88 pages 2 hours read

Alan Gratz

Ground Zero

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2021

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Character Analysis


Brandon Chavez is a nine-year-old boy from New York City. He lives with his dad, Leo. His mother died of cancer when he was four. Since then, his dad has been his only family. They frequently remind each other that together they make a team. At the start of the novel, Brandon is suspended from school for punching a boy who stole a toy from his friend. He believes that this was the right thing to do. Throughout the novel, as Brandon fights to survive the terrorist attack on the North Tower, he is motivated by his commitment to his dad. He repeatedly chooses to go towards the danger to reunite with and rescue his dad rather than simply rescue himself. He believes that he is helpless without his dad since they are a team.

However, Brandon is braver than he thinks he is. He fights to reunite with his dad because he thinks he cannot survive on his own, while in fact he not only survives on his own, but also saves other people along the way. Brandon demonstrates great bravery in his actions, including going upstairs while everyone else goes down and going out onto the ledge of the destroyed 89th floor.