Ugh, don't you just hate moving? It's bad enough getting used to a new town, finding your way around a new school, and trying to make new friends… but isn't it just the worst when a giant sinkhole opens up under your classroom and sucks down half the school buildings? So annoying.
And you know how, when the field behind your new house gets struck by lightning, and that ignites a perpetually-burning muck fire that fills your entire neighborhood with smoke, and then your homeowners' association tries to put it out by dumping a bunch of water on it, but that just turns it into a gigantic breeding ground for mosquitoes, which, it turns out, are carrying horrible diseases, so they have to fog your neighborhood with super poisonous pesticide? And in spite of all that, the muck fire is still burning?! Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Paul Fisher does. And that's not the half of what the poor guy has to deal with as the new kid in town, in Edward Bloor's 1997 book Tangerine.
Tangerine was Edward Bloor's very first novel, and not too shabby for a first try: it's won tons of awards, and has even been named to the American Library Association's 1998 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults. It tackles some pretty weighty issues, too, like bullying and discrimination. So yeah, it's going to be worth your time to read.
And if you're wondering why in the world a story about soccer, dysfunctional family life, and apocalyptic natural disasters is called Tangerine, just read on…
Okay, picture Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader locked in mortal combat, light sabers swinging:
LUKE: Ow! Hey, you cut my hand off!
DARTH: Luke, I am your father! Mua-ha-ha-ha!
Now substitute Paul Fisher in for Luke, and trade his big brother Erik in for Vader. That image right there gives you a pretty good summary of Tangerine.
Okay, not really. There aren't any light sabers in Edward Bloor's Tangerine.
But we bet Erik Fisher was doing the same creepy heavy robot breathing as Darth Vader when he followed in his footsteps, and partially blinded his own little brother Paul—on purpose! But surely his parents came down on him like a ton of bricks when they found out, right?
Nope. They actually helped him cover it up, and left poor little kindergarten-aged Paul so confused and upset about what had actually happened that he repressed the memory. Wow, that might even be worse than using the Force to choke people, you know?
In fact, let's take a quick look at all the ways in which Darth Vader would make a better brother than Erik Fisher.
Benefits of Having Darth Vader for a Brother Instead of Erik Fisher
So, in the end, does Erik think better of his choices, take off his futuristic mask, and expose his creepy, disfigured, bone-white head to the world so he could die a changed man? Well, no. And not just because he wasn't wearing a mask in the first place.
Erik continues to torment Paul, his friends, and anyone else who happens to cross his path, until the police finally get involved. Then, and only then, do his parents actually seem to realize that they've been shortchanging Paul. If that's not a messed-up family, then we don't know what is.
The thing is, everyone's got some sort of family issues, even if they're not quite in the same league as Paul's. So in spite of the more bizarre aspects—and the light sabers—you may actually have more in common with Paul—and Luke—than you think.
Super-Official Author Website
Love blogs? We do! Check out Edward Bloor's blog, as well as pages about all his books, including Tangerine.
Let the People Speak
Thousands of people have read Tangerine, and posted their reviews here. Why not add your voice?
Do You Want Fries With That?
McMansions: what Lake Windsor Downs is full of.
STOP Bullying Now
Totally awesome website with resources on bullying. Check it out, and spread the word!
Relive Seventh Grade
Check out the official trailer for a movie called The Bully Project.
No Bullies Allowed
Want more deets? Check out the IMDb site.
Interview with a Vampire…Er, We Mean Edward Bloor
Want to know how ol' Eddie got started writing—and reading? Check out this interview.
Some Awesome Kids Interview Edward Bloor—Part I
Check out the info these kids get.
Some Awesome Kids Continue to Interview Edward Bloor—Part II
Here's some great backstory on Tangerine.
Rockin' Amateur Book Trailer
Mostly, we just like this one for the music.
Another Rockin' Amateur Book Trailer
This one's got more details—and more cool music.
Okay, so it's not about Tangerine, but it's still cool to hear him talk.
One Book Cover
Glowing orange colors! Psychedelic, man.
One Potato, Two Book Cover
Would Paul really look like this?
Three Book Cover, Four
Or maybe like this?
Big Surprise—Another Book Cover!
This is the weirdest one yet.
Edward Bloor with some student friends
Kids love this guy.
Headshot of Edward Bloor
Okay, we're definitely Team Edward. Edward Bloor.