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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Tangerine* by Edward Bloor- young readers book review
by Edward Bloor
Ages 9-12 324 pages Harcourt September 2006 Paperback    

The Fisher family has made the move to Tangerine County, Florida, and Paul is not happy. Between dangerous lightning strikes and burning swamps, the very land seems to say that they don't belong. A bit of an outsider to begin with, Paul isn't looking forward to the social aspects of his new home, either.

Even though Paul is legally blind, thick glasses enable him to see, and he can make it through daily life just fine. However, his blindness qualifies him for special education services. Being a special education student brings unwanted attention, holds a certain stigma and, worst of all, makes him ineligible for sports. Goalie for a successful soccer team in his old town, playing had been the only bright spot in his new life.

If life at school is far from perfect, life at home is even worse. Paul's mother throws herself into perfectionist pursuits like the homeowners association. His father doesn't seem to care about much that isn't related to the Erik Fisher Football Dream. Erik, the big star himself, torments Paul endlessly.

When Paul's new middle school faces an architectural disaster, he finds himself at yet another school that provides him with the unexpected an unexpected place to start over, an unexpected group of friends, and unexpected feelings of belonging. Yet the events of the past continue to torment him, with the truth always seeming just out of reach. Will Paul be able to find the courage to confront his past and find a new future?

Tangerine is one of my favorite books for tweens or younger YA readers. I'm happy to see its re-release, which I take as evidence of its continued popularity. While it's a great book for recreational reading and simply enjoying the story, its use of foreshadowing and several thematic and symbolic elements give it educational potential. It also deals with universal ideas like finding your place in school, family and life, and things not always being what they seem - themes that will secure its place on bookshelves for years to come.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Lorie Witkop/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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