A continuously-burning muck fire, a mysterious accident that took away his vision, and a brother who has never faced consequences for his actions…all of this and more in Edward Bloor’s Tangerine. I got this book for Christmas, thinking it looked interesting and like a “boy book.” Some of my students complain because I prefer to read dystopian and teen romance and ignore most other genres so I purposefully pushed myself out of my comfort zone and grabbed a book with a soccer player on the front.
And then I used it as a read aloud for my class. It worked perfectly for the first ten to fifteen minutes of class every day because the narrator, Paul, tells the story from his journal so I was able to read a few entries every period before we moved on with the rest of our agenda.
Tangerine centers on seventh grader Paul Fisher who has just moved to Tangerine, Florida, with his mom, dad, and big brother, Erik. The family’s lives revolve around the “Erik Fisher Football Dream” lead by Dad and followed closely behind by Mom with Paul mostly just getting in the way. It’s actually pretty sad how little attention the parents pay to their youngest son. Couple that with the unsolved mystery of how Paul suddenly lost his peripheral vision when he was five, and this had my students hooked. Middle schoolers love to hear about other kids that have it bad because they can relate whether their lives really are bad or not. So there was enough intrigue, bullying, and cliff-hangers that most days my classes complained when I finally stopped.
This book would be a great book for sports-loving kids, especially boys. Also, lot of the characters are Hispanic so it’s a good upper-level text for Spanish-speaking English language learners. Have you read Tangerine? What did you think of it?