4.3 611
by Edward Bloor

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Paul Fisher sees the world from behind glasses so thick he looks like a bug-eyed alien. But he’s not so blind that he can’t see there are some very unusual things about his family’s new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Where else does a sinkhole swallow the local school, fire burn underground for years, and lightning strike at the same

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Paul Fisher sees the world from behind glasses so thick he looks like a bug-eyed alien. But he’s not so blind that he can’t see there are some very unusual things about his family’s new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Where else does a sinkhole swallow the local school, fire burn underground for years, and lightning strike at the same time every day?
   The chaos is compounded by constant harassment from his football–star brother, and adjusting to life in Tangerine isn’t easy for Paul—until he joins the soccer team at his middle school. With the help of his new teammates, Paul begins to discover what lies beneath the surface of his strange new hometown. And he also gains the courage to face up to some secrets his family has been keeping from him for far too long.
   In Tangerine, it seems, anything is possible.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
When he was little, Paul stared at an eclipse too long. Or so his parents tell him. Now 12, he is legally blind. When his family moves to Florida's Tangerine County, where lightning strikes every day and toxic smoke billows through the air, Paul begins to remember something else. As buried memories surface, he uncovers the ugly truth of what his football hero brother did to him years ago. The element of suburban ecological horror here is both frightening and surreal, but it gives way in the second half of the novel to an onslaught of soccer and football games. The playing fields are symbolic arenas in which Paul's anger at his brother and his tentative friendships with a group of poor minority kids get worked out. The horrific elements, however, remain largely unresolved. The zombie Paul mentions never appears. Lightning continues to strike. A swarm of mosquitoes hovers over the housing development. Problems crop up, too, in this book's pacing, but first-novelist Bloor pulls it off, wedding athletic heroics to American gothic with a fluid touch and flair for dialogue. A sports novel that breaks the mold.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Living in surreal Tangerine County, Fla., a legally blind boy begins to uncover the ugly truth about his football-hero brother. PW praised Bloor for "wedding athletic heroics to American gothic with a fluid touch and flair for dialogue." Ages 11-up. (Sept.)
The ALAN Review - Cawood Cornelius
Tangerine is a town in Florida with problematic new housing developments, frequent lightning strikes, sinkholes, and muck fires. Seventh grader, Paul Fisher, his older brother and parents are leaving Texas for Tangerine, Florida where Paul's dad will take a job as a civil engineer. Paul, who is legally blind, enrolls at the middle school in town after his trailer classrooms at the first school are swallowed by a sinkhole. Paul, a soccer goalie, is in competition for his parents' attention with his older brother who is a football star. Football practice is not canceled even after one of the players is killed by lightning. Paul makes friends at the new school and learns some valuable lessons by working in the tangerine groves with his peers from the town school. Paul's brother's involvement in the death of his friends' uncle brings back memories of how he lost his vision. Tangerine is the first novel of Edward Bloor who taught middle and high school in Florida. It is written from Paul's point of view and rings true of the middle school experience. The unexpected plot twists keep the interest of the reader. Recommend this novel to students with an interest in soccer or students who move often.
VOYA - Brenda Moses-Allen
When Paul Fisher and his family move to Tangerine County, Florida, his life changes dramatically. Paul has lived his twelve years in the shadow of his football-playing brother, Erik. The boys' father seems to be reliving his life through Erik, steadily building the "Erik Fisher Football Dream." Unlike Erik, Paul is considered a geek by some of his classmates. He wears thick glasses to protect his eyes that were damaged when, at five years old, he looked at a solar eclipse without protective eyewear. Or so his parents and his brother have told him. Paul resists being labeled "legally blind" because he really can see. In fact, he sees more than his parents realize. Tangerine County is full of surprises. Underground fires cause Paul's neighborhood to smell of smoke and burnt rubber, and the residents accept the daily and dangerous thunderstorms as just a part of life. When a sink hole swallows the portable school buildings at Lake Windsor Middle School, Paul transfers to Tangerine Middle School, which is old and shabby-very different from Lake Windsor. He is determined to play goalie for the soccer team, but first he has to overcome his fear of the tough team captain, Victor. He also has to win the respect of the team, which includes girls, some of whom can play better than any players he has seen before. Paul gains self-confidence and makes new friends, but his loyalty to them is tested by Erik's menacing behavior. Erik's actions trigger haunting and vague memories that Paul cannot quite comprehend. This is an exciting, suspenseful, and thought-provoking book that should be a hit with soccer-playing middle schoolers. Recommended. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
Kirkus Reviews
A legally blind seventh-grader with clearer vision than most wins acceptance in a new Florida school as his football-hero older brother self-destructs in this absorbing, multi-stranded debut. Paul's thick lenses don't keep him from being a first-rate soccer goalie, but they do make him, willy-nilly, a "handicapped" student and thus, according to his new coach, ineligible to play. After a giant sinkhole swallows much of his ramshackle school, Paul is able to transfer to another school where, with some parental collusion, he can keep his legal status a secret. It turns out to be a rough place, where "minorities are in the majority," but Paul fits himself in, playing on the superb soccer team (as a substitute for one of the female stars of the group) and pitching in when a freeze threatens the citrus groves. Bloor fills in the setting with authority and broad irony: In Tangerine County, Florida, groves are being replaced by poorly designed housing developments through which drift clouds of mosquitoes and smoke from unquenchable "muck fires." Football is so big that not even the death of a player struck by lightning during practice gets in the way of NFL dreams; no one, including Paul's parents, sees how vicious and amoral his brother, Erik, is off the field.

