by Edward Bloor
Analysis: Plot Analysis
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.
The New Kids on the Block. No, the Other Ones.
Paul and his family move from Texas to Florida, and have to adjust to a new neighborhood, new schools, and new friends. We learn all about the weird weather in Tangerine County, and get a feel for how bizarre Paul's family is, too.
This Place is the Pits. Literally.
Whoa! A giant sinkhole swallows half of Paul's school, so he's sent to the "tougher" public school nearby, where he has to make new friends all over again. His brother Erik starts complicating things for him in that department, too, by bullying his buds, old and new.
Crime and …
Paul's friend's brother, Luis, is dead. And all because of Erik. It's like Romeo and Juliet, but without any of the romance—just the violent, revenge-y parts. Erik beats up Tino, so Luis confronts Erik. Erik tells Arthur to beat up Luis—which ends up killing him. So Tino beats up Erik and Arthur. And then Paul beats up Erik's coach, to help Tino, so Erik tries to beat up Paul, but changes his mind…
Confused yet? Just remember, Luis's death is the turning point, because it leads to the…
In which Erik and Arthur are finally exposed for the creeps they really are. Mrs. Fisher finds out that they've been stealing from the neighbors, and Paul tells the cops that they murdered Luis. Oh yeah, sweet justice! The truth is coming out all over the place, and everyone is finally getting what they deserve, whether good or bad.
The Perks of Being Paul
Paul has finally come to terms with his parents, his brother, his friends, and his own past. He pours out his heart in a written statement for the police, but it's really meant for his parents, too. He starts over at yet another new school, but this time, he is a different Paul—more confident, happier, and much stronger.