Sept. 18 It’s Paul’s first day at Tangerine Middle School. On his way in, he passes boys karate-kicking each other. The school building is old and rundown and he’s never seen anything like it in Tangerine. The atmosphere is different too. As he walks through the halls people slam into him. A girl named Theresa Cruz gets assigned to show Paul around. She doesn’t say much at all, until lunch time when he asks her if there’s a soccer team. She tells Paul that there’s a serious team. Her brother, she says, is on the team. There are also girls on the team.
Sept. 19 Paul follows Theresa around school all day. She introduces him to the soccer players. Victor Guzman is the captain. Victor is big and tough. He’s teases Paul. Paul joins their practice and goes in the net. Victor shoots on him and Paul saves it, but Victor runs up and pounds the ball out of his hands. The other players tell Paul it was a good save.
Sept. 20 Paul is at home with Joey and they’re outside comparing their different soccer uniforms. Paul tells Joey that he should come to Tangerine Middle School because then he might be able to get some game time. Joey considers it. As they’re in the backyard, Erik and Arthur come in and start to make jokes to Joey about Mohawk man—Joey’s brother. They tease Joey about taking off his brother’s shoes. Erik and Arthur go inside and Paul tells Joey not to pay any attention. Joey is upset. Paul tells him they’re idiots.
Sept. 22 Paul goes to play his first game with his new team. They take the bus. Betty Bright, the coach, is also the bus driver. They’re going to play Palmetto Middle School. Paul doesn’t start, and he’s happy about that. He watches as the two teams attack each other as though it’s life and death. It’s a brutal game and the referee is favoring Palmetto. Tino, the center forward, gets knocked down and starts punching the other player. He gets sent off and Betty tells Paul to go in for him. Paul can’t believe he’s playing center forward–he’s only used to playing in net. Victor passes Paul a perfect setup for a shot, but Paul kicks and misses the ball entirely. He plays as hard as he can, but he’s ashamed. He gets knocked down by another player, who pulls off his glasses and puts mud in his eyes. Paul starts punching the other player on the ground. He gets sent off. Back on the bus Victor tells him he played decently. He also says that once he’s on the team he needs to stick with the team. Victor has accepted Paul.
Sept. 22 Later Joey calls to tell Paul that he’s coming to Tangerine Middle School on Monday. Joey asks Paul if he can show him around. Paul says that he should get Theresa Cruz to show him, because she knows the soccer players.
Sept. 23 It’s the first football game of the season. The Lake Windsor High Seagulls are hosting the Cyprus Bay Cardinals, with only half of the bleachers on the field. Paul and his parents get there early and get a seat. Paul’s dad is excited. Erik kicks the game off and the teams get into a pretty boring game, according to Paul. Paul pays close attention to the plays. Antoine Thomas, he notices, is the real star of the Seagulls. Midway through the game it starts raining. Paul’s mom runs to the car. Finally Erik gets a chance to kick a field goal. But instead of Arthur being his ball holder, it turns out to be Antoine. They set up for the kick. All eyes are on Erik. But as Erik swings for the ball, Antoine fakes and picks it up and runs for a touchdown. Erik swings his leg up, flies in the air, and lands on his back in the mud. Antoine scores the touchdown. The Seagulls win. Paul is amazed; Erik has been humiliated in front of everyone. When they get back in the car, Paul’s dad tells his mom about the win. He talks about the fake, but he makes it seem as though Erik was the hero of the game.
That night after dinner the family watches the highlights of the game on the TV. At the end of the show there’s a segment where they show bloopers—sports players messing up. They show Erik’s fall again and again. They show a close-up of Antoine laughing, and the news anchors laugh along. Mr. Fisher turns off the TV and the whole family sits in silence. Paul wishes he could laugh. Mr. Fisher tells Erik that he’s going to have to laugh it off, but Paul can feel how angry Erik is. Erik would never laugh, and Paul feels instead that something bad is going to come of this. Erik is going to take his revenge on someone.
Sept. 26 Paul’s new soccer team, the Tangerine War Eagles, play their first home game and tons of people show up, but not Paul’s parents. Paul and Joey are on the sidelines watching as their team dominates. The girl players are amazing. Shandra, the goalie, saves a lot of shots. This game is different from the last one: it’s not violent at all. Both teams are really good. At halftime, Betty Bright notices that Victor has a head-wound. He needs stitches. Victor protests but she sends him off and puts Paul in his place. Once again Paul is on the front line. Maya pounds a ball into the net. She’s amazing. Then Paul scores! He can’t believe it: it’s his first goal ever. His parents, however have no idea. The War Eagles dominate, and Joey starts to play. He’s really bad, but it doesn’t matter: their team is winning. Afterwards, Victor shows up and congratulates Paul on his goal.