Smart, adaptable, and anchored by a strong sense of self-worth, Paul makes a memorable protagonist in a cast of vividly drawn characters; multiple yet taut plotlines lead to a series of gripping climaxes and revelations. Readers are going to want more from this author.

From the Publisher

"A richly imagined read about an underdog coming into his own."—Bulletin

• "Smart, adaptable, and anchored by a strong sense of self-worth, Paul makes a memorable protagonist in a cast of vividly drawn characters; multiple yet taut plotlines lead to a series of gripping climaxes and revelations. Readers are going to want more from this author."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Breaks the mold."—Publishers Weekly ABA’s Pick of the Lists An ALA Best Book for Young Adults A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book A Horn Book Fanfare Selection An IRA Young Adults’ Choice  A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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448 KB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Friday, August 18 

For Mom the move from Texas to Florida was a military operation, like the many moves she had made as a child. We had our orders. We had our supplies. We had a timetable. If it had been necessary to do so, we would have driven the eight hundred miles from our old house to our new house straight through, without stopping at all. We would have refueled the Volvo while hurtling along at seventy-five miles per hour next to a moving convoy-refueling truck. 
    Fortunately this wasn’t necessary. Mom had calculated that we could leave at 6:00 A.M. central daylight time, stop three times at twenty minutes per stop, and still arrive at our destination at 9:00 P.M. eastern daylight time. 
    I guess that’s challenging if you’re the driver. It’s pretty boring if you’re just sitting there, so I slept on and off until, in the early evening, we turned off Interstate 10 somewhere in western Florida.
This scenery was not what I had expected at all, and I stared out the window, fascinated by it. We passed mile after mile of green fields overflowing with tomatoes and onions and watermelons. I suddenly had this crazy feeling like I wanted to bolt from the car and run through the fields until I couldn’t run anymore. I said to Mom, “This is Florida? This is what it looks like?” 
    Mom laughed. “Yeah. What did you think it looked like?” 
    “I don’t know. A beach with a fifty-story condo on it.” 
    “Well, it looks like that, too. Florida’s a huge place. We’ll be living in an area that’s more like this one. There are still a lot of farms around.” 
    “What do they grow? I bet they grow tangerines.” 
    “No. Not too many. Not anymore. This is too far north for citrus trees. Every few years they get a deep freeze that wipes them all out. Most of the citrus growers here have sold off their land to developers.” 
    “Yeah? And what do the developers do with it?” 
    “Well . . . they develop it. They plan communities with nice houses, and schools, and industrial parks. They create jobs— construction jobs, teaching jobs, civil engineering jobs— like your father’s.” 
    But once we got farther south and crossed into Tangerine County, we did start to see groves of citrus trees, and they were an amazing sight. They were perfect. Thousands upon thousands of trees in the red glow of sundown, perfectly shaped and perfectly aligned, vertically and horizontally, like squares in a million-square grid. 
    Mom pointed. “Look. Here comes the first industrial park.” 
    I looked up ahead and saw the highway curve off, left and right, into spiral exit ramps, like rams’ horns. Low white buildings with black windows stretched out in both directions. They were all identical. 
    Mom said, “There’s our exit. Right up there.” 
