Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. New York: Harcourt, 1997. 294 pages.
Paul Fisher has been wearing thick coke-bottle glasses since he was a small child and everyone thinks his near-blindness stems from the fact that he stared into a solar eclipse, but Paul is not so sure he believes that story now that long-forgotten memories are beginning to return. When Paul’s family moves to Tangerine, Florida, his older brother Erik and the rest of the family falls into what Paul calls the “Erik Fisher Football Dream” while Paul struggles to get noticed on his middle school’s soccer team. In the strange and unlucky town of Tangerine, cracks begin to break through the perfected façade of the Fisher family and Paul finally begins to learn the truth about his vision loss and the role his brother played.
Paul is a strong and resilient character; he goes from a meek and mild boy who is afraid to look his brother in the eye to a courageous young man who not only stands up for his new inner city friends but he also stands up to his brother while remembering the truth about his vision loss. Tangerine is truly a book where the little guy conquers and wins big, which gives a positive message to readers. Bloor explores the concepts of good and evil, but does not make clear delineations between each, allowing the reader to come to his/her own conclusions.
The cover of Tangerine features a young adult wearing thick glasses, standing between two tangerine trees in a soccer goalie’s position. Lightning fills an ominous sky and people in the shadows surround the boy. The cover is definitely suspenseful, but because everything is drawn rather than a photograph, some teens may not be interested in the book.