Audiobook Review: Tangerine

April 3, 2011

But I can see. I can see everything. I can see things that Mom and Dad can’t. Or won’t.

tangerineI attempted to listen to the audiobook of Tangerine by Edward Bloor (narrated by Ramón de Ocampo) a few months ago with my daughter, but she deemed it boring, so we returned it to the library and got something else. But I still wanted to read it. So when I had to take a road trip alone recently, I went back to the library and got it. I am so glad I did.

It’s the story of Paul Fisher and what happens when his family moves to (fictional) Tangerine County in Florida.

I loved this book. LOVED. I loved the plot, I loved the characters, I loved the narration. I only listen to audiobooks in my car, and I wound up bringing the last disk of this one in the house to listen to because I had to know what was going to happen. I just had to. I couldn’t wait and listen to it piecemeal on my next errand.

Some of what makes this book awesome:

  • It’s unpredictable. I am something of a story expert. I can see plot twists coming from a mile away. With this book, even the stuff that I knew was coming unfolded in ways I didn’t expect. Not to mention there were several times I gasped out loud.
  • Okay, I mentioned the characters, but I really kind of just love the mom. I mean, yes, all the characters are well-developed, have clear motivations, etc. But I just get such a strong sense of the type of woman Paul’s mom is. I’m not saying we would be friends or anything (she is kind of uptight even by my standards), but, wow, I felt like I knew her.
  • I am not a huge sports fan, and, between soccer and football, sports are discussed A LOT in this book. However, Bloor uses sports to explore friendship and brotherhood and family, and I dig that. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of friendship stories in all of their different forms. Also, sports fanaticism is explored, and how it allows athletes–certain athletes, mind–special privileges.
  • Bloor takes a fantastic look at class and class privilege. Just…yeah, I really can’t say more than that.
  • If you are interested in community planning or development (like one of my friends), this book is allllll about a poorly planned community. All of the issues that crop up in Paul’s community happen because the planners didn’t understand the land they were building on or ignored everything they knew about it to make what they wanted. And, wow, does it ever backfire.
  • Can we have a little chat about favoritism? Because it’s pretty clear who is the favorite in Paul’s family. Hint: It’s his brother Erik.
  • Let’s have a little talk about the narration, shall we? Ramón de Ocampo is FANTASTIC. He’s a little old for Paul to be sure, but all of his voices are great. He’s super compelling. Also: hot. (Just a little eye candy for the people.)

My only complaint is that I didn’t get enough of Erik as the charmer. I get how Paul sees him and why, but I wish I could see a little bit more of how he charms grown ups. I mean, it can’t all be his football prowess.

Other than that, though, I think it’s pretty much perfect.

YA of the ’80s and ’90s: 2; Support Your Local Library: 13/30; YA Reading Challenge: 8/20; Audiobook Challenge: 2/6; POC Challenge: 7/15

(I’m counting this for the POC Challenge because the narrator is a POC even though the author and main character are not.)

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  1. April (Books&Wine)

    I remember reading this in the 90s, but actually don’t remember much besides that. Well, except that the older brother was super mean and the main character wore glasses. I could be wrong though.

    Either way, your review shows me that Tangerine may be worth a re-read.

    • Akilah

      I really liked it. And if you can, check out the audiobook. I’m wondering if I would’ve liked it as much if I read it on paper (probably) because I loved the narrator so much.


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