Friday, October 7, 2011

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Tangerine

Title: Tangerine
Author: Edward Bloor
Genre: Sports
Published: 1997
Age: 9+

Synopsis: Though legally blind, Paul Fisher can see what others cannot. He can see that his parents' constant praise of his brother, Erik, the football star, is to cover up something that is terribly wrong. But no one listens to Paul--until his family moves to Tangerine. In this Florida town, weird is normal: Lightning strikes at the same time every day, a sinkhole swallows a local school, and Paul the geek finds himself adopted into the toughest group around: the soccer team at his middle school. Maybe this new start in Tangerine will help Paul finally see the truth about his past--and will give him the courage to face up to his terrifying older brother. Includes a reader's guide and an afterword by the author.

Review: When he was little, Paul stared at an eclipse too long. Or so his parents tell him. Now 12, he is legally blind. When his family moves to Florida's Tangerine County, where lightning strikes every day and toxic smoke billows through the air, Paul begins to remember something else. As buried memories surface, he uncovers the ugly truth of what his football hero brother did to him years ago. The element of suburban ecological horror here is both frightening and surreal, but it gives way in the second half of the novel to an onslaught of soccer and football games. The playing fields are symbolic arenas in which Paul's anger at his brother and his tentative friendships with a group of poor minority kids get worked out. The horrific elements, however, remain largely unresolved. The zombie Paul mentions never appears. Lightning continues to strike. A swarm of mosquitoes hovers over the housing development. Problems crop up, too, in this book's pacing, but first-novelist Bloor pulls it off, wedding athletic heroics to American gothic with a fluid touch and flair for dialogue. A sports novel that breaks the mold. - Publisher's Weekly

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!


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