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The Assignment

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In the vein of the classic The Wave and inspired by a real-life incident, this riveting novel explores discrimination and antisemitism and reveals their dangerous impact.

SENIOR YEAR. When an assignment given by a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution, a euphemism used to describe the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people, Logan March and Cade Crawford are horrified. Their teacher cannot seriously expect anyone to complete an assignment that fuels intolerance and discrimination. Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand.
As the school administration addressed the teens' refusal to participate in the appalling debate, the student body, their parents, and the larger community are forced to face the issue as well. The situation explodes, and acrimony and anger result. What does it take for tolerance, justice, and love to prevail?

336 pages, Hardcover

First published August 25, 2020

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About the author

Liza M. Wiemer

5 books657 followers
My latest YA contemporary novel, The Assignment, was published by Delacorte Press and was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book, among other honors. I am also the author of Hello? and two non-fiction adult books, short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles. A pre-school to high school educator now conducting workshops and writing. I'm a Green Bay Packers fan and I love nature walks, rooftops, and fun socks.

For school visits or speaking engagements, visit: http://www.LizaWiemer.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizamwiemer/

Unique "job" experiences: I spent a summer selling popcorn in a Koepsell's popcorn wagon while listening to awesome music on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee. I also know my way around a fender and a quarter panel and under the hood of a car. I spent a few years driving to accident scenes, scrapyards, hospitals, auto repair shops as a claims adjuster for an insurance company.

Happy reading, Liza

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 575 reviews
Profile Image for Stacey B.
286 reviews63 followers
February 14, 2023

*** https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/a...

This novel is for "everyone" regardless of its Y/A label. Having crossover genres it is a nove
written on a continuing subject that is highly contagious.
New books are necessary for school curriculums to meet more criteria just as new concerns and issues have been born since those printed from the 1980's.
A high school teacher gives an assignment to his class.
The class is told they must defend the Holocaust. What does that mean??
It means their arguments must be between which two methods are best used to exterminate jews.
So... two students refuse and will take the "F", while the principal defends the teacher. Parents of the students in the class see nothing wrong with this assignment.
And so begins the snowball effect of repercussions and other related problems stemming from this assignment.

Because this book is based on a true story that hit the newspapers, many would never suspect this assignment and more are becoming rampant - repeated across the country as we speak. Incidents are not reported as schools want them silenced.
Antisemitism is cast as a large role in the book, yet this uncovers even more current topics that rear their ugly heads in situations and places we wouldn't suspect. What happens when they all meld together at the same time-
Not all teens are taught the tools to fight against unfounded social issues such as peer pressure, bullies, and verbal abuse and hate crimes.
Would you recognize a bad judgement call made by your teacher or parent.
Edited 8-13-2022
New York Times 12-21
Third-Graders Instructed to Re-enact Scenes From Holocaust, Principal Says
A staff librarian was put on leave after students at an elementary school in Washington, D.C., were directed to simulate shootings and the digging of mass graves.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,904 reviews35.3k followers
October 6, 2020
Audiobook read by a full cast...
Emily Lawrence, Lincoln Hoppe, Julia Whelan, Andrew
Eiden, Lisa Wiemer,

A teen book - that adults, parents, and educators should consider reading.
There’s great value for everyone.
While the story-unfolding has that addictive thing definitely going for it — ( a couple of the characters will inspire the heck out of readers- and a nana just might make you cry).....
....besides being so unputdownable, timely, moving, emotional, compelling, plot driven with memorable characters...
*inspired-by-a-real-life incident*.

A reader can’t help but wonder, “what might I have done?”.
I put myself in the position of the students, the teachers, the principal of the school, the community, the parents, and nana.

This novel examines anti-Semitism and discrimination.
Wisdom and insights are drawn from organically plotted-authenticity.

...I was fully engaged.
...The characters were wonderful...
...The ‘voice-readers’ for each of characters were wonderful....
...The storytelling is a real thought provoking ‘hooker’!

If you’re willing to take a chance and go in blind...
Do That!!!

If you need to know more....
....it’s very engaging - imperatively intrinsic - with a demoralizing plot....
relatable to our current times.

There is something for each reader to evaluate —for themselves.

...Treat yourself to this book.
...Short time investment.
...Logan and Cade ( as the two primary characters)...both took courageous risks.
Parts of this story should anger ....
Other parts ...are just flabbergasting-shocking ... as in —‘NO WAY’ — could people be so damn insensitive - and/or completely blind.
Unless.... maybe??? You see something else? Well, then explore ‘that’.
All of this will make more sense when you read the book.

Readers really ‘think’ while reading this story ... lots of it.
Our hearts are also deeply invested.

I really hope people read this gem -discuss it.
Imagine yourself as any one of these characters.

The debate in question is:
‘Is’ there a ‘debate’ to argue ‘for’ The Nazi Final Solution and the murder of millions of Jewish people- ever?
If undecided- this story might change your mind.

5 stars!!!
Super thanks to Lisa Wiemer!
Thanks for writing it - ( so well!!)
Profile Image for Marilyn.
770 reviews208 followers
February 27, 2021
Five plus very strong stars! The Assignment by Liza M. Wiemer was a very thought provoking, riveting and compelling book. It was fast paced, plot driven and masterfully written.

