Grew Up… in Highland Park, Ill., an affluent suburb of Chicago. His family consists of his father, Peter; mother, Alicia; and younger sister, Grace. His upbringing was harmonious until his father resigned as State’s Attorney following a sexual and political scandal. This inaugurated the most turbulent period of Zach’s life, coinciding perfectly (or imperfectly, depending on one’s perspective) with the messy years of adolescence.
Living… in a downtown Chicago apartment with his mom and younger sister while his dad’s in jail. Zach’s grandmother, Jackie, helps look after him and his sister, though Zach is perfectly capable of looking after himself. He misses his dad and wishes he could see him. He also misses Highland Park and his friends there, though he is making new friends and adjusting to his new environment.
Profession… high school student, but his real “job” now is to be a supportive son. He has changed high schools since the move, attending a public high school instead of the expensive prep school that his mother can no longer afford. Zach takes this all in stride though, understanding the strain already placed on his mother and the additional grief it will cause her to think that he’s unhappy where he is.
Interests… technology. Zach is Alicia’s go-to expert for advice about backing up and sending files, and it appears that Zach has some knowledge of computer hacking. He is good at figuring things out; for example, deciphering whether or not a picture’s been photoshopped by examining “specular highlights.”
Relationship Status… non-existent. He’s never noticed girls much until recently. He seems to be developing a crush on his friend and study partner, Becca.
Challenge… protecting his family as he comes of age. Zach has more on his plate than many kids, and is being forced to mature at an accelerated pace. A big part of his challenge is his family’s high-profile tribulations. A big learning process for him will be figuring out what to be open about and what to keep private.
Personality… protective and caring. Zach is willing to stand up to and for others, especially his family. He often displays maturity and know-how under quite a bit more duress than most teens experience.
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