Parents' Guide to

The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington (Young Reader's Edition)

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Brits try to assassinate Washington in gripping page-turner.

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This young reader's version of the bestselling history delivers a compelling, detailed narrative of fateful events in 1776. There's plenty of plotting, intrigue, and betrayal awaiting the honorable, humble General Washington. The First Conspiracy co-authors Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch delve into the investigation with terrier-like glee, bringing the era and a raft of colorful characters (heroic and otherwise) vividly to life. But the reading level, vocabulary, and concepts may be too demanding and complex for younger readers who aren't already history buffs. And, partly because we know Washington emerged safely from all this, the frequent drumbeat of suspense-building editorial commentary (à la You won't believe what happens next ...) gets a little annoying, as the story's plenty suspenseful on its own, and full of nuanced consideration of what it was like to live through these times. But in classic Meltzer fashion, this story is a strong testimonial to personal honor, virtue, and determination as essential assets in time of trouble.

"George Washington may not have been born into nobility, but he could learn to be a gentleman; he could work hard to improve himself; he could, through his character alone, earn the respect of anyone he might meet.

"Washington learned to cling fiercely to the personal ideals of honor and integrity. This way, he had something he could rely on within himself."

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