    I looked ahead another quarter mile and saw another pair of spiral ramps, but I couldn’t see much else. A fine brown dust was now blowing across the highway, drifting like snow against the shoulders and swirling up into the air. 
    We turned off Route 27, spiraled around the rams’ horns, and headed east. Suddenly the fine brown dirt became mixed with thick black smoke. 
    Mom said, “Good heavens! Look at that.” 
    I looked to where she was pointing, up to the left, out in a field, and my heart sank. The black smoke was pouring from a huge bonfire of trees. Citrus trees. 
    I said, “Why are they doing that? Why are they just burning them up?” 
    “To clear the land.” 
    “Well, why don’t they build houses out of them? Or homeless shelters? Or something?” 
    Mom shook her head. “I don’t think they can build with them. I don’t think those trees have any use other than for fruit.” She smiled. “You never hear people bragging that their dining-room set is solid grapefruit, do you?” 
    I didn’t smile back. 
    Mom pointed to the right and said, “There’s another one.” 
    Sure enough. Same size; same flames licking up the sides; same smoke billowing out. It was like a Texas football bonfire, but nobody was dancing around it, and nobody was celebrating anything. 
    Then, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, we crossed over from this wasteland into a place carpeted with green grass, with trees along both sides of the road and flower beds running down the middle of a median strip. We could see the roofs of big, expensive houses peeking up over the landscaping. 
    Mom said, “This is where the developments begin. This one is called the Manors of Coventry. Aren’t they beautiful? Ours is a little farther in.” 
    We went past the Villas at Versailles, which, if anything, looked even more expensive. Then we saw a high gray wall and a series of wrought-iron letters that spelled out LAKE WINDSOR DOWNS. We passed iron gates and a pond of some kind. Then we made a couple of turns and pulled into a wide driveway. 
    Mom announced, “This is it. This is our house.” 
    It was big— two stories high— and very white, with aqua trim, like a Miami Dolphins football helmet. A new wooden fence ran around both sides to the back, where it met up with that high gray wall. The wall, apparently, surrounded the entire development. 
    The garage door opened up with a smooth mechanical hum. Dad was standing in there with his arms open. He called out, “Perfect timing, you two. The pizzas got here five minutes ago.” 
    Mom and I climbed out of the car, stiff and hungry. Dad came outside, clicking the garage door closed. He put an arm around each of us and guided us toward the front, saying, “Let’s do this the right way. Huh? Let’s go in the visitors’ door.” 
    Dad led us through the front door into a tiled foyer two stories high. We turned to the left and passed through an enormous great room with furniture and boxes piled all around it. We ended up in an area off the kitchen that had a small, round table and four chairs. Erik was sitting in one of the chairs. He waved casually to Mom. He ignored me. 
    Mom waved back at him, but she was looking at the boxes stacked in the kitchen. She said to Dad, “These boxes are marked DINING ROOM.” 
    Dad said, “Uh-huh.” 
    “Uh-huh. Well, I marked DINING ROOM on them so the movers would put them in the dining room.” 
    “OK. Erik’ll put them over there.” He looked at me and added, “Erik and Paul.”
Mom asked, “Did the movers break anything?” 
    “No. They didn’t break a thing. They were real pros. Nice guys, too.” 
    Mom and I each grabbed a chair. Erik opened a pizza box, pulled out a slice, and started stuffing it into his mouth. Mom said, “How about waiting for the rest of us, Erik?” 
    He gave her a tomatoey grin. Dad passed out paper plates, napkins, and cans of soda. Once Dad sat down, the rest of us started to eat.

