Tom Sawyer is a young boy living with his Aunt on the banks of the Mississippi River. He seems to most enjoy getting into trouble. After missing school one day (and getting into a fight), Tom is punished with the task of whitewashing a fence. However, he turns the punishment into a bit of entertainment as proceeds to con other boys to finish the work for him. He convinces the boys that the chore is a great honor, so he receives in small precious objects in payment.
Around this time, Tom falls in love with a young girl, Becky Thatcher, and suffers under a whirlwind romance and engagement to her before she shuns him. She hears of Tom's previous engagement to Amy Lawrence. Tom realizes that his luck is not entirely in with girls, so he starts a firm friendship with Huckleberry Finn, the very poor sun of a town drunk. While on an adventure in a graveyard at night, witnesses a murder by a native American, Injun Joe.
Believing that they are dead, the town prepares their funeral, at which the three boys suddenly appear causing consternation to all. The court case isn't Tom's only encounter with Injun Joe however, as in the final part of the novel he and Becky (newly reunited) get lost in one of the caves, and Tom stumbles across his archenemy. Escaping his clutches and finding his way out, Tom manages to alert the townspeople who lock up the cave, leaving Injun Joe inside. Our hero ends up happily however, as he and Huck discover a box of gold (that once belonged to Injun Joe) and the money is invested for them. Tom finds happiness and, much to his distress, Huck finds respectability by being adopted.
Uproarious fun, and never lacking in excitement, Tom Sawyer is both a wonderful children's book and a book perfect for those adults who still are children at heart. Never dull, always funny, and sometimes poignant, it is a classic novel from a truly great writer.