88 pages 2 hours read

Alan Gratz

Ground Zero

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2021

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The Power of a Single Day

Alan Gratz shows the power of single day in a couple of ways in Ground Zero. Both Brandon’s and Reshmina’s storylines take place on a single day, so the novel’s own form reflects this theme. Both Brandon and Reshmina experience multiple life-altering events on that single day. In Brandon’s case, on September 11, 2001, his dad dies, and he survives a terrorist attack. He learns how to survive without his dad and to help and rely on others. He forms a bond with Richard, who becomes his adoptive father. Living through the attack and losing his dad both change the trajectory of his life because they lead him to joins the Army and serve multiple tours in Afghanistan. In Reshmina’s case, on September 11, 2019, she loses her twin to the Taliban, and her village is destroyed.

When Pasoon leaves, Reshmina loses her best friend, and on the same day, she loses her home. On that same day, though, she saves Taz’s life, as well as her neighbors’ lives, when she tells everyone to hide from the Taliban in the caves. These actions strengthen Reshmina’s independence and courage. For both Brandon and Reshmina, one day is life altering.