Tangerine is a book about oranges and lies. Set in and around Tangerine County, Florida, it’s the journal of 12-year-old Paul Fisher. Paul is distinguished from others his age by his glasses, which he says would have survived to be unearthed by archaeologists if the dinosaurs had worn them at the time of their extinction. He’s been told his entire life that he is a walking cautionary tale: don’t stare too long into a solar eclipse or you will go blind. Oh. Hold on a second. He can see just fine. What’s up with that? He does not remember a solar eclipse happening in his lifetime, and he is certain that he would have known not to look at it. There are many things he doesn’t remember. It is almost as if the memory is there, but he simply cannot see it in his mind’s eye.
Paul is also unique in that he maintains his identity, even with the shadow of his older brother, the high school football star, hanging over him, the glasses that he is constantly mocked for, and the family that does not pay him the attention he is due.
I read this book for the first time when I was third grade. I didn’t understand it completely at the time, but as I continued to pick it back up again and reread it to the point of having more than half of the text memorized, I realized that it has become one of my favorite books. Why else would I have borrowed it from the class library and conveniently forgotten to return it for the next nine years? I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something new and different to read. It is the kind of story that will stay with a reader for a long time afterwards, simultaneously enchanting and chilling.