a girl could ask for

And, Alex...Ugh she was an exasperating petulant girl

Profile Image for Akanksha❤ Søren♰.
654 reviews2,618 followers
November 15, 2015
A beautiful story, a must read. The Mason List makes you laugh, cry and fall in love.

4.5 Stars!

This book is so wonderfully written, with such a great ending to the whole Mason List fiasco.
The story had so much depth, you could relate to Alex, see where she is coming from.. feel what she is feeling and at the same time, your heart would keep breaking for Jess..

This book was had a wonderful story line, they was it gradually progresses.. slowly finding a snug place in your heart.
Well developed characters, I will be looking forward to more books by this Author :)
January 23, 2015
4.5 "Promise?" Stars


It took a while for me to compose my thoughts on this one. I truly LOVED the story. I've been looking for a book that was out the the current "norm" - and this one hit the nail right on the head for me. It shoved me right out of the funk I fell into. I felt like I was literally pulled into the core of the story. It's a friends-to-lovers that just tugs at the strings of your heart. The story is told in the heroine, Alex's point of view. It takes you through the hero and heroine's life from childhood all the way into adulthood and it bounces back and forth between the past years to the present, where something has happened, we just don't know what yet...


Alexandra "Alex" Tanner
Alex was 6 years old, climbing trees, manipulating her parents with her big round eyes and a pout like no other. She knew which buttons to press to have her mom open doors for her to her little heart's extent. Her life was pretty darn perfect. But at 8 years old, her whole life topples upside-down. Her mom was diagnosed with the dreaded 'C-Word' and was admitted into a hospital. With her dad missing so many days from work, tending to his sick wife, her sick mother, his company let him go with some lame excuse about the economy. So 8-year-old Alex and her father were left racking up hospital bills with no means to pay. That led to them losing their home, her childhood home, and her father looking for a new place to care for her mother. He found a hospital in a town called Arlis, which was west of Fort Worth, TX, that took charity hospice cases - since her mom stopped responding to the treatments. They found shelter in a run-down dingy motel in Arlis - and were eventually evicted due to non-payment. And Alex had to find this out by walking out to their car one night after staying with her mom - only to find their Bronco sitting beneath the parking lot lights, packed to the roof with their belongings. The reality of the truth hit her 8-year-old gut with the weight of a freight train. They were homeless.

They had to resort to living in their Bronco. And with Texas heat - just imagine! With spoiled food, the Texas heat, shoes that were two sizes too small, and having to be her dad's support system, his backbone, his 16-year-old daughter rather than his true 8-year-old daughter, Alex feels like her life has hit rock bottom. (Isn't that depressing to hear? That an 8-year-old has hit a low so low?)

One day while sitting in their Bronco, Dr. Mason, the doctor caring for Alex's mother, sees them sitting in the parking lot. He offers them a cot they could use to stay in the hospital room with her mom rather than them staying in their car. And that's one of the first things Alex adds to The Mason List. From thereon, the list just grew.


While staying in the hospital, Alex met Dr. Mason's son, Jessup Mason and Jessup's mom. When Alex met Jess, she was a little wary, but once she lowered her guard, they just clicked. Alex found solace in Jess because he allowed her to be what she was. A kid.

Jessup "Jess" Mason
Jess lives on a ranch in small-town Arlis with his parents. They're rich, and are the token of this small-town. Jess doesn't like to deal with people too often because when people try to get in the Mason's good graces, it's because they want something from them. Being rich and all. Jess saw that Alex didn't like what the Masons had to offer her and her dad so he knew she'd be good company. The book outlines Jess' life alongside Alex's and Jess is just a sweetheart! I did feel sorry for him a little towards the middle of the book.


"I promise we will always be friends and have each other's backs, no matter what."

"I would cry for you, Jess."

"Make her hate the Masons as much as you did."


What kept me from 5 stars:
I didn't like the long drawn out reason why Alex couldn't be with Jess. I just felt like it didn't warrant her reactions/feelings towards him.

The ending felt just a tad bit rushed. I know, it sounds crazy that I say the story drug out too long, just for me to say that the ending was short. But it was. It kind of just....whoooshhhh. And we're done.

