Tangerine

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Tangerine Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
A complex tale about teens, family relationships.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 90 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

This book's exciting sports scenes are interspersed with surprising
lessons about migrant workers, racism, environmental degradation, and
being a moral person and a team player.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is a likeable and talented young soccer player who
is legally blind. His older brother is also a star athlete; but by
contrast, he's a thoroughly unlikable bully whose nefarious activities
eventually turn criminal.

Violence

A brawl turns into manslaughter.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the contrasting brothers may hit a little too close to home for some families.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySetheroni July 28, 2019

Dark, sad book

A brother frequently tortures his brother. He spray paints his eyes (leaving eye problem forever). Another boy is hit in the head with a club (he dies). A youn... Continue reading
Adult Written byTheworldawaits August 26, 2018

Not the best

I love reading. It's like my favorite thing in the world. This book took me about 2 months and it usually takes me about a day. No matter the size of the b... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byis_that_a_jojo_... April 20, 2020

Boring overall, and didn't meet the expectations set by all of its awards

I think that this is the kind of book that people who prefer more juvenile fiction. Although there clearly is a coherent story, and things are (mostly) resolved... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDecelle07 February 25, 2020

Useless book with a useless ending

This was an assigned reading in school. While reading the book I loved it: it had mystery, and violence. (For younger kids the violence would be too much) But t... Continue reading

What's the story?

Paul Fisher can see things his parents can't, like how evil his older brother, Erik the football star, really is. He can see this even though he has been legally blind since an early-childhood accident he can't remember.

Now his family has moved to the bizarre town of Tangerine, where muck fires burn forever, lightning strikes at the same time each day, and half the school disappears into a sinkhole one afternoon. Paul's memories are starting to return--memories that lead to shocking revelations about his family. Meanwhile, he plays on the soccer team with the toughest Latino kids at school, kids who are beginning to accept him as one of their own.

Is it any good?

This complex, multilayered novel is impossible to synopsize briefly -- there's just too much going on, and every bit of it is engrossing and powerful. The author has a lot to say on a wide variety of subjects: race relations, child rearing, sports, class conflict, and more, but he does so in a book that is at once exciting, moving, strikingly original, and thought-provoking. Above all, TANGERINE is about the revelations that adolescents experience as they begin to step back and see their families through more detached eyes.

One 14-year-old said that the dizzying number of subplots could have been streamlined, for her taste, and that "sections in the first half of the book were slow." But this tale is richer and more inventive than most young-adult novels, so these seem like minor complaints. Bloor's first novel is a tour-de-force melding of the physical, intellectual, and emotional in a rich, resonant story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Paul's parents idolize his football-star older brother but fail to see his shortcomings.

  • Why does Erik behave the way that he does?

  • What was your reaction when

  • Paul finally found out what caused him to lose part of his sight?

  • Do

  • you see Paul as a hero?

  • How did each of the main characters change over

  • the course of the book?

Book details

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