Adam is a student at Lake Windsor Middle School. He seems close to Kerri at the carnival.
A native of the Philippines, Tommy is a student at Lake Windsor Middle School and one of the best players on its soccer team.
Ms. Alvarez is Paul’s homeroom teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School.
Arthur Bauer Jr.
A mediocre player on the high school football team, Arthur becomes Erik’s flunky. He serves as Erik’s holder for kicking, drives him everywhere in his SUV, and becomes his enforcer, as when he hits Luis Cruz on the side of the head with a blackjack. Arthur is also responsible for the actual burglaries in Paul’s housing development. At the end of the novel, he is arrested for his crimes.
Arthur Bauer Sr.
The father of Arthur and Paige, he works as a building contractor and a major in the Army National Guard. He tries to keep his son’s future intact by getting his robbery victims to agree not to press charges in exchange for the return of the items. His tactic works in the short term, but his son is eventually arrested for his role in the death of Luis Cruz.
Paige is Arthur’s sister, a sophomore at Lake Windsor Middle School and a cheerleader. Paul thinks she is dating Erik.
Brian is a senior on the Lake Windsor High School football team. He plays center and helps sabotage the last game of the season for Erik.
Bud Bridges is the principal at Lake Windsor High School. His wife is a teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School.
Mrs. Bridges is Paul’s language-arts teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School. Her husband is the principal at Lake Windsor High School.
A locally raised track-and-field star who competed internationally, Betty Bright is the soccer coach at Tangerine Middle School. She lets Paul on the team and allows him to play. Coach Bright often acts in support of her players, but does not hesitate to punish them when necessary.
Old Charley Burns
Old Charley Burns is the head of Tangerine County’s Civil Engineering Department at the beginning of Tangerine. Because he has taken bribes and permitted unchecked, shoddy construction in the area, a sinkhole develops. It takes out the portable classrooms behind the middle school. Burns uses his illegally obtained money to attend as many stock-car races as possible. Soon after Burns’s transgressions come to light, he has a heart attack and dies in his lawyer’s office.
Vincent Castor was Erik’s flunky when the family lived in Huntsville, Alabama. It is Vincent who actually sprayed the paint in Paul’s eyes when Paul was about five years old. The act made Paul legally blind, but no consequences for Vincent are mentioned. Erik calls Arthur ‘‘Castor’’ late in the book because of the similar role Arthur plays in his life.
Cesar is a reserve player on the Tangerine Middle School team.
Cara is a student at Lake Windsor Middle School. She is Joey Costello’s girlfriend and a close friend of Kerri Gardner.
Mr. Jack Costello
A lawyer and head of the Homeowners’ Association, Jack Costello is the father of Mike and Joey Costello. He becomes distraught when his son accidentally dies after being struck by lightning during football practice.
Joey Costello is Mike Costello’s younger brother and is in the same grade as Paul. Like Paul, he enjoys soccer, but Joey is not a great player and eventually quits. Joey becomes very upset when Mike dies but continues to date and attend school. Sometimes a friend of Paul, Joey also briefly attends Tangerine Middle School but responds poorly to Paul’s friends there and does not fit in. So, he returns to Lake Windsor Middle School.
The son of Jack Costello and the older brother of Joey Costello, Mike is a star football player at Lake Windsor High School. He is a lineman, and then becomes the number two quarterback. Football is not Mike’s whole life before his death as he has already been accepted into the School of Engineering at Florida State University. In early September, Mike dies during football practice when he is struck by lightning while leaning against a goalpost.
Luis Cruz is the older brother of Tino and Theresa Cruz and the son of Tomas Cruz. He walks with a limp because of a childhood work accident with the clippers used to harvest tangerines, but he played goalie for his school soccer teams. Luis’s passion is his work, especially his development of a new type of tangerine, the Golden Dawn. Luis appreciates Paul’s interest in his work and allows him to help the family business several times. Luis dies of an aneurysm after Arthur hits him in the head with a blackjack on Erik’s orders.