The epilogue. It was a pretty mediocre epilogue. For a story with so much emotion, I was expecting more from the epilogue.


This was definitely a chicken dinner for me. LOVE.
Profile Image for Alexis *Reality Bites*.
757 reviews3,653 followers
February 3, 2015
This book is rated ‘G’ for Good!
3 STARS out of 5
Genre: YA Romance that transitions into NA Romance

 photo masons list final pic1_zps7czirfni.jpg

The story goes from past to present day where readers quickly get the feeling something is happening we just have no clue exactly what. Present day moves at a slow pace giving us tiny glimpses as we zoom through the past to catch up. Now when I say zoom I do not mean that it was rushed in any way. In fact the author takes time and care with the story allowing readers to connect with both Alex and Jess.

When Alex Tanner’s mother became sick with Cancer her world starts to slowly crumble. Her father becomes jobless; eventually they lose their home and find themselves sleeping in their car in the hospital parking lot. One day Dr. Mason discovers Mr. Tanner and his young daughter sleeping in the car. He intervenes in a way that honestly will put most “who have” and are the able to help others to shame.
NOTE: I refer to those blessed well enough to help others yet fail to do so because not everyone who can is willing to lend a hand.

So yes, Dr. Mason with the assistance of his wife helps to set Mr. Tanner and his young daughter on their feet. This part of the story is truly inspiring. It takes a real man to see another man at his lowest point and know that he has the ability to help and then he does it.

Eventually Alex and her father move to the small town of Arlis, Texas. They stay in a small home on a ranch owned by the Mason’s. Somehow in the midst of the good happening; Alex’s young mind decides that she will pay back the Mason’s for all their charity, she tacks on each kind act done to her list. The Mason List.

The Mason’s have a son named Jessup(Jess) he and Alex become best friends and well I think you see where this might be going...

If not let me break it down...Boy falls for girl, girl is blind to his love, boy admits love to girl, girl is SHOCKED, boy let’s girl know one day she’ll be his, girl is still shocked…girl runs from love, boy waits patiently. What boy does not know is that the girl has slowly become bitter. The bitterness has to be removed from around the girls heart in order for her to let the boy and his love in.

My Thoughts
I thought this was good. I just personally did not love it. I more so clash with the heroine. More particularly I clash with the way she was written. I’m not a fan of running from what is right in front of you. Annnd I usually have patience so it could have been my mood. I don’t know, regardless I am not with running from love in the manner she did. So let that be clear, it was the way she frustrated me, it’s personal I can admit that okay. Okay.

I found the writing was good, providing detailed descriptions and I definitely became emotional while reading. Hendrickson knows how to pull at your heart this I can’t deny.

My Sweet - Sadie! I love her it would be nice if she got her own book!
My Sour - Two things.1. Alex and her bitterness towards the Mason’s. 2. This can be seen as a spoiler to some while others won’t mind so I’ll hide it.

- As far as I know this book is a standalone and it was told from Alex(the heroine's) point of view.

My Ratings
Characters- Kind hearted, Sweet and Frustrating
Writing Style- Good
Plot/Storyline- After becoming homeless a young girl and her father are taken in by a Doctor and his family to live on their ranch. She then becomes best friend with their son as they get older he falls in love with her and whether she admits it or not she falls for him too.
Steam Factor- Lo-Med-Hi Low, on a scale of 1-10 I say 5
Entertainment Level- Medium, I think the story had some great realistic aspects to it and dealt with real life situations. It kept my attention, had some sweetness in it and a few witty lines that had me smiling
Overall- I liked it!

Now go forth and read. Then come tell us about it on Goodreads!

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Profile Image for Kristen Ollie.
117 reviews25 followers
March 8, 2015
*****5 cowboy stars*****

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An epic love story that began when they were eight.

The Mason List is a coming of age, lovers to friends, debut novel by S.D. Hendrickson. The story starts with a heart crushing chapter where the MC Alex is experiencing a traumatic event and is covered in blood and dirt. We don't find out the details and the outcome of this event until the end of the story. The Mason List is written in the present tense with flashback chapters. S.D. Hendrickson's writing is flawless, her words flowed so smoothly over the pages.

Jess and Alex meet when they are eight. Alex's mother developed cancer which caused a chain of events that in turn left them homeless. Insert Jessup Mason and The Mason Family. These people are saints. They offer Alex and her father a place to live at Sprayberry Ranch. Jess and Alex develop an unbreakable friendship over the years. Jess takes Alex on many crazy shenanigans on the ranch that lead them into all kinds of trouble. Of course he falls in love with her, and she is too stubborn to admit her feelings for him. Alex started to rake on my nerves with how poorly she treated him. Jess is a southern gentleman, a cowboy/country boy, with a heart of gold, and the patience of a siberian tiger. The man can do no wrong in my eyes. I wanted to jump through the pages and shake Alex to make her see what we could see. I can't say more without spoiling the story. So I'll stop there.

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The epilogue to this story couldn't have been more perfect! Sometimes in stories, and in life we don't always get what we want, we get what we need. When I finished this I read the acknowledgments. The very last paragraph put this whole story into perspective for me and it couldn't be more beautiful.

"And thank you God, who makes miracles possible; whether they are in the form we want, or maybe the one that needs to happen. As Alex came to understand The Mason List, we will never comprehend the grand-master plan, and that's ok. "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11"

Every once in awhile an author will create a story that feels like home to me. This is one of those stories.

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Profile Image for TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover.
362 reviews880 followers
August 25, 2015

This was such a beautiful coming of age story!

The Mason List spans the life of Alex Tanner and Jess Mason, who meet when they are 8 years old under dire circumstances. I don't want to say too much, but Jess's family take Alex and her father under their wing in their time of need. From that moment on, Jess and Alex become inseparable, forming a bond that was SO unbelievably sweet and unbreakable.


The books alternates between past and present. The past shows the life these two have lived, how they have formed this incredible friendship on Jess's ranch, and situations they've been put in that only made their bond stronger. The present describes a traumatic event that is occurring, but the reader doesn't find out what this event exactly is until the end of the book.


I must say, I struggled with Alex's character throughout the book. I couldn't understand why she acted so ungrateful and selfish, especially toward Jess (who I need to point out was one of the most AMAZING, SWEET, CARING heros I have ever read about). But I am SO glad I didn't let this deter me, because as the story unfolded, I found a soft spot for her and she most definitely redeemed herself in my eyes.

This was such a beautifully told story, and I found the relationship between Jess and Alex to be so touching. There were twists I was most certainly not expecting, and moments that brought tears to my eyes. I was shocked to learn this was S.D. Hendrickson's first book. The past and present storylines were seamlessly woven together. And the love, the guilt, the longing, the pain, the healing....all of the things Jess and Alex felt were just stunningly portrayed.

**I should point out there was quite a few spelling and grammatical errors, but it was something I looked past because I enjoyed the overall story so much and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a beautifully touching love story!
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,495 reviews405 followers
March 9, 2017
Deep breath as I try to do justice to the effect this book had on my emotions, my love of the characters, the hurt, pain, fun and love of all the words inside THE MASON LIST. I've had this book on my kindle since release a few years ago and I got an audio copy. I am literally kicking myself that I didn't read or listen to this sooner because this isn't just a good read, this is an unforgettable read.

THE MASON LIST, to me, was a book revolving around friendship, friendship deep and true, built on circumstances, difficulties and tests. Jessop (Jess) is the eight year old boy that extends the hand of friendship to Alex at her time of need. They grow up together from there. This is not a friends, fall in love, the end, kind of book. This is life, finding identity, raw experiences and hurting one another like friends inevitably do. This book has such clever interweaving of characters, events and a story that intricately fits the jigsaw pieces together.

Jess and Alex stole my heart, pumped my system with adrenaline at times and opened the tear jets too. Jess and Alex would be weaker without the other characters in the book that strongly supported the journey and stories in their life. I loved Sadie and Ashley. There were occasional little twists, not for the sake of it but they enhanced the experience.

SD Hendrickson wrote this book as her debut and that blows me away. Her words are talented, her ability to provoke feelings is amazing and I just lost myself in the experience. I will definitely be finding her other books.

The narration of this audio is a tough job, considering the connections and emotions contained within. Honey St Dennis brought a tangibility to each part of Jess' and Alex's life. I slipped into the listen and just felt it all, so all credit to her.

This book will not be forgotten. I want it in paper glory on my bookshelf and I want to shout to all my book friends, read or listen to this!

A copy of this audiobook was provided by the narrator in return for a honest review.

Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.
Profile Image for Donna ~ The Romance Cover.
2,761 reviews317 followers
January 19, 2015
I absolutely loved this story, I cried so much throughout. I could really relate to Alex, some of the things that she goes through resonated deep within me and really got me tied up in knots. At times I could have also battered her, but she was going through a lot and you have to be mindful of that while reading. The chapters in the past were heart breaking and yet heart warming but the chapters in the present were a total mind fuck. The way the story was put together was fantastic, I loved the plot, the writing, everything about it.

The only thing this book needs to make it perfect is a proof read. If there were only a few errors I could have let it slide, but there were quite a lot and for that reason only I could not award it the 5 my heart wanted to.

(full review to come)
Profile Image for NinaReader.
545 reviews82 followers
January 15, 2015
Wow!!! I really loved this story!!!

This is a wonderful friends-to-lovers story.

Alexandra was 6 when she had the perfect life any little girl could ask for. She was 8 when her whole life changed. Her mother got sick and her father who was caring for her lost his job and they lost everything. They were forced to live in their car outside of Hospice when Dr. Mason notices them. The next day Mrs. Mason brought not only food and goodwill and charity but her son along with her. It’s at Alex’s lowest point that Jess comes into her world.
”These Masons didn’t just come into your life slowly; they arrived with the force of a hurricane. I glanced over at the boy with bright blue eyes and he smiled at me. I felt the corners of my lips creep up on the sides. His happy face was more contagious than any infectious, nasty bit of cancer. In just a few short minutes, Jess Mason had made me truly smile from the inside out.”

What ensued are years of living their lives and it plays out like a movie. There were a lot of escapades and adventures and always a strong friendship. From when they were 8, to high school, college, and beyond we are living those histories with them – and there are plenty. A lot were funny, a few were scary and crazy, and some were sweet. We got to truly know them and know where their foundations were grounded.

They always had each other’s backs and were never apart. But Jess always knew that Alex was the one for him. Jess was this rambunctious happy boy who turned into the most amazing man. His patients and understanding and love for Alex leapt of the pages. My heart was full sometimes with good feelings and a lot of times it just hurt.

”It’s always been you, Alex. It’s what I’ve always wanted. We’ve got somethin’ that people look for their whole lives. We just found it at 8. Because of that, I can wait a little bit longer.”
“Sometimes I feel growin’ up together, there’s a little piece of you that grew inside of me. I couldn't leave you if I tried.”

But Alex was suffocating under the weight of her life that consisted of taking handouts from the Masons. She couldn’t truly be more than just friends with Jess. She wanted to live and know she can survive on her own. Jess knows that letting her go and letting her live her dream was the right thing. It truly was frustrating how much and for how long Alex and Jess couldn’t be together together. It took a long time but she finally got there.
”I couldn’t hear what you tried to tell me for so long. It’s an empty dream when the other half of me is somewhere else. I am only truly happy when I am with you.
I have hurt you in so many ways and you never deserved it. I haven’t been the person I should have been for you. So I will just have to do everything I can from now on to be that better person. The one you deserve to come home to every night.”

This story starts in the present day with Alex in the midst of some kind of traumatic event. Then it flashes back to when they were 8 until we get to the now. And OMFG when you get to the now…I had no idea the traumatic event would be as awful and as broken as it was!!! Even though there’s an epilogue, I have to say that I’m still left reeling over what happened in the end and the epilogue was short and way way way into the future but I needed some immediate future.

-What I didn’t like are all the typos. I’m not a snob about it but in this book there were definitely a lot and some were a bit distracting. Also though it’s an epic-like span of childhood to adulthood story, the love scenes are all fade to black. Urgh, It took so long to get there and it was just disappointing to skip over it.

Despite the frustration and my gripes, this truly is one that will stay with me for a little while. It’s a great story about Jess and Alex that spans 16 years through the ups and downs of their friendship and then to their relationship. There’s the aspect of the charity that always bothered Alex and wanted to someday repay back but Jess was able to make her see it in a different light and what he does was just beautiful. I’m so glad I picked this up. It’s not perfect but I loved it nonetheless!!!
Profile Image for BabyBeth.
134 reviews46 followers
June 25, 2015
2.5-3 Underwhelming Stars

Three words to the heroine, Alex:


The Mason List was a difficult read for me. For starters, because it was super slow. I don't like super-slow. I don't appreciate the fact the author kept me guessing what the hell is going on in the present, and that good chunks of the book, were spent with Alex sulking in the hospital without us knowing what the hell happened or how did she get there.

2. Alex. I said it before and I'll say it again - why can't authors write sensible female characters? Why, oh why? I had no clue why Alex was so pissed off with the Masons. After all, the Masons were the reason for why she had a roof over her head (not a spoiler, don't worry). I get that she felt ambivalent about her relationship with this family but her actions and inner monologue made it sound like she's an ungrateful little b****.

3. Jessup was just a doormat, plain and simple. This is YA going on NA, mind you, so I wasn't expecting some hot alpha male to whisk me off my feet, but dude, grow a backbone or something. Shit is getting HUMILIATING for you by the second. Also. I had no freaking clue why Jessup (god, I hate that name) was so smitten with Alex.

I'm so disappointed with this book. The buzz was wonderful and I heard such great things about it. I'm in a book limbo at the moment and I thought this could be a sure win. Boo. Better luck next time :(
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,698 reviews127 followers
January 20, 2015
3.5 stars

This was a really good book, but it didn't quite get there for me. I kept waiting to get emotional, and I just didn't. I loved the growth of the characters and their relationship. It was nicely paced. However, the ending was a bit rushed. I would definitely read another book by this author because the writing was beautiful.
Profile Image for Donna B.
197 reviews3 followers
June 20, 2019
I can’t even. Snot and tears. One of the best books that I’ve ever read!!! 😭😭😭❤️
Profile Image for Tahsin.
1,168 reviews89 followers
January 26, 2015
We're only 24 days into 2015, but I've already found what I know is going to be one of my favorites of the year. Reading this felt like rereading aspects from a whole bunch of my all-time favorites. Let's list them first and get it out of the way: Beautiful Broken Rules Present Perfect Bully and More Than Forever.

Let's get to the story now. I literally had no idea what I was getting into when I read the first chapter, and I wanted to DNF it then and there because I didn't sign up to read about a crazy girl in an institution. (I say that with absolutely no intent to offend, and while I know there are stories out there similar to what I've described, I haven't read (m)any of them yet.) But then the story takes us from present day to when she was six. Boy oh boy, a little after that was when I was completely captivated by the story. As a reader, we're reading about a little girl, but you can relate to her. At every stage of her life, she felt real to me. I just loved how she weaved the past and the present together, making it mesh together. The writing was solid.


Now, Jess. This guy can battle it out with the best of them. He reminded me a lot of Cameron from More Than Forever. A. LOT. He is definitely up there with Ryke and Lo and Connor and Will Cooper and Dean Holder and you get my point. I fucking loved this guy from the get go, and there were very few moments where I wanted to smack him upside the head.


While many didn't like Alex's character, I really did. Grief causes people to react in different ways, and even if the coping mechanism to that grief is self-harming and devastating, I'm not going to begrudge her that. It's not like I can physically enter the story and shake some sense into her, and even then, she will only listen when she is ready to. (Whew, talk about some reflection)

I love me some tortured heroine. It makes the story even more lovable when the gender stereotypes in a book are reversed, and it's the heroine who's all fucked up. And Alex was a whole rainbow of fucked up. Mind you, it's mostly self-inflicted, but I felt it was justified. Loved her, hated her, wanted to shake some sense into her, but at the end of the day, I fucking loved her.


One thing I want is more of their story. Like a whole lot fucking more when the curtains close. That epilogue, while satisfying, wasn't enough. While I'm imaginative enough to fill in the blanks, I'd rather she do it for us.

Given that this is the author's debut novel, and she's already given the world this masterpiece, she has set the bar high for her next books. She did that all by herself, and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us. She definitely has the potential to inscribe herself on a list with the other greats.