Sept. 26 Later Paul picks up the phone at home. It’s his grandma. She asks him about the sinkhole. He tells her he’s fine. Paul’s mom takes the phone. Later Paul gets a call from Cara, the girl from Lake Windsor Middle. She asks about his new school and then she asks if he remembers Kerri. She asks if he likes Kerri. Paul doesn’t know what to say. He hangs up and calls Joey, who tells him that Kerri must’ve been on the phone too, listening on the other line. After hanging up, Paul realizes that Kerri must like him—even with his eye problem. This is a first for Paul.
Sept. 27 At the next War Eagles practice, Victor and Tino start teasing Joey. The teasing is all in fun, and Paul can see that: they’re doing the same thing to Joey that they did to him. But Joey takes it really seriously and gets really mad. He storms away and tells Paul that he can’t believe he likes them. Paul’s mom comes to pick up. She notices the girls, Shandra and Maya, waiting to get picked up. She calls out to them–she wants to encourage them. But Paul tells her that they’re the best players. Maya is the top scorer in the league. Mrs. Fisher can’t believe it. She says that the newspaper should run a story on them. As they go to drop Joey off at his house they see all the houses on his street that are covered in big tarps—like tents over top of the houses. The houses are all being fumigated for termites. Paul’s mom is concerned. She offers to let Joey come over while his house is fumigated, but Joey says no. Paul knows that it’s because of Erik and Arthur. It also seems like Joey is still upset about being teased.
Sept. 29 Joey doesn’t come to the next practice, but Paul’s neighbor, Mr. Donnelly, shows up with his news truck. He wants to run a story in the paper about the girls on the War Eagles. Paul realizes that his mom told Mr. Donnelly about them. Betty Bright doesn’t want the media at a practice, and she asks them to leave. Mr. Donnelly pressures her, so Betty asks the girls, but Shandra runs off and Maya doesn’t want the attention. Victor does, though. He tells Mr. Donnelly to take his photo. Mr. Donnelly says he’s there for a story about the girls. Betty tells them to leave again. The paper asks Betty the girl’s names. She complies, but when the newspaper comes out the next day, they get the names wrong.
Oct. 2 Paul is impressed by the group projects that the kids have been doing in science class. Now there’s another project assigned, and he asks Tino and Theresa if he and Joey can join their group. Tino and Theresa agree, but Joey asks Paul why he wants to join. Joey doesn’t like Tino. Paul says that being in the same group might help him get to know Tino and get closer to the rest of the team. Joey tells Paul that he quit the team. Paul can’t believe it. Joey says that he doesn’t want to play soccer anymore. Suddenly Joey starts making racist slurs about Tangerine Middle School. It’s really ugly, and Paul is stunned. Paul thinks then about how different Joey is from him. He walks away from Joey.
Oct. 3 Paul remembers something that happened on the first day when Joey came to Tangerine Middle School: Joey refused to let Theresa show him around and he told Paul that it was because he didn’t need a "guide dog.” Paul told Joey that was rude. Joey asked Paul if he thought Theresa was good-looking. Paul thought about it and then said that in fact he did. Joey said that, if that was the case, then Paul had been there too long. At the time Paul ignored the racist comment, but now he can’t help but remember it because now, Joey is making a fuss about being in the same group as Tino and Theresa. Theresa had just explained to the group that they’re going to be doing their report on the Golden Dawn tangerine, which is the special fruit that she and Tino’s brother, Luis, is creating. She has a printout for everyone in the group, and she divides each of them into their research roles. She says that Luis wants to meet with them. Joey offers to print it for her if she just saves it on a disk, but Theresa says that she and Tino only have a typewriter at home. Tino gets defensive and asks Joey if there’s a problem with that. Joey insults Luis and his tangerine, and a fight breaks out between Tino and Joey. Tino gets dragged away and Joey leaves the group, shouting to Paul that he’s a coward for staying in the group. The teacher takes Joey away. When he comes back he joins another group. Tino gets suspended.
Oct. 4 The Homeowners Association of Lake Windsor Downs is having a meeting at Paul’s house. Paul sits in the alcove doing his homework on his dad’s computer. The HOA meets in the living room and Paul listens as they discuss that many things that are going wrong in the neighborhood: the first thing is the lightning rod that Mr. Donnelly put on his roof; the next is the koi that have disappeared from the fishpond. The homeowners try to figure out who could be stealing the fish, but Paul knows that it’s the osprey whose nests are on the telephone poles. The next major issue is the muck fire. The HOA tried to put it out by saturating it last year, and they ended up creating a swampy breeding ground for mosquitos. The mosquitos carry encephalitis; two kids died from it last year. Now the HOA decides that they will need to spray the area with toxic pesticides to get rid of the mosquitos. On top of this, it turns out that the houses that are in tents, being treated for termites, have been getting robbed of their valuables. It sounds like everything is falling apart in Lake Windsor Downs. As Paul listens, he opens a file on his dad’s computer. It’s called 'Erik’s Scholarship Offers'. As he reads through the lists of different schools that his dad has laid out, he sees that nobody has contacted Erik yet.
Oct. 5 Joey goes back to Lake Windsor Middle School. Paul feels better not having him around. He returns to his group project in science class. Theresa Cruz tells him that nobody can talk to them about Luis in the way that Joey did. She says that Luis is their brother and he’s too important to them. Paul says that he’s no longer friends with Joey. Theresa invites him and Thomas to their house to meet Luis so that Luis can show them his tangerine, the Golden Dawn. Henry’s brother drives Paul to the Cruz family’s house after school. Thomas’s brother turns out to be Wayne, of the volunteer fire department, who came and told Paul and his mom about the muck fire when they first moved in. They go to the Cruz family farm and Wayne drops them off at a Quonset hut. Paul has never seen anything like it.
Luis is waiting inside the hut. He takes the kids to the orange grove and tells them about how the Cruz family has been growing tangerines for almost half a century. He brings them to a field full of small trees that they sell to other growers. He explains the different types of oranges and lemons and how they grow them. He then shows them the Golden Dawn, his new tangerine. Paul loves the tour. Luis tells him to come back anytime. Wayne drives Paul back to Lake Windsor Downs. Wayne sees all the houses covered in termite tents. He says that they must be the houses that were built on top of old tangerines that were uprooted for the housing development to be build. Wayne is the one spraying the pesticide. He drops Paul off and starts spraying. Paul sees Erik and has a flashback from his childhood: he remembers his parents testing his peripheral vision by getting Erik to walk on his left and right sides. Then he remembers Erik coming up from behind him and breathing down his neck. Paul screamed and started crying. His parents didn’t comfort him, but they got mad at Erik. That was when Paul got his thick glasses.
Nov. 2 Paul reflects on how his family’s life is going in their new place. He thinks about the fact that his team has won every game. He’s proud of that, but the thing that he’s most happy with his how afraid they’ve made the other teams. It’s a new feeling for him: causing fear.
Nov. 4 Paul remembers how Luis told him to come over anytime, and so he gets his mom to drive him over to the Cruz family’s orchard. But when he gets there Tino seems confused, even angry to see him. Luis is surprised, but he invites Paul to help them work. They go out into the fields and lay an irrigation system in the baking hot sun. They have a break in the shade, and Luis asks Paul what he likes about the orchard. Paul says he likes the smell. Luis agrees. Later they go out and cut holes in the hoses. Paul ends up getting badly sunburned.
Tino and Paul go into the Quonset hut to wait for Paul’s mom. Paul tells Tino that he can finish the science report on his computer at home. Tino agrees to this. Then Tino tells Paul about Luis. Luis used to play goalie at Tangerine Middle School, but he hurt his knee and couldn’t play anymore. Then the Cruz family’s mother died. It was at that point that Luis stopped going to school and started working the groves. He liked it, though. He also took care of his brother and sister—Theresa and Tino.
Nov 5. Mr. Donnelly invites the Fisher family over to meet some people associated with the football team at the University of Florida. At the house, Erik acts extremely polite and courteous. Paul has hardly ever seen him this way. But it turns out that Arthur is outside waiting in the Land Cruiser, like his chauffeur. Mr. Donnelly tells Paul about Betty Bright. It turns out that she went to the Olympics as a hurdler, but she got elbowed in the face during her heats and didn’t qualify. The next Olympics were in Moscow and the US was boycotting them. She never got to fulfill her dream, but she was famous.
Paul’s parents are surprised to see Paul chatting with Mr. Donnelly. As they say goodbye and go outside they see Arthur in the Land Cruiser. Paul looks in and see Arthur hide something shiny that’s on the dash of the vehicle. Paul walks home with his parents. As they go in through the garage door Paul has a flashback of his grandma asking him what happened to his eyes.
Nov. 7 The War Eagles have their last home game and Paul scores a goal. But it starts pouring rain and the game gets cancelled, so his goal doesn’t count. Still the War Eagles remain undefeated.
Nov. 8 Mr. Donnelly runs a story in the Tangerine Times about the War Eagles and the Lake Windsor team. There’s a feature on Betty Bright and her Olympian glory. Paul wonders if the story will bother her; he remembers how Shandra didn’t want any publicity.
Nov. 10 It’s the final game of the season. The War Eagles are playing Lake Windsor. They have a one-point difference. If they tie the game, the War Eagles will still win. They can’t lose the game, or they’ll lose the tournament. Paul’s mom comes to watch for the first time. She stands on the Lake Windsor side. Joey and the girls from Lake Windsor are there. Paul is kind of embarrassed because he’s not starting. Soon into the game, though, Victor has a run-in with Gino. Victor starts yelling and a Lake Windsor kid comes and punches him in the face. Betty Bright sends Paul in for Victor. Paul scores the first goal! But Lake Windsor comes back fast and ties it up.
The game is wild. Shandra gets knocked down in net and starts to vomit. Betty sends Paul in to net. Paul is scared. He puts on his gloves. He’s hardly warmed up in net. Right away Gino comes his way and hits a powerful shot. Paul dives and gets a hand on it, but the ball goes in. Gino helps him up and Paul wipes blood off his goggles. His nose is bleeding. In spite of it, he feels ready now. Lake Windsor can’t get anything past him. They’re firing balls but he’s saving everything.
Suddenly, the Lake Windsor Coach comes over to Betty Bright and tells her that Paul can’t play. He says that he wasn’t able to play on Lake Windsor and he shouldn’t be able to play on Tangerine. Betty ignores him, but Coach Walski says that the real reason he shouldn’t play is because his address is Lake Windsor. Walski says that he needs to live in the Tangerine district. Betty Bright is calm. She asks Coach Walski if he knows the last name of the goalie, Shandra, whom she just sent home sick. Then she tells him: It’s Thomas. Shandra is Antoine Thomas’s sister. Antoine, everyone knows, is the star of the Lake Windsor football. But Betty explains that they live in the Tangerine. If Walski really wants to make a fuss about Paul, then he’s going to open a bigger can of worms with Antoine. Coach Walski says no more. The game goes on.
Victor comes back on in the second half and ties up the game. In the last seconds of the game Victor and Gino get in a tussle inside the War Eagles’ box. They both go down and the ref blows the whistle. Penalty kick! Paul remembers how Gino kicks, always into the top left corner. He tells Betty that he can handle this one. He stands on his line. Everyone’s watching. Gino runs at the ball and Paul dives to the left, but Gino goes right! Paul dives to the ground with no ball in his arms. He’s devastated. But his team cheers. Gino missed the net entirely. The War Eagles have won! They’re the champions of the district.
Kerri comes up to congratulate Paul. So does Luis. Joey stays on the side. Paul’s mom comes up, not understanding how important the win is. She wants to take Paul home, but he wants to ride in the bus to Tangerine. He gets her to follow behind. As they get into town everyone comes out to celebrate. People are cheering on the streets. Paul is crying when he gets off the bus. His mom still doesn’t get it.
Part Two of Tangerine begins to reveal all that lies beneath the surface of life in Lake Windsor and Tangerine, and what we discover is literally a whole other world: the world of the working class, Hispanic families of Tangerine laborers—specifically the tangerine growers and pickers—who live in and around the run-down town. We also discover the prejudiced and even racist attitudes of the people of Lake Windsor toward these working class, minority families. We see the way that the privileged conditions of Lake Windsor causes people to judge.
Paul, however, discovers the richness of the life that the Lake Windsor people dismiss. As he goes to Tangerine Middle School he encounters this other world firsthand, and he embraces it. Not only does he join a soccer team that’s full of spirit, he also discovers that passion, love, and loyalty of the Tangerine families. The world of Tangerine stands in stark contrast to the world of his pristine housing development. But Lake Windsor is only pristine on the surface: soon into Part Two we begin to see that cracks in the façade, and the cracks are growing. One sinister sign that all is not right in Lake Windsor is the termite infestation happening on Joey’s street in Lake Windsor. All the houses are covered in big tents as they get sprayed for termites. Not only do the tents ruin the perfect façade of the housing development, they also reveal that the foundation of the development is not solid. Indeed, Paul learns that the houses were built on the place where hundreds of tangerine trees were buried after they were cleared to make way for the housing development. This fact is heavily symbolic, suggesting that what holds up Lake Windsor is the destruction of the lives of the tangerine picker families. But it won’t hold it up forever.
Other things are falling apart in Lake Windsor, as is revealed when we learn about the mosquito outbreak, the missing koi fish, and the burglaries in the tented houses. As Paul calmly observes the cracks growing in the façade of Lake Windsor, he gets closer to the lives of people in Tangerine. He experiences back-breaking labor firsthand when he goes to the Cruz family’s orchard to help them work their groves. He loves the experience. By working hard he gets close to the family, earns their respect, and discovers the softness behind their hard facades. First impressions are deceiving. While Joey reveals his racism, Victor, Tino, and Therese show their honesty and devotion to their families and community. Paul is drawn away from Lake Windsor and deeper into Tangerine.