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Ground Zero by Alan Gratz - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway

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I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the GROUND ZERO by Alan Gratz Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:


Author: Alan Gratz

Pub. Date: February 2, 2021

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it:  GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, AudibleB&N, iBooks, Kobo,

In time for the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, master storyteller Alan Gratz (Refugee) delivers a pulse-pounding and unforgettable take on history and hope, revenge and fear -- and the stunning links between the past and present. 

September 11, 2001, New York City: Brandon is visiting his dad at work, on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. Out of nowhere, an airplane slams into the tower, creating a fiery nightmare of terror and confusion. And Brandon is in the middle of it all. Can he survive -- and escape?

September 11, 2020, Afghanistan: Reshmina has grown up in the shadow of war, but she dreams of peace and progress. When a battle erupts in her village, Reshmina stumbles upon a wounded American soldier named Taz. Should she help Taz -- and put herself and her family in mortal danger?

Two kids. One devastating day. Nothing will ever be the same.

Says Alan Gratz: “For all its horrors, 9/11 is also the story of people coming together to help one another in a time of crisis. And for all the death and destruction the war has brought to Afghanistan, it has also meant the end of the Taliban as the country’s official rulers, and more freedom for women and girls. GROUND ZERO explores these contradictions, highlighting how people are often at their best when the worst happens and how impossible it is to make the right decision when both outcomes are unacceptable. These are universal experiences that ignore nationality and religion and culture—challenges that unite us as human beings—and I believe that fiction helps young people understand these big, scary topics and empathize with the people enduring them.”

“The year 2021 will mark the twenty-year anniversary of 9/11. Will it also mark the twenty-year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan? Time will tell. One way or another, we still live in a world reshaped and redefined by what happened in those 102 frightful minutes on a bright blue September morning in 2001. It’s more important than ever to help new generations understand how we got from there to where we are today.”

“With his signature accessibility and insight, Gratz tackles events on both U.S. soil and abroad … Subtexts and well-developed secondary characters give readers fuller perspectives surrounding the political, religious, and sociological factors that contribute to the horrors Brandon and Reshmina are living through. The pace is quick (don’t blink or you’ll miss something!), its emotions deeply authentic, and the highly visual settings resonate with accuracy. With a moving author’s note, pertinent back matter, and a surprise twist which brings the book full circle, Gratz delivers another winning read. Ground Zero will appeal to middle-grade readers, who were born after the events of 9/11, and to those adults who lived through it and will never forget.”– BOOKLIST, starred review

“Tautly paced … Conveys immediacy and depth.” – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11.” – KIRKUS REVIEWS




Book Trailer:

Ground Zero is one of those books that it's hard to put into words how to describe it. It's emotional. It's heavy. And it's still relevant, even today, when we're coming up on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.  
I have to admit, when I first read the synopsis of the book when it came across my radar, I got chills. My arms broke out in goosebumps, and I was immediately transported back to that fateful day. I was 16, sitting in my English class, junior year of high school. An announcement came over the PA system, and teachers were asked to turn on the news. I remember sitting there, staring at the TV screen, watching the news as the events played out on screen. I remember how surreal everything felt, like I was in a dream. It wasn't until the crash of Flight 93, about an hour away from where I was, that things really came into focus and became real. 
Reading this book brought back all of those memories, and more. It's a really tough book to get through at times. The story follows Brandon, a 9 year old boy who has been suspended for punching another student, and is now at work with his dad for the day. His dad is kitchen manager for Windows of the World, the restaurant at the very top of the North Tower. What starts out as a relatively normal day for Brandon and his dad soon turns into a nightmare.
The story also follows Reshmina, a young Afghan girl from a small villager. Reshmina has big dreams, but her family wants her to learn to be a good and dutiful wife. And her twin brother, Pasoon, is angry. He's angry that the Americans are in his country, and that the Afghan Army is working with them. Pasoon has big dreams too. He wants to join the Taliban and rid his country of the Americans. 
Each chapter alternates POV, showcasing the horrors Brandon is living as he finds himself separated from his father and trapped in the North Tower, while also detailing the trials and tribulations of Reshmina and her family after they give sanctuary to an injured American soldier named Taz. 
There were a few times I had to set the book down and walk away. There were times I teared up and got a little more emotional than I expected to. And when I got to a certain point near the end, I audibly gasped, surprised by the way things played out. 
If you're looking for a powerful, emotional read, and if you're old enough to remember the horror that was 9/11, definitely give Ground Zero a read. 
4.5 stars from me. 

About Alan: 

ALAN GRATZ is the New York Times bestselling author of several highly acclaimed books for young readers, including Allies, Grenade, Projekt 1065, Prisoner B-3087, and Code of Honor. His

novel Refugee is often referred to as a modern classic, and has remained on The New York Times bestseller list for over two years. Alan lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughter. Look for him online at


Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of GROUND ZERO, US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Two Chicks on Books



BookHounds YA



The Obsessed Reader/ObsessedRead


Week Two:


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers



Lisa Loves Literature



Hurn Publications



Down The Rabbit Hole



Portals Into Books



Fire and ice, Little Red Reads



Lifestyle of Me


Week Three:


The Momma Spot



A Dream Within A Dream






Books A-Brewin'



Books and Zebras @jypsylynn



The Scribe Owl



Jazzy Book Reviews


Week Four:





Locks, Hooks and Books







Register to attend these free-to-attend virtual events at the websites of each hosting bookstore

Monday, February 1, 2021

11:00 am (EST): RJ Julia Independent Booksellers (Madison, CT)

2:00 pm (EST): Malaprop’s (Asheville, NC)


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

2:00 pm (EST): Politics & Prose (Washington D.C.)

7:00 pm (EST): Book launch event via Politics & Prose (Washington D.C.)

In conversation with Lauren Tarshis (author of I SURVIVED series)


Wednesday: February 3, 2021

10:00 am (EST): Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, GA)

9:00 am (PST): Children’s Book World (Los Angeles, CA)


Thursday, February 4, 2021

10:00 am (EST): An Unlikely Story (Plainville, MA)

5:00 pm (CST): Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, TX)


Friday, February 5, 2021

11:00 am (EST): Boogie Down Books (New York, NY)

4:30 pm (EST): Trinity Preparatory Author Festival (Winter Park, FL)


Monday, February 8, 2021

10:00 am (CST): Anderson’s (Chicago, IL)

1:00 pm (CST): Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MO)


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

10:00 am (CST): Square Books (Oxford, MS)

6:00 pm (MST): The King’s English (Salt Lake City, UT)


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

9:00 am (MST): Changing Hands Bookstore (Phoenix, AZ)

10:30 am (PST): Green Bean Books (Portland, OR)


Thursday, February 11, 2021

10:00 am (CST): Watermark Books & Cafe (Wichita, KS)

5:00 pm (PST): The Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle, WA)


Friday, February 12, 2021

10:00 am (CST): Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN)

2:00 pm (EST): Little City Books (Hoboken, NJ)


March 11-13, 2021

Southern Young Adult Book Festival (Murfreesboro, TN)

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