Title: The Assignment
Author: Liza M. Wiemer
Release date: August 25th, 2020
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?
“How can you ask us to justify genocide?”
The Assignment is a powerful contemporary novel that follows two teens as they challenge authority when assigned an immoral project in their history class. They’re tasked with debating the Nazi Final Solution from the perspective of Nazis, but Logan and Cade know this is immoral and no one should be putting themselves in the Nazis shoes to justify their actions. This assignment brings out hatred in their community, and Logan and Cade face many obstacles in their path of righting this injustice.
It was a quick read, but it was packed full of emotion. It alternated perspectives, and it was done really well and it was clear which POV you were reading from. Logan and Cade are both very defined and react to the events in their own way. They make a great team and I was really rooting for them. I was also rooting for their romance, which was a subplot to the overarching story in The Assignment.
I love how overtly this book calls out white supremacy, and how many of the arguments used to defend the assignment are rooted in white supremacy. This book doesn’t hold back on calling the injustices what they are, and these teens do an incredibly inspiring job standing up to authority to call out what’s wrong.
Beyond discussions of antisemitism surrounding the Holocaust, this book also does an incredible job highlighting how hatred of marginalized people has continued to be so normalized in 2020. This book takes place in a neighbourhood where many still display the confederate flag, which is a very real reality for many municipalities in the states. It’s hard to read the hate that exists from characters in this book, but it’s important to see people standing up for what’s right and challenging the injustices still happening in 2020.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. Be warned that there is quite a bit of antisemitism in this book, but its all challenged. It’s quite a powerful story about doing what’s right despite how hard it may be.
*ARC received at OLA Superconference*