As the title suggests, The Assignment unveiled a very serious dilemma for Logan and Cade, two high school students. Their much loved, very respected and revered history teacher had just told their class that they would be researching The Wannsee Conference. At this conference, high ranking Nazi officers debated “a Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” These Nazis were asked “to share perspectives on how to resolve the storage problem of Europe’s eleven million Jews.” The class was expected to “garner support or elicit sympathy for the Nazi perspective” and debate their arguments. From the onset, this assignment felt wrong to both Logan and Cade. These two courageous and brave high school seniors knew that they had to stand up for what they believed. They believed with all their conviction that this assignment was morally and ethically wrong. They felt it in every bone of their bodies. Logan and Cade knew that this assignment would trigger feelings of antisemitism, racism and prejudice. They had to try and put an end to this assignment even if it meant facing adversity. Keeping quiet and doing what they had been told to do was out of the question. They would not cast their eyes down and follow this directive. Logan and Cade would refuse to participate in the debate. They tried to appeal to both the teacher and their principal to cancel this assignment. Their appeal to cancel the assignment fell on deaf ears. Both the principal and teacher saw nothing wrong with the assignment. The teacher felt it would help his students broaden their points of view and help them develop critical thinking skills. Logan and Cade, given no other choice, then sought assistance and guidance from the education director at Humanity for Peace and Justice. Eventually, their assignment even made the national news. As Logan and Cade continued to fight for what they believed was right, the community at large, including the students and parents, all voiced their opinions. Things got quite ugly for both Logan and Cade. Were Logan and Cade justified and right to stand up against hate, antisemitism, racism and prejudice? What would you have done?

The Assignment by Liza M. Wiemer was based on a very similar situation that two high school students experienced at their school. They were assigned an antisemitic assignment that resembled the one in The Assignment. That was the catalyst Liza M. Wiemer used to write her book. You could feel how passionate author Liza M. Wiemer felt about this issue in her writing. The Assignment won The Sydney Taylor Young Award for Jewish children’s and young adult literature. This is a book that should be read by all. Even though it was a coming of age book written for a young adult audience, I believe that young adults as well as grown-ups could relate to it and should read it. Unfortunately, we continue to live in a world where racism, prejudice and antisemitism still exist. The world has to be taught how to change its thinking and confront these issues head on to eliminate these feelings. Can this happen? I hope so. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you Liza M. Wiemer for sending me a copy of your newest book, The Assignment in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
785 reviews238 followers
March 5, 2021
This is a very thought provoking YA book.
A teacher gives as an assignment to his class a research of the Wannsee Conference that happened in 1942 in Germany. Then, to create a debate, he separates the class into two groups: one must write strong arguments convincing the cons of exterminating the Jews, and the other must write arguments convincing the negative aspects.
How crazy is this?
The writing is very simple but gripping.
At 22% I had my heart sitting on the palm of my hand because I was so afraid of what was coming (if anything).
I was completely hooked.
The teacher’s arguments to defend this assignment is terrific and so are the arguments against this task, by the two main characters (who, I thought, were too articulate or eloquent to be considered teenagers - a flaw that I decided to ignore because I was enjoying this book too much).
This caused an impact of huge proportion in the whole community and beyond.
The development of the storyline was very well done.
I thought that the ending was too fast and too easy, but the author did a good job sending us a clear message.

Profile Image for Rachel007.
408 reviews47 followers
May 3, 2021
I read two early drafts as a beta reader and cannot wait to read the final in 2020!
Profile Image for Anuradha Rajurkar.
Author 2 books134 followers
December 8, 2020
THE ASSIGNMENT is a powerful, timely story of two teens, Cade and Logan, who, listening to their inner voices, stand up for what they know to be right despite immense pressure from their teachers, community, and country to act otherwise. Though THE ASSIGNMENT thoughtfully and masterfully handles social justice issues with a sensitive touch, it also uniquely braids together the power of friendship, love, and family, composing a story that is part mystery, part love story, part full-on resistance! The alternating voices of Cade and Logan were authentic and distinct, serving as a strong foundation for this propulsive, inspiring read. THE ASSIGNMENT took my breath away. Five stars!
Profile Image for A.J. Pine.
Author 23 books709 followers
December 24, 2019
"Can you be proud of your heritage, your faith, your identity, yet also have a strong need to protect or hide yourself from the 'outside' world?" This is a question Liza Wiemer asks in her author's note, which I read before beginning the book. Before even starting THE ASSIGNMENT, Wiemer's words had already struck a very sensitive chord because that duality has been something I've struggled with since I was a kid (even having grown up in a predominantly Jewish community) and continue to struggle with to this day.

The educator in me wants to see Liza Wiemer's THE ASSIGNMENT taught in classrooms alongside books like Elie Wiesel's NIGHT. As a librarian, I want to see it on the shelf of every high school and public library. As an author myself who wants to be part of bringing more Jewish characters to the forefront of popular literature, I think books like THE ASSIGNMENT are an important place to start, by putting them into the hands of young readers who need to see themselves represented on the pages of a book, but more importantly, for the non-Jewish reader to to gain the empathy needed to help stamp out the antisemitism and hate that is still, sadly, prevalent today.

As a teen, there is nothing harder than to stand against the majority for the simple sake of doing what's right. Through Cade and Logan's actions, Wiemer shows the danger of doing so but also, ultimately, the hope and change that can come from such bravery.

We need more Cades and Logans in literature and more Jordans and Archers (the real-life students upon which Cade and Logan are based) in our lives. Hopefully Wiemer's THE ASSIGNMENT is a step in that direction.
Profile Image for Andye.Reads.
834 reviews407 followers
September 11, 2020
I am so excited for this book!! HELLO? is a favorite of mine and I know this is going to be amazing and powerful!!

Edit: I knew it would be amazing and powerful and it didn’t let me down!

Timely. Eye-opening. Important.
June 10, 2020
As students in classrooms, young people are expected to accept and complete assignments given to them by their authority figures. Teachers rightfully expect not to have their authority questioned. Suppose, however, that an assignment was given that some students found to be morally reprehensible and they refused to comply. How would you react as a parent of one of those students; what would you want them to do with what they believed?
This is the dilemma that two high-school students, and their families must face in this book. An assignment is given in which students are expected to participate in a debate in which they are “Nazis” and give reasons to support the extermination of Jews, and which methods would be more effective. Cade and Logan, the two students, have no idea what turn of events will ensue when they stand up for their beliefs.
I think this book should be in every high school library and history classroom. As an educator, I believe it could be used to effectively teach about what can occur when hatred and prejudice is allowed to go unchecked. Since the setting is in modern times, I believe students would relate well to this book and learn the true meaning of the quote, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
**Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.**
Profile Image for Sandy Brehl.
Author 7 books130 followers
March 8, 2020
Since I first heard about the events that inspired Wiemer to write this book I've been anxious to read her powerful and important contemporary novel. I finally got my hands on an advance copy. It far exceeded my high expectations.

The publisher's synopsis reveals why the story is such a relevant one, suited to teens and adult readers, one that begs for book clubs, literature discussions, and personal reflections. The steadily rising plot is an undeniable strength, but I was equally impressed by the finely-honed character development, the compelling shifts in point of view and voice, including secondary characters and text-messaging chapters, all of which captured real-world lives perfectly. The writing presents a remarkable balance among many potent relationships, but none risk dominating the spotlight, and each adds energy to drive the stakes higher.

The central (and realistically heroic) characters are longtime friends, seniors, with a simmering undercurrent of romance. They each come from stressed but supportive families, and both have made impressive strides toward clearcut goals, all of which will feel familiar to many teen readers.
The central conflict arises when Logan (she's a girl, thank you very much!) is appalled by a research-simulation-role play assignment requiring students to enact Hitler's Wannsee Conference to debate THE FINAL SOLUTION. Logan's favorite teacher reassures the class that this is only an intellectual exercise, that he is in no way encouraging support of the events or arguments. Nevertheless, she finds it morally reprehensible and indefensible. Cade agrees.

I knew this central issue before I cracked the cover, but once I began reading, I couldn't stop. That moral dilemma and the relentless efforts of two loyal allies to resolve it from within "the system" left me feeling as frustrated yet committed as they were. A range of characters and circumstances that unfold throughout ensuing struggles play out like an award-winning movie. (I hope it will be snapped up for such a project soon!)

The short chapters, alternating and interspersed voices, complicating circumstances, family concerns, emotional tensions, and escalating efforts drove me forward to the complex but realistic and satisfying resolution. None of the multi-generational individuals who peopled this narrative fell into stereotypical roles. From within this story many current and worrying issues of nationalism, racism, and personal identity arose credibly- including political complications, social media frenzy, bullying, and hateful actions from those who were uninformed or misinformed.

A startling shared secret near the end (PLEASE do not spoil this for other readers) is entirely believable and rooted in the personal accounts of many Americans.
I've preordered several copies as gifts, one for me to keep, one to loan. I encourage everyone to read, share, and discuss this when YOU can get your hands on it. This is exactly the kind of story that should be discussed and explored in the midst of current antisemitism and racism.

Coming soon to a bookstore or website soon.
Don't wait for the movie, although I hope that will follow soon after.
Profile Image for Kip.
Author 14 books215 followers
November 12, 2019
Simply fantastic. I hope this book is read in schools across the country.
Profile Image for Katrina Feraco.
91 reviews2 followers
January 31, 2020
This is a fabulously written book about how difficult it is to do the right thing, especially when the right thing is extremely unpopular. It’s a damning of the people who say “there’s a right way to protest” and then say “no, not like that” when someone does so in the “appropriate” way. It’s an illustration of the way so many acts of hate and attitudes of intolerance are ALREADY normalized in 2020 in the US. Integrity and righteousness are two lofty ideas to communicate to teenagers, especially when the stakes are high, but this book communicates them well and reasonably. Accurate and fair, often presenting various attitudes as they are, the reader is asked to see what right and wrong is for themselves, especially in the various chapters that highlight comment sections and social media. Identity is also a huge theme, one that I can relate personally to; my grandmother’s family converted from Judaism because they were harassed and alienated by their neighbors in Connecticut in the early 20th century. I didn’t realize how recently in my family’s history that was; how many other students will have similar experiences? This theme was treated with respect and great attention and affection throughout the book. I appreciate that the teacher’s own struggle with his actions is treated with dignity. I know that it is difficult to be an educator and maintain a balance between what might be engaging and what is responsible, and hope this serves as a wake-up call for students and teachers. The characters all had their own definite personalities; Logan and Cade especially were a joy to watch together. This is an excellent book on an especially relevant topic, and I look forward to seeing its release in print.
Profile Image for Valerie Biel.
Author 6 books64 followers
August 20, 2020
I had been looking forward to reading Liza Wiemer’s "The Assignment" as soon as I heard the description. Based on a true story, Wiemer’s novel follows two teens who refuse to do an antisemitic assignment given in history class—one in which they’re expected to argue FOR the Nazi Final Solution and the murder of millions of Jewish people. Wiemer deftly handles this tough topic, creating two main characters, Cade and Logan, who are both fun and funny, witty and endearing, and just regular teens with regular teen problems on top of the huge challenge at the center of the novel. You’ll sink into the story as if you’re eavesdropping on their conversations. Wiemer’s dialogue writing is just that good! Standing up for the right thing should be easy, but somehow it never is—and the finely crafted plot brings us unexpected challenges and a surprising, poignant twist. This is an important modern-day story about intolerance and racism that every teen and adult should read and DISCUSS. I am going to be thinking about this book for a long time and take the liberty to quote the question on the cover. “Would YOU speak up for what is right?”
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,258 reviews277 followers
December 18, 2020
Wordpress Blog | Twitter | Pinterest

