Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Edward Bloor
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Paul Fisher has a sound mind, but when it comes to his brother, he has a hard time remembering the past. All he knows is that something is very wrong with his brother, and nobody else seems to notice. His family has just moved to Tangerine County, Florida, and they’re adjusting to their new life. Paul initially isn’t able to play soccer for his middle school due to his mysterious vision problems, but when he transfers to a different, nearby school, he joins the soccer team and finally gains recognition from his peers and community. Paul’s brother immediately becomes one of the star football players and everyone seems to be content to focus on that, ignoring Paul’s experience entirely. But the confidence that Paul develops in Tangerine gives him the courage to start speaking up about the things his parents aren’t seeing. And the more he speaks, the more he remembers.
Tangerine is a well-written and compelling read with a realistic protagonist. Though some violent events do take place in the book, including a character being killed by lightning and another character being killed by a blow to the head, these scenes are not described in very graphic detail. This book brings up some of the grittier sides of the American family. Tangerine depicts parents who definitely value one son’s accomplishments over the other, and it also explores the line between normal familial conflict and true abuse. Too often, children and adolescents are led to believe that their truth or what they see happening around them doesn’t matter. Paul’s story offers hope that truth can be spoken and that corruption does not need to be accepted. The Fishers seem like a normal, upper-class family, but their image shields dysfunction. Throughout the story, the reader is able to see how families from all different towns, income levels, and races can experience either connectedness or contention.
*Contains mild language and mild violence.