Copyright © 1997 by Edward Bloor

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Smart, adaptable, and anchored by a strong sense of self-worth, Paul makes a memorable protagonist . . . multiple yet taut plotlines lead to a series of gripping climaxes and revelations."—Kirkus Reviews
 "A richly imagined read about an underdog coming into his own."—The Bulletin

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Tangerine 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 611 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tangerine is a very good book for kids around my age (age 11). The storyline kept me guessing and reading until the very end. As the story progresses, the secrets of the young boy are revealed more and more, making me want to keep reading. Despite its title, the subject is a very good one.
Beachblondie More than 1 year ago
this book was a story about a boy struggling to fit in with his family life. His older brother is a star and he always feels like the "geek" Its a good book but sad.I recomend it to teen readers but also to aldult who are interested in the struggle.
Best luck reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most thrilling books I have ever read. It is a great mixture of hysteria, mystery, realistic fiction and tradegy. At the end I almost cried! All in all, though, this is a great must-read no matter if you like soccer or not!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the mystery of how paul was blinded happened to be the only thing interesting for me. the rest is merely a series of strange events happening at the school, and soccer drama. the ending completely ruined the intrest i had in the rest of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
honestly, it's hard to focus. this was assigned to me, and so i can only really pay attention when i try hard. once you get into it and read a few chapters, it's really well-written. it's a page-turner. i like to keep reading it, nonstop for every 3 or so chapters. i'm reading a few other books at the moment, and this is byfar my second favorite. i'm currently enjoying it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the suspense of this book and it had just the right amount of every emotion in it. My only complaint: after all the building mystery around the question 'what really happened to his eyes that caused his vision problem and why cant he remember' the awnser (his bro sprayed the spray paint in them) is just not exciting. I really was hoping for something bigger and quite frankly badder. Because of that it was one star shy of perfection in my rating.): its a good book for 12 year olds like myself.
plankt More than 1 year ago
This book is about a middle school-aged boy named Paul Fisher who moves from Huntsville, Texas to Tangerine County in Florida. He has an eyesight problem and wears coke-bottle glasses. His brother, Erik Fisher, plays football as a placekicker, but has had a history of abusing his little brother. When Paul enrolls into his new middle school at Lake Windsor Downs, he says that he would want to play as a goalie for the soccer team. He makes it as starting goalie, but his coach discovers his eyesight problem and kicks him off the team to avoid his coaching license from being suspended by the league. Later in the year, the middle school gets destroyed in a sinkhole, which makes Paul have to transfer to Tangerine middle school. There, the kids are a lot tougher and aggressive. When Paul joins the soccer team, rivalries begin to grow between students. Paul's friend Joey Costello from Lake Windsor Middle School, who has joined Paul at Tangerine, has rivalries of his own and loses Paul's grip of friendship. Though Erik Fisher is still at Lake Windsor High, and rivalries between Lake Windsor and Tangerine leads to fights and deaths throughout the course of the book. What I really liked about this book was its complex plot of the building friendships and the endurance of the sporting events. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school or middle school who enjoys sports and how relationships are built through them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for middle schoolers. It keeps you reading to the very end. It is truly one of the best books i read as a middleschooler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was asighned this book for school and it was hard to get into it at first because alot of things don't make sense. At the beginning of the book, Paul (the main character) has a flashback of him running away from a car with someone trying to hit him with a baseball bat. He said that the person was his older brother Erik but Erik was sitting at the dinner table when that happened. So i don't how that tied in with the story. Other than that, i liked the book way more than i thought i would! Everything that is happening with his brother Erik and all the drama plus the well written action parts with the soccer games makes you want to turn the page. I thought that the aurthor was great about explaining how Paul lost his vision. He didnt just tell you how he lost his vision, it keeps you wondering, and that is one thing i loved. There is so much drama that keeps you interested and everything little detail makes you think about each character and you can put yourself in their position and feel like you are right there next to Paul while he struggles with his fear against his brother Erik. Maybe that is why you get a little emotional when reading about it. This book has just the right amount of everything in it. It will definitaly make you think about it long after you have read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a major cliff hanger with major twists and turns and drops and rises. This book was somewhat curiously mysterious that it kept you wondering what eas going to happen next. I recomend this book to anyone looking for a good book to read that lays the point obvious but not so obvious at the same time.
softball18 More than 1 year ago
This is not my most favorite book because it has alot to do with soccer. I do not like soccer so I kind of get confused when they talk about the soccer stuff. It also has alot of adventure and keeps you hanging in a couple of parts.Mostly if you are a soccer fan, I think you will enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before i got this i read some of the comments to see if it would be good.i see alot of haters.iread thought and it is good. It just needs to stay on topic more.
ASheppard More than 1 year ago
Tangerine is about a boy named paul that moved to a new town called Tangerine. He likes to play soccer but his family is more focused on his brother Erik who is the star kicker for the high schoool footbal team. When Paul tries to play on the soccer team at his new school he is the best goalie but can't play because of his eyesight. After part of his school is destroyed in a sinkhole Paul goes to a different school to play soccer where he goes on and wins the championship. Erik brother doesn't get along with Paul's new friends at his new school. One day Erik hits Paul's friend Tino in the face. How will Tino retaliate? I liked this book because there is a lot action and i never wanted to stop reading. I think anybody that likes soccer and anyone with an older teenage sibling will like this book because you might be able to relate to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really had me at the edge of my seat.I never knew what was going to happen next ,but I love how ot is a mystery book!!!!!!!!!!You shoulf tots read this ,never judge a book by its cover!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
g .In one of the games a tall toe baller was supposed to get about five yellow cards for not using his shoulder. Yet the referee did not bother pulling it out.Tino, a minor character, got twenty stitches in one of the games just because he got elbowed on the head. He was out for two games until  they could come out. If  you like seeing soccer domination this is the book for you because a backup goalie got to play field and he STINKS!  That’s how good the team was. So I know that all soccer players will addicted to this because if you are a soccer player you would not want to miss out on a championship game, would you? No you wouldn't. RamiCHMS14
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im reading it in school but i love it so much so i got it and i hate eric so much right now
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school and it was pretty cool.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would give this book a 4 just because there were some slow and very confising parts. Also the book did not all smoosh together like a book should. But over all i liked it. I read it for a school summer reading book and it did its job. If i were you i would read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book Tangerine and i did not like it.  I would say its one of those books that are a little more on the bad side than the good side.  I did not like the book that much because it got really boring.  It would be good for younger kids like in 3rd grade.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book but some psrts were confusing it could have been better. Still pretty good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Tangerine. It was recently assigned for my Advanced Reading class, and the only thing that stopped me from reading was my ADHD; making it hard for me to focus. But, when I got it under control, I loved the plot, and, I must say, Luis was my favorite character. This family seems so perfect on the outaide, until the truth is set free. The problems make the plot interesting, and now my eyes water when I think about Part Three. Tradgedy is in full for this book, the author made an incredible story. I am in seventh grade, but this book is good for anyone, of any age or grade really.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tangerine Book Review, By: Ahmed A (Summer Assignment P2) (DIGITAL) The reason I chose to give this book a 3-star rating was because it has a well organized plot as well as interesting twists and turns that I hadn’t seen coming such as the natural disaster that tore apart Paul's new school. The reason this book did not receive a 5-star rating from me was because of the beginning. It did not engage me as a reader and the first 50 pages almost had me choose another book to read. But no matter how bland the first couple chapters were, without reading them the book would have made no sense in general which is what made me bump the rating up from 3-stars to 4. The part of this book i enjoyed the most has to be when Paul switched schools and does stunning in his athletic career as a soccer player. The part of this book that I enjoyed the least is the beginning of the book, nothing really interesting was happening, also, it didn’t seem like the book was getting anywhere, nothing was going right in Paul's new lifestyle at Tangerine County. Overall i do recommend this book because of the plot and how interestingly everything comes together in the end of the book but beware that you will most likely be bored at the beginning of this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for school and at first I didn't want to, but after I got into this book I couldn't put it down. I even forgot it was for school because i love it so much Edward Bloor made an amasing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In 6th grade my class read this book. Many people thought it was the most boring book ever but I really liked it. Read the sample. It starts a bit slow but gets better.