Theresa Cruz is a student at Tangerine Middle School. She is the twin sister of Tino Cruz, the sister of Luis Cruz, and the daughter of Tomas Cruz. She is a good student and leads Paul around on his first days at Tangerine. Theresa is friendly with Paul and appreciates his completion of their class project on Luis’s Golden Dawn tangerine.
Tino Cruz is a student at Tangerine Middle School and a good soccer player on his school’s team. He is also the twin brother of Theresa, the brother of Luis, and the son of Tomas Cruz. Although he does not respect Paul much when he comes to Tangerine, he comes to appreciate him after Paul helps save the family’s citrus trees during a freeze. Tino does not like to back down from a challenge, and he does not fear the consequences of inflicting retribution. He is suspended several times during the school year for his actions.
Tomas Cruz is the owner of the grove and nursery where his oldest son, Luis, works. He is also the father of Tino and Theresa.
A student at Lake Windsor Middle School, he is arguably the best player on their soccer team. Gino serves as the team’s captain.
Henry Dilkes, also known as Henry D., is the younger brother of Wayne Dilkes, and he is a student at Tangerine Middle School. He plays soccer and is in the class project group with Paul, Tino, and Theresa. Henry is a good friend to the Cruz twins as well as Paul. With Paul, he works all night to ensure the family’s citrus trees survive a freeze.
The brother of Henry D., Wayne Dilkes is a local volunteer firefighter, spray-truck driver, and exterminator who kills termites and mosquitoes in the Lake Windsor development where Paul resides. Wayne also gives Paul and his brother rides to the Cruz family’s grove, sharing his knowledge about the infestations with them along the way.
Bill Donnelly, often called Mr. Donnelly by Paul, lives in his development. His home has been hit by lightning three times, making it impossible to sell and insure it, so he has ten lightning rods along the roof. Mr. Donnelly also is the father of Terry Donnelly and works as a reporter. He writes stories on the amazing girls on Paul’s soccer team, on Betty Bright, and on the truth about Antoine Thomas’s residency. Mr. Donnelly is also a University of Florida booster and attempts to help Erik and Mr. Fisher by introducing them to other boosters.
The son of Bill Donnelly, he resides with his father in the same development as Paul’s family. He plays football at Lake Windsor High School.
A member of the Tangerine County’s Sheriff Department, Sergeant Edwards is in charge of the robbery cases involving Erik and Arthur.
Dolly Elias plays fullback and is a good player on the Tangerine Middle School soccer team.
Caroline Fisher is the mother of Paul and Erik, and the wife of Mr. Fisher. While she is more supportive of Paul than her husband, she often so caught up in her own activities and problems that she does not always know what is going on in Paul’s life. She does drive him most places, though, and takes charge of dealing with his schools and buying him clothes. Over the course of the novel, she becomes the head of the Architectural Committee of the Homeowners’ Association and serves as the block captain for the Neighborhood Watch patrol. If there is a problem, Caroline makes a call or holds a meeting at her home. More than her husband, Mrs. Fisher is at least somewhat aware that Erik’s football dreams might not come to fruition early on. She becomes gravely concerned when she discovers the stolen items Erik has been putting in the family storage facility and talks about the situation with the sheriff. Much to her husband’s dismay, she has a close relationship with her parents, who visit toward the end of the novel. In Tangerine, she acts on her maternal instincts and does her best to support Paul, her husband, and even Erik.
Erik Fisher is Paul’s high-school-age brother and the reason why Paul is blind. Erik has a mean—if not sadistic—streak, and an ability to manipulate those around him, including Arthur and Paul. He is prone to rages and does not always have control of himself. While Erik only shows a hypocritical side that is positive and polite to most adults, he beats up Tino, has Arthur participate to Luis’s murder, and robs local houses with Arthur’s help. In the end, Erik’s true nature catches up to him, and he loses his football dream to the legal system. It is unclear at the end of the novel what his fate will be.
