When 17-year-old Jasper loses his parents within months of each other, he finds himself lost in a conspiracy that forces him to choose whether to run, kill, or die.
As the only living descendant of Benedict Arnold, Jasper becomes a target of the Libertines, a group composed of descendants of America’s original revolutionaries. After an attempt on his life, Jasper is shipped off to a run-down school in Vermont run by the titular league, the descendants of famous American traitors. There he must learn the dueling code because, as he learns, as soon as he turns 18, he will begin receiving challenges from Libertines. And the only options are to duel and win or duel and die. Jasper’s inheritance also includes his father’s research, which he hopes will provide another way out. But further attacks and a budding romance are constant distractions. Witty banter, a clever premise, and the constant threat of danger keep the pages turning despite the story’s lack of momentum. Characters grapple with the issues of honor and responsibility. Others are forced to deal with the deaths of friends and family and the guilt of taking a life. Unfortunately, while the story unpacks some little-known moments in American history, the pacing will make this only slightly more interesting than reading a textbook. And like most U.S. history textbooks’, the cast is a largely white one.
Slow to develop its promising premise. (Fiction. 12-16)