Profile Image for Brianna.
1,671 reviews304 followers
October 31, 2015
I am buying a paperback copy at some point. this is one of my favorite books this year hands down. this book was a roller coaster of emotions and I haven't been this affected by a book since Ugly Love (even though I just read it like a month ago). this book was pefect! I had a couple predictions to how this would end and neither options came close to what really happened and I had pretty good predictions (at least I think I did). this book was so beyond perfect! I recommend it to everyone (at least 17 years old). loved this book so much! I can't wait for more books by this author!!
March 22, 2017
4 ★'s
"Sometimes all we have is faith and hope and you just have to trust it "

The story begins when Alex is eight years old and her mother is dying. It takes you through the journey of what that disease did to her family and where her and her father ended up...and where she met Jess.

But that's just the very beginning...oh no, the journey doesn't end there. Jess is a little hellion and Alex is right there with him every step of the way. I can't believe how much trouble these two got in to!

I loved the beginning...from when they were kids through high school...but that's when things started getting a little weird. It didn't stop there because college was definitely weird and summer camp was the weirdest...and most destructive!


The story starts when Alex and Jess are eight years old until they are twenty-six but there are chapters from the present that are thrown in. I wasn't especially fond of that because we find out that things went to hell in a hand basket in a big way...we just don't know what!

Even though Jess was a hellion, he really grows up and...oh my, he matured very nicely! ;) And Alex notices however, she has a huge chip on her shoulder and that's where The List comes in. It was her way of dealing with things but she never seemed to get past it.

I did love what became of The List and how things changed but as soon as we get some happy times, the present catches up with us and it's pretty heartbreaking! OMG....

Then there is the epilogue and while I can appreciate "that" timing, I would have loved some from before. Still, I enjoyed the story and definitely recommend it if you're looking for an emotional read.
Profile Image for Amber’s reading.
538 reviews100 followers
July 8, 2018
I absolutely love it when an author starts a book off with something bad happening or the illusion of something bad happening and then going back to the past to tell us how it started!!!!!! Pulling it off is hard, but S.D. Hendrickson executed it brilliantly. It stressed me out and made taking a break from reading impossible.

This multilayered story unfolded beautifully. The story is told from Alex’s POV and starts in the present day after an accident happens. We don’t know what happened and who was involved, we just know it’s bad. Then the story goes back to when Alex is 6 and how it all started.

We learn that Alex’s father lost his job and their house goes into foreclosure. While Alex’s mom is dying in hospice, they are living in their car in the hospital parking lot. Alex’s mom’s doctor, Dr Mason, sees them and steps in to help. Alex and her father move in a ranch house on the Mason’s huge property and are financially cared for by the Masons for years. Alex is ashamed and angry about the charity and makes “The Mason List” of all their contributions in order to pay them back when she can. Growing up with a huge chip on her shoulder because of the charity, the only thing that makes her happy is the close friendship she has with Jess Mason. Their love for one another is so obvious, but Alex doesn’t want to take anything else from the Masons, including Jess. While the heroine pushing the hero away usually totally annoys me, Alex didn’t.

The book goes back and forth between the present accident and the past until both stories catch up with one another. An absolute genius way to tell a story. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and couldn’t put the book down.

What the author gives us is an epic love story that spans 20 years and will rip out your heart and put it back together. An amazing story that will stay with me for a long time.
Profile Image for Billie Lawson.
511 reviews22 followers
February 8, 2015
Hmmmm.... I honestly was very underwhelmed with this book. First let me list the things I enjoyed about this book... The cover was absolutely beautiful! I loved the color selections and the fact that it is very different from typical covers out there. I also liked the angst and the build up had me feeling anxious at times. Now onto things I didn't enjoy... The grammatical and spelling errors were out of control! At one point the author spelled "gestures" as "jesters" and said that the heroine was "ease dropping" on a conversation. I am the type of reader that gets very distracted with these kind of errors. Another issue I had was the ending. It felt very rushed to me and the big secret that we spent the whole book leading up to was kind of anti-climatic. I wish the author had help with editing because the book had moments where I felt like it could lead to something great.
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