Paul’s father, Mr. Fisher, has come to Florida to work as a civil engineer for Tangerine County’s Civil Engineering Department. After a sinkhole develops at the Lake Windsor Middle School and his former boss Old Charley Burns is revealed to be corrupt, Mr. Fisher becomes the director of the department. More important to the story, Paul’s father is the tireless supporter of what Paul terms ‘‘the Erik Fisher Football Dream.’’ Essentially ignoring Paul, his needs, and his soccer games, Mr. Fisher focuses on turning Erik’s admitted talent for placekicking into a football scholarship at a prestigious school, if not a career in the National Football League. Every action of Mr. Fisher’s focuses on that goal until the end of Tangerine, when he learns that his dismissal of Paul’s needs, including the need to know the truth about why he is legally blind, has deeply affected his young son.
The hero, narrator, and primary character in Tangerine, Paul Fisher is a seventh grader who has moved to Lake Windsor with his parents and older brother, Erik. Legally blind because his brother and his brother’s friend Vincent Castor sprayed paint in his eyes when Paul was only about five years old, Paul wears thick glasses that allow him to see and to play his favorite sport, soccer. As Paul struggles to remember what his brother did to him all those years ago, he encourages others, identifies with the downtrodden, and does his best to help other people, such as the Cruz family and kids at his school. He does not want to be labeled as handicapped as he believes he is the only one in his family, and sometimes his local environment, who can truly see. Paul wishes his parents, especially his father, were not so blinded by Erik and his needs, as Paul and his accomplishments are often ignored in favor of Erik’s talents on the football field. Over the course of the novel, Paul learns to trust himself and not fear people like Erik. With his newly found confidence, Paul tells the truth about Erik and Arthur when they contribute to Luis Cruz’s death. Although this truth makes his family life difficult, it strengthens Paul and helps him continue to grow at the end of the novel.
Kerri Gardner is a student at Lake Windsor Middle School and a friend of Cara Clifton. She first meets Paul when she is assigned to guide him around on his first day, but allows him to go on his own when he asks. Paul has a crush on her and she shows interest in him, but they never get to spend time together.
Mrs. Gates is the principal of Lake Windsor Middle School.
Grandmom and Grandpop
Paul’s maternal grandparents, Grandmom and Grandpop, play a limited role in his life but call regularly and express interest in him. His mother is close to them, but his father does not particularly like them or want them around. They visit shortly after the truth about Erik and Arthur comes to light, and they remind Paul’s mother and father that they believed Erik needed help when he hurt Paul years ago.
Victor Guzman is one of the star players on the Tangerine Middle School team, and its leader. Like Tino Cruz, Victor does not easily back down from a challenge, nor does he fear the consequences of inflicting retribution. He is suspended several times during the school year for his actions. Although Victor initially challenges him, he also comes to appreciate Paul’s soccer skills and loyalty as a friend.
Hernando is a good player on the Tangerine Middle School team. He is also suspended several times for his actions during the school year.
Mrs. Hoffman is Paul’s science teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School.
Dr. Grace Johnson
Dr. Johnson is the principal at Tangerine Middle School.
Mano is a fullback on the Tangerine Middle School soccer team.
Mars See Paul Fisher
Mr. Murrow is the head of guidance at Lake Windsor Middle School. His wife is a teacher at Tangerine Middle School.
Mrs. Murrow is Paul’s language arts teacher at Tangerine Middle School. She is the wife of Mr. Murrow, and this fact causes Paul to worry that information about his disability will make its way to Tangerine.
Nita is the cousin of Maya Pandhi; she is a good player on the Tangerine Middle School soccer team.
Maya is one of the star players for Tangerine Middle School soccer team. She learned to play the sport in England and is featured in Bill Donnelly’s article on the star girls on the Tangerine team. Maya is Nita’s cousin.
Mrs. Potter is the science teacher at Tangerine Middle School.
A member of the Tangerine County’s Sheriff Department, Sergeant Rojas arrests Arthur for the murder of Luis Cruz. Rojas is in charge of the investigation into the murder.
Antoine Thomas is a senior, the star quarterