League of American Traitors
Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. . . .
When seventeen year-old Jasper is approached at the funeral of his deadbeat father by a man claiming to be an associate of his deceased parents, he’s thrust into a world of secrets tied to America’s history—and he’s right at the heart of it.
First, Jasper finds out he is the sole surviving descendant of Benedict Arnold, the most notorious traitor in American history. Then he learns that his father’s death was no accident. Jasper is at the center of a war that has been going on for centuries, in which the descendants of the heroes and traitors of the American Revolution still duel to the death for the sake of their honor.
His only hope to escape his dangerous fate on his eighteenth birthday? Take up the research his father was pursuing at the time of his death, to clear Arnold’s name.
Whisked off to a boarding school populated by other descendants of notorious American traitors, it’s a race to discover the truth. But if Jasper doesn’t find a way to uncover the evidence his father was hunting for, he may end up paying for the sins of his forefathers with his own life. Like a mash-up of National Treasure and Hamilton, Matthew Landis’s debut spins the what-ifs of American history into a heart-pounding thriller steeped in conspiracy, clue hunting, and danger.
What an exciting historical fiction novel! I remember reading that League of American Traitors was a mash up between National Treasure and Hamilton, and it was just that! I couldn’t have been happier, as I am an avid National Treasure fan! I like history more and more as I’m experiencing it through these types of novels specifically. This was the first historical fiction novel that I read that wasn’t WWII based, so I was a little nervous to give it a shot, but I am so glad I did. I loved Jasper! His resilience and determination reminded me so much of myself! And a descendant of Benedict Arnold?! Yes please! I need all of the notorious historical figures discussed in YA fiction the way this one was!
I loved how the story opens in a funeral. I think it’s dark but real and when it's real, it grasps on to you. The first two chapters were absolutely filled with action and I knew this book was going to be good. As the chapters continued and the story and characters developed, my assumptions were confirmed. Landis is great story teller and knows exactly how to write about history for YA!
I also read that Landis was a history teacher and so I knew that the facts would be just that, facts. I felt that because of his expertise in his field, he was able to really open up the world of U.S. history in a very unique and entertaining way. There are not a lot of authors like that, in my opinion. Sometimes children are looked down upon because of their parents’ actions, I really enjoyed how Landis develops his characters with their pasts held over their heads. Nora was definitely a favorite of mine, but I do wish I would have heard a little more about her. I felt that Jasper was well thought out and handled situations, exactly how you’d expect a 17 year old descendant of Benedict Arnold to handle things, struggling to maintain honor, maturity, and responsibility.
With such a clever premise, and so much action, it was pretty difficult to not turn the page. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventures and the clues given throughout the story that ultimately lead to a very satisfying ending.
I love history, but not in the old, awful, kill-me-now-please kind of way. My passion is convincing my students that the past is actually hilarious, shocking, tragic, disturbing, and altogether UN-boring. While getting my graduate degree in History at Villanova, I realized that there was yet one more way to do this: write contemporary young adult books laced with history to convince my students that past isn't as awful as they think. That’s a huge reason why I wrote The Judas Society.
Some other stuff: I love poetry but don’t understand it; I want Gordon Ramsay to give me a fatherly hug at some point; I tend toward the unapologetically dramatic; and (to my great shame) I didn’t read the Harry Potter series until last year. I’m also really good at covering up patent insecurities with self-deprecating humor (like this joke).
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