📗 This is a shocking and unfortunately, very true story about what happens when a teacher asks his class to argue for the Final Solution, putting themselves in the shoes of the most powerful Nazi leaders. What follows ends up being a debate about morality that spans the whole school, the town and nationwide.

📕 The author made this story a romantic one, without dragging away from the importance of the debate. Logan and Cade have already known each other for years, which helped, and clearly were very much wanting to start a relationship. These moments were very sweet, I really enjoyed them.

📘 While this is a powerful and moving novel, there were a couple of moments that felt like a pure soap opera plot twist, and I didn't enjoy those as much - I found them jarring. However the ending wrapped everything up perfectly in a way that felt authentic to me, and left me wanting to know what Logan and Cade would do in the future.
Profile Image for Lu .
339 reviews34 followers
June 23, 2020
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. Thank you so much, Random House Children's and Delacorte Press for giving me the chance to read this book.

"History is one of our best teachers. Unfortunately, this assignment will show you that society hasn't learned much at all." *

During their senior year, Logan March and Cade Crawford are shocked and upset when their favourite teacher gives the class an assignment where they have to argue for the Final Solution. Aware that this kind of assignment could fuel rage and hate, they decide to take a stand against it, complaining to their teacher, their principal and then talking to an organization fighting for peace and justice, involving the press and do anything they could think of to stop the assignment and the debate.
When the school's administration refuses to cancel them and Logan's and Cade's involvment in the protest is addressed, the whole community, friends, parents and teachers are forced to face the issue, unearthing antisemitism, bigotry, rage and hate. Will Logan and Cade be able to fight for respect, love and humanity or will the hate prevail in the community they thought safe?

Cade and Logan are two best friends that decide to refuse and fight against the assignment, aware than this could, and will, validate some of their classmates' hate and antisemitism, above all some of the hockey's team. Logan and Cade are strong-willed, strong and determinate character, aware that they are fighting for the right thing, refusing to back down, even when they are targeted by online and in real life bullies.
The assignment focuses on Logan's and Cade's POVs and the reader learns to know them, their friendship, stubborness, fierceness and their relationship with their classmates and relatives. The reader is able to know Cade's bond to his parents and grandparents, to his Nana, his loyalty to his family's inn, his sacrifices for it and his own family, as Logan's relationship with her father and Logan's and Cade's crush for one other. But, even though the romance is addressed and present it doesn't put aside their fight and their focus and the consequences their opposition has on the community.

Even though Logan and Cade are the main characters, The assignment has multiple POVs, focusing on various classmates and their thoughts and involvement in the situation. Mason and his relationship with his girlfriend, his bullying and violent father, his teammates and their hate and anger; Heather and her determination, stubborness and desire to do the right thing, defying her father's wants; Daniel, bullied because he's gay and his stand with Logan and Cade; the principal, the teacher and so on. Through short or long chapters, the book shows the community's reaction to this assignment and Logan's and Cade's reaction to it.

One of the thing I found absolutely interesting, after reading the author's note, is that this assignment was inspired by a real antisemitic assignment, that was defied by two teenagers, Archer Shurtliff and Jordan April (like Logan and Cade). Even though The assignment is a work of fiction, I was shocked and upset( but, let's be honest, not so surprised) when I learned that there are and were many assignments like this one, fortunately defied by other brave teenagers.

In our current world, where concentration camps still exist, where hate, bigotry and anger are fuel for so many incidents around the world, I found this book realistic, riveting and unputdownable. Woven into the story, there are so many interesting historical facts I loved since I'm a history nerd, like Logan.
The characters, from the main to the side ones, are interesting, complex and really relatable, I found myself involved in the story right away, my attention captured.

The story, the historical facts, everything was heartbreaking, moving and beautifully and skillfully written.
This book is a must read. It's important, eye-opening, powerful and heartbreaking. It's about standing up for the right thing, be brave, be loving and it's absolutely amazing.

"Make your home, your school, your community a place where humanKIND is welcomed"*

*quotes are from the earc and could change in the final product
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,174 reviews
July 31, 2020
This week, Jewish people all over the world observed Tisha B'Av, which is a day of mourning. It is the day we remember the destruction of both Temples that once stood in Jerusalem as well as a number of other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the course of history. (Description courtesy of My Jewish Learning.) So it's fitting that I recently read Liza M. Wiemer's sophomore novel, The Assignment. Based on the synopsis, you can see why.

About five years ago, I read Liza Wiemer's debut novel and was extremely impressed by it. So waiting this long for her to publish another one took a lot of patience from my end. I just wanted her to mass-produce books right away! I can confidently say for the record that The Assignment was well worth the wait.

The assignment itself was horrifying and the fact that two non-Jewish students were appalled by it gives me hope for their generation, as well as future ones. This was based on a real situation, which is written about in the author's note. Seeing what Logan and Cade had to put up with in hopes of getting the assignment cancelled was equally horrifying. It's similar to stuff that happens in real life, as well. The fact that a lot of comments people made were antisemitic was even more disheartening. Liza puts a lot of emotional impact into her story without making it sappy. She even presents the teacher's side at times. I also liked that there was focus on Logan and Cade's friendship and other characters got to share their perspectives, as well.

The story is educational for anyone who isn't familiar with what happened during the Holocaust by now. I think it should be included in school curriculum, whether it is for an English class or a history class. There is so much material to discuss and Liza leaves some things open ended, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. It's perfect for book clubs, as well. And if you have a teenager in the house, be sure to get this into their hands as soon as it publishes. If you think a preteen could handle it, let them read it too!

I definitely recommend this novel as it is insightful and thought-provoking. It will make you feel things and you might even want to have some tissues handy.

Movie casting suggestions:
Logan: Alexis G. Zall
Cade: Noah Lomax
Mr. Bartley: Tom Hiddleston
Mason: Jake Brennan
Heather: Harley Graham
Daniel: Jamie Kaye
Kerrianne: Jade Pettyjohn
Reggie: Christian Martyn

Originally posted at Merrylandgirl.
4 reviews
April 6, 2020
Morality, passion, and sincerity make The Assignment a must-read. Liza Wiemer weaves the historical content of the Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution into the novel, adding depth, clarity, and perspective to Cade and Logan's (primary characters) concerns. Complex characters (both primary and secondary) learn that speaking up is more important than just surviving―a powerful, relevant, and necessary message for all readers.

Liza Wiemer understands her audience and knows how to handle sensitive topics. My students and I enjoy HELLO?, and I can't wait to teach The Assignment next year.
Profile Image for Whitney.
343 reviews28 followers
July 27, 2020
**Thank you to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my rating**

WOW! This book was so important, so uncomfortable, so well-written, and had me devouring it in a 24 hour period. I enjoyed this book tremendously.

TW: Anti-Semitism, Homophobia, Bullying, Discussions about the Holocaust

Logan March and Cade Crawford are given an assignment by their History teacher which asks them to put themselves in the shoes of Nazis and debate a "Final Solution to the Jewish problem" in class. This being an abhorrent assignment, Logan and Cade refuse to complete it and try to get this debate cancelled. The book is based on a real experience of two teenagers in Oswego, NY in 2017.

First off, I live not too far from Oswego. That was unsettling to hear that this happened about an hour and a half from me and so recently. I'm a substitute teacher and I can't imagine a teacher assigning something like this and also having the full support of the administration, as well as support from some of their colleagues. It was a reminder to me. So I appreciate that.

I also feel certain some people will be surprised that the setting is in NY. There are plenty of racists and anti-semites up here, as well. I don't have neighbors flying a Confederate flag, but I have had my fair share of encounters with racist people over the years as a biracial person. It is accurate.

I appreciated that Logan and Cade were both levelheaded throughout the novel. There were times emotions ran high and they might be upset, but they always thought about the solution to their assignment in a rational and logical way. I respect that tremendously. They work hard to fight for what's right.

I also liked that Wiemer included multiple POVs throughout the novel so you get a more complete sense of how this assignment is affecting the school. For example, there's a classmate who is gay and therefore doesn't want to do the assignment, either, but uses another form of protest. There are two or three classmates who actually are anti-semites and are using this assignment to spew their vitriolic hate. There are chapters from the POVs of the teacher or the principal. We get a look into how Logan and Cade's family are dealing with this. It is very well rounded and a great way to write this book.

The book is very well-written. I was glued to my iPad while I was reading. I can't remember the last time I flew through a book like this. While the subject matter was uncomfortable at times, this book is so important, especially in our current social climate. The book brings awareness to Anti-Semitic behavior and how it still affects society today, not just in the past. I can see Humanities teachers and librarians enthusiastically using this book as a resource in the future. Very well executed and a book I highly recommend. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars

Popsugar Reading Prompt: The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed
Profile Image for Rachael Hall.
40 reviews2 followers
August 14, 2020
This book is so important to read. It seems a very realistic portrayal of how easily people who are generally "good" can be gaslit into thinking something that is super racist or problematic is... not. It is also a beautiful picture of this generation's penchant for advocacy and standing up for what is right. Cade and Logan are The Best and both must be protected at all costs.

This book is unlike anything I have ever read for a few reasons. One is the writing style is quite unique. The way you see the characters' perspectives and the changing POV's was very interesting and I liked it. Another reason this book is different is the content. It is SO IMPORTANT to shine a light on problematic and racist school assignments. Thank you Liza Weimer for writing this book.

For those that want to know, the book is about Seniors in high school Logan and Cade who protest a racist assignment in their history class. Simply put, they are asked to take the side of NAZIS in a debate about the reasons for eradicating jews (this all happens in the first chapter so it's not a spoiler).

From there is a heart breaking tale about these kids being failed by their peers and their teachers/school administrators over and over again. Throughout it all, though, they remain steadfast and brave. They are my new heroes. I repeat, protect Logan and Cade at all costs!!!

Profile Image for Lori Kaufmann.
Author 5 books193 followers
December 17, 2020
The Assignment is the kind of book that forces you to think the whole time you’re reading. You step into the characters' shoes and wonder - what would I have done?

Would I have been as brave as the two teenagers who realized that a history assignment to re-enact the Nazi debate about Jewish genocide was itself wrong? Would I have had the courage to challenge not only a beloved teacher, but a principal and the state education commissioner? Would I have had the guts to go against all of my friends and risk being a social outcast? Would I put my family's business at risk for my beliefs?

This is what makes the book so powerful. It makes you question yourself: how far would you go to stand up for what you believe is right? And maybe you'll never have to question the morality of a school assignment, but what will you do when you hear a racist comment, an anti-semitic joke, or see a discriminatory incident? What if no one even means to be hateful (a twist that the author inserts to make the situation even more morally complex).

Yes, the Assignment is a morality tale, but it’s so much more. It's also a great read. Cade and Logan are the kind of characters you fall in love with, cheer on, cry with and laugh with. The story, based on a true incident, makes for a propulsive plot. I couldn't put it down!

This is the kind of book you don't just read, you insist your friends read too. Because it's not only good, it's important.
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,097 reviews129 followers
August 17, 2020
This is based on a true story, although the assignment is the only thing that isn't changed. We all think we'd be the people to stand up to injustice, but probably most of us are like the other students in the classroom. It's hard to stand up to people, and so we're very lucky that there are people like Logan and Cade in the world.

I love everything about this story. The multiple perspectives give us the chance to experience it through other people's perspectives. We mostly see Cade and Logan, but the chapters from Mason and Cade's mom and Mr. Bartley show a more nuanced version than we would've seen if we had only read it from their point of view. I also love the subplot about the inn. It's impossible to understand Cade's actions throughout the novel without also understanding that he's someone who is so loyal and committed to a sense of what is right and decent. There has to be a better way to say this, but he's someone who sees everything through. He's an honorable person in a time where that's maybe not very important anymore.

It's so inspiring and I love so much of what happened. Yes, there are a lot of awful things in the world, but there is also so much good. This book showcases both. It's completely impossible to not feel optimistic and inspired after reading it.

It's available on August 25, and you absolutely need to read it as soon as you can. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Nancy Barnett.
2 reviews1 follower
February 23, 2020
As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I have lived with the history in this book my entire life. Wondering if I would have been strong, lucky and smart enough to survive has always been my burden. Today's students and the next generations will have a different dilemma. The problems inherent in an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping are not easy. People are still being bullied, and we need to empower students to speak up and be an upstander. They cannot remain silent!

This book, placed squarely in today's world, will challenge both adults and youth, teachers and students, and is a 'must read' for our times. This book models the courage that is needed to deal with a society that does not always support them.
April 26, 2020
Liza Wiemer is a gifted writer.

A fantastic resource for all educators, where everyday heroes teach us that we can and should, stand up to evil and keep on going with our heads held high.

I can see every school handing out a copy of The Assignment as required reading for staff, students and their families, to facilitate relevant and timeless discussion about always doing what is right.

I laughed, cried, and cheered along with Wiemer’s well thought out and very relatable characters. I couldn’t put the book down.

The Assignment should become the new standard in facilitating empathy education for all young adults worldwide.
3 reviews
October 17, 2019
I was privileged to read an ARC of The Assignment. It is a captivating YA novel that will cause you to reflect on your values and your courage if put in a position to follow the crowd or stand firm for what is right and just. In America and around the world, this book should be part of every middle school and high school curriculum. Chilling, surprising, thought-provoking, disturbing, inspiring, hopeful, and deeply relevant. There is much to unpack here; do so with your kids. Don't miss it when it launches in 2020. 
Profile Image for Maureen.
896 reviews39 followers
August 5, 2020
When I started this novel I expected it to be just like The Wave. It is so much more. The Assignment tells the story of Cade and Logan, who, when given an assignment to defend Nazi actions, refuse to participate in the class debate. The reaction sparks support and dissonance from their classmates, their teachers, the residents of their town, and ultimately the nation. Logan and Cade learn a great deal about themselves and others. But the most important lesson they learn is to speak up. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to be an early reader of this important novel.
Profile Image for Sarah Kealy.
8 reviews1 follower
April 22, 2020
I recently had the privilege of reading an ARC of Liza Wiemer’s upcoming new release, The Assignment. After having devoured her first YA novel, Hello?, I was anxiously waiting to read this new novel, which did not disappoint!

A group of teens are presented with a very difficult situation when their much beloved and respected teacher gives them an assignment to pretend they’re Nazis and argue for the Final Solution. Our two lead characters, Logan and Cade, are horrified. The story begins as the two discuss, argue, question, debate just how and why their teacher could do such an incredulous thing. I loved the dialogue between these two best friends, moving each other forward with conviction to stop this assignment from happening. What they didn’t expect was to do this alone, and the varying reaction from friends, fellow students, family and community. The vast majority of their classmates' acceptance without question, is also part of the story and I thought this was very well done because this is an age where teens are still trying to figure out who they are, what they feel, find their voice, or simply just deciding to imitate their own parents for lack of desire or readiness to examine their own feelings.

What a beautiful story Wiemer tells, and her writing is such a gift. I found myself pausing quite a bit while reading the book, to think about how I would have handled this as my teenage self, trying to deal with the confusion, the rage, and the disappointment and disbelief that adults in charge of our education would make a decision that was so wrong. It brought back many memories as I think we all are faced with decisions like this when learning and developing our own sense of self. I think I would have taken the road of not speaking up, as that was often the easiest choice and gave me less of a chance of standing out. What Logan and Cade did was so commendable, but difficult. They were let down and so disappointed by the reactions of so many people, but their passion and determination to be heard, along with their dedication to each other, was so uplifting and a joy to be part of.

Teaching racism, antisemitism, and intolerance, in general, are difficult subjects, especially during these formative years. This book is such a great learning tool for teachers and parents to share with their kids as it encourages an inward search, discovering your own voice and learning that hate has no place in our world and our differences should be tolerated not judged. I applaud Wiemer’s storytelling, her message and am so grateful to have been able to read it early. Wiemer's books always change me in such positive, gentle ways. I look forward to her next ones!
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,283 reviews217 followers
June 29, 2020
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE ASSIGNMENT by Liza Wiemer in exchange for my honest review.***

When a beloved history teacher gives an assignment to argue in favor of the holocaust to get a deeper perspective of the genocide the Nazi perpetrated, seniors Cade and Jordan set out to stop THE ASSIGNMENT.

Liza Wiemer wrote a Big Issue Book that doesn’t pretend to offer readers a choice on how to think about THE ASSIGNMENT. All of the characters against the debate are the Good Ones. All of the students in favor of the debate are anti Semitic. Mr Barclay has intentions of getting the teens to think outside the book, but hasn’t though through potential negative consequences of teens whose brains haven’t begun growing using the pro side for bullying. As a psychologist, I see value in examining (not debating) a despicable point of view as part of understanding human behavior to prevent history from repeating. To me, shutting down discussion is an opportunity lost. When we view things in absolute terms of black and white, we lose any possible ability to see humanity. Was every slave owner a terrible person? What of the man who treated his slaves well? He will always be wrong for having slaves, even if he’s not the same level of wrong as those who treated slaves poorly. Allowing for levels of wrong helps understand ancestors and history better with the basic premise slavery was wrong. Was every Nazi despicable? Did every Nazi want to follow Hitler? A discussion looking into possible thoughts of Nazis with the underlying given that everything about the Holocaust was wrong could have been a useful learning tool.

THE ASSIGNMENT is filled with information about Nazi Germany, and Mr Barclay doesn’t miss an opportunity to speak out against the Holocaust. He probably should have handled the class knuckleheads better.

Cade’s character when through the biggest transformation, his subplot was the most interesting. All of the characters were secondary to The Big Issue. With frequent point of view changes including students and faculty, grabbing on to anyone was difficult. I liked Mason, the bully coach’s son best.

THE ASSIGNMENT is an important, but heavy-handed story that could have been more nuanced.
Profile Image for Megan.
136 reviews
January 17, 2022
It pains me to give this two stars. The author's note makes it clear how important this subject is to her and you feel that when reading.

I loved the idea of this book and controversial assignments are certainly big news within the last five years or so...or maybe I am just more aware of them in the news now that I am a teacher. It was the writing and execution of it that fell flat.

I do think teens could easily feel very passionately about this assignment. But these teens seemed to be able to perfectly articulate these feelings in long speeches about what's right and wrong. Most of the dialogue didn't ring true, between the adults or the students. The characters were wildly exaggerated. The kids fell into two sides. They were either completely virtuous and sobbing every time they talked about how awful the assignment was, or portrayed as almost completely rotten to the point they sympathized with the Nazis, called others racial slurs, and started calling each other the Aryans. Even the writing that wasn't dialogue felt stiff and awkward. I thought, well it's YA, the writing is going to be more simplistic. Generally true, but then I remembered all the wonderfully written YA I have read, so that's not an excuse to me.

The plot was also predictable. It reminded me of a plot diagram I teach my fourth graders: lead, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion. A useful device when you are just learning to write a story, but a more skilled author doesn't have to follow it to a t. Admittedly, many or even most books do follow this to some degree but they have other elements thrown in, or more than one climax, or they just generally aren't so.....predictable. And the teacher, after multiple meetings in which he stands his ground, suddenly

It reads very quickly, and like I said, it's an interesting premise so I think it's still worth a shot for others as it has many five star reviews.
Profile Image for Aliza Werner.
1,041 reviews89 followers
August 24, 2020
My review was published on 8/24/20 on Nerdy Book Club. Full text below and please visit the original post:

THE ASSIGNMENT by Liza Wiemer: MAKE HISTORY – SPEAK UP! – Book Review by Aliza Werner

The lie about history is that it remains in the past.

History is persistent and if left unattended, or in untrustworthy hands, it has the potential to breathe new life into its darkest, deadliest disasters. History is a shapeshifter. It hopes you do not recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or war disguised as peace. We must be vigilant, insistent that learning history’s lessons is not dependent on repeating it.

History was not meant to be an untouched relic, destined to be contained and preserved behind museum glass and flattened between textbook pages. History was meant to be held, examined, prodded, pried open, and deconstructed from infinite angles.

History is the extensive user’s manual for today.

History is the sharp elbow that jabs us between the ribs and begs us to pay attention to both the best and the worst of humanity.

History is the alarm that screeches through silence, rousing us to a new day and warning us of imminent danger.

History is the raging forest fire that demands to be quenched, and the fireplace embers that desire to be stoked.

History is our reminder that humans are capable of great love and great hurt, wondrous creation and vast decimation.

History requires our constant supervision.

On January 20, 1942, fifteen high-ranking members of the Nazi party and officials from the German government convened The Wannsee Conference to discuss “The Final Solution of The Jewish Question”, a code name for the total annihilation of Europe’s Jewish people. The men did not debate whether or not a complete genocide of 11,000,000 Jews was moral. “The men at the table did not deliberate whether such a plan should be undertaken, but instead discussed the implementation of a policy decision that had already been made at the highest level of the Nazi regime (ushmm.org).”

I expect (I do not hope, nor ask) that we all agree that any lines of morality had not only been crossed, but left light-years behind in the dust.

In February 2017, a class of high school students in an Oswego, New York education program received an assignment to write an argumentative text in the form of a memorandum. The assignment asked students to step into the roles of Nazis to debate the merits of the Final Solution. Yes, you read that correctly. Students asked to portray Nazis was problematic itself, but causing further damage was asking students to inhabit a Nazi perspective arguing in favor of the mass murder of Jewish people.

Seniors in the class, Jordan April and Archer Shurtliff, were horrified. In their eyes, they were being asked to defend the indefensible.

The teens believed that participating in this assignment would only give legitimacy to hate. After expressing concerns to their teacher and administration, who would not budge, the teens contacted the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate organization that fights against antisemitism and works “to secure justice and fair treatment for all”. The story blew up and made the papers.

In a twist of fate, Wisconsin author Liza Wiemer, happened to be in upstate New York for a book signing in April 2017. Arriving early and avoiding a drenching downpour, she waited in the comfort of her car. As she scrolled through social media, an article about Jordan, Archer, and their assignment caught her eye. Liza, who is Jewish and an educator, was appalled reading about it. She saw that the teens lived in Oswego…the exact town where her author event was to take place. Even more coincidentally, when she walked into the bookstore she saw none other than Jordan herself. She worked there.

This experience resonated for Liza and became the planted seeds for her new upper middle grade/young adult novel THE ASSIGNMENT, publishing August 25, 2020. Based on this true story, Liza explored through an #OwnVoices lens, the concept of speaking out, for yourself and for others, when it is hard, when you’re the only one, when no one is on your side, when you must challenge authority. The novel is especially timely and relevant as racism, bigotry, xenophobia, as well as, antisemitism and hate crimes targeting Jews, ranging from vandalism to synagogue shootings, have increased to record levels in the United States.

THE ASSIGNMENT follows Cade and Logan, high school seniors, who receive an assignment from Mr. Bartley, one of their favorite teachers. The assignment? A debate: Pretend you’re a Nazi. Half the class is to argue in favor of exterminating Jews and half the class is to debate the merits of sterilizing Jews and putting them in work camps and ghettos in order to implement the Final Solution. In other words, murder Jews outright or enslave them and work them to death. Refusing to participate and legitimize hate, Cade and Logan not only want to be exempt from the debate, they want it to be canceled altogether.

“It’s just role playing!” Mr. Bartley insists. But Cade and Logan knew the assignment’s implications were not harm-free. Some lines should not be crossed. Some arguments have no defense. Rationalizing the genocide of a targeted group of people is one of them.

There are countless other ways to learn about The Wannsee Conference within the context of the Holocaust without having to justify evil.

Eventually, the community members become involved in the support or suppression of Cade’s and Logan’s efforts. Facing overwhelming opposition and obstacles, the teens lean on each other to speak out against intolerance, antisemitism, and discrimination. A modern story told in alternating voices and various formats (prose, text messages, video chats, articles), THE ASSIGNMENT, deftly weaves challenging topics into a realistic narrative wrapped in mystery, young love, empowerment, and grassroots resistance.

This novel shows different aspects of what took place during the Holocaust and there is plenty of history for readers to learn and absorb. But it also is a book about bravery, morality, humanity, and unconditional empathy in action. This is a book that underscores the idea that impact is always greater than intention, that a teacher can be both beloved and cause harm. Mr. Bartley is not the evil that history warned us about. He’s a sympathetic, dynamic character who reflects all of us. We all need redirection at some point, to do better when we know better, to speak up when it’s difficult, but right.

The lie about history is that it remains in the past. THE ASSIGNMENT shows how easily it can be resuscitated and recycled, dire consequences and all.

THE ASSIGNMENT is a powerful, engaging, five-star read, perfect to include in classrooms and curriculum across the globe. It provides a modern and robust foundation to spark critical discussions on how history’s events become relevant lessons for today. THE ASSIGNMENT transcends its own specific narrative, broadening discourse around combating hate and discrimination in any form. Young people must see that history is living and breathing. This book has the potential to guide students toward consciously embracing their role as active participants in the making of history.

If you have ever wondered how far you would go to speak up for others from cultures, religions, and languages not your own, ask yourself: What am I doing today? What am I doing to speak up in this moment in history?
Profile Image for Lizzy Mason.
Author 3 books210 followers
February 20, 2020
Official blurb: "The Assignment shows the importance of asking questions, speaking truth even when it’s uncomfortable, and demanding change regardless of your age. A beautiful story, as smart and timely as it is page-turning, this book should be essential reading for both teens and adults.”

Unofficial blurb: READ THIS BOOK.
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