88 pages 2 hours read

Alan Gratz

Ground Zero

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2021

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Chapters 1-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary: “How We Survive”

Brandon Chavez, a nine-year-old boy, rides the subway with his dad. He has been suspended from school for punching another boy, Stuart, so he has to go with his dad to work. His dad asks him to explain why he punched Stuart, and Brandon says that Stuart deserved to be punched for stealing Wolverine gloves from Brandon’s friend. Brandon gets frustrated when his dad says that he should have talked to Stuart instead of punching him; he thinks his dad does not understand.

Brandon watches the two large Twin Towers (or the North and South Towers) of the World Trade Center out of the subway window. His dad works in the North Tower on the top floor, the 107th floor, at the restaurant Windows on the World. Brandon’s dad reminds him that they have to stay a team. They have been a team since Brandon’s mom died five years ago from cancer. His dad tells Brandon, “This is how we survive, right? Together. It’s you and me against the world” (4).

Brandon regrets hitting Stuart but still thinks Stuart deserved it. Walking inside the North Tower, his dad tells him that the school was right to suspend him because he needed to be punished.