Ground Zero

Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

5 out of 5 Magical Coffee Cups

From goodreads:

It’s September 11, 2001. Brandon, a 9-year-old boy, goes to work for the day with his dad . . . at the World Trade Center in New York City. When two planes hit the towers, Brandon and his father are trapped inside a fiery nightmare as terror and confusion swirl around them. Can they escape — and what will the world be like when they do?
In present-day Afghanistan, Reshmina is an 11-year-old girl who is used to growing up in the shadow of war, but she has dreams of peace and unity. When she ends up harboring a wounded young American soldier, she and her entire family are put in mortal danger. But Reshmina also learns something surprising about the roots of this endless war.
With his trademark skill and insight, Alan Gratz delivers an action-packed and powerful story of two kids whose lives connect in unexpected ways, and reminds us how the past and present are always more linked than we think.

My review:

I am not sure if it is because I was alive when this horrific event happened or because I can remember watching it happen live that this book was so intense. This story takes place in the North Tower on September 11, 2001. Brandon is there with his dad on the 107 floor. There is a second point of view as well—this one from a young girl, Reshmina, in Afghanistan in 2019.

Both characters are going through the most horrifying events. I can’t imagine a child having to live through any of this. It’s just so much. I spent much of the book freaking out and silently screaming for Brandon to get out of the building! Each time he stopped to see who else was still in the building or try to use a phone, I wanted to throw the book across the room.

This book was heartbreaking, and I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be handing it to a 6th grader. But then again, it’s based on fact. These events happened. I was so angry reading about people sitting around offices because emergency services told them to sit tight and wait for firefighters, but at the time, no one thought the towers would fall.

I wonder if students will have as intense feelings with this book seeing as they weren’t born when this happened?

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