The League of American Traitors

256p. Sky Pony. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781510707351.
Gr 9 Up—Shortly after his father's death, 17 year-old Jasper is contacted by a mysterious lawyer who reveals that Jasper is the last scion of Benedict Arnold—a heritage which mandatorily drafts him into an underground society called The League of American Traitors. The League is opposed by another Mafia-like group, The True Sons, whose members are all heirs of national heroes. True Sons are honor bound by a "Code" to challenge a League member to a pistol duel when he or she turns 18. Jasper seeks to escape his impending duel by continuing his late father's historical research—work that may absolve the Arnolds of treachery and, instead, implicate The True Sons. The ensuing contest between the League and the True Sons is more adventure than mystery. Unfortunately, the chase scenes and fire fights aren't thrilling enough to distract from the plot holes. How does a bloody shoot out in Philadelphia's Independence Park fail to provoke a police response? The immature humor will fall flat for most readers but might possibly appeal to some middle schoolers. Meanwhile, a couple of f-bombs and gun wounds are more appropriate for older readers. The premise seems to promise insights into history, but these are not realized. Arnold's second wife is only described as a "historically hot" Loyalist, and the book's message is that historical research is, for the most part, a mind-numbing trudge through boring documents. A vapid romance and overworked metaphors don't help.
VERDICT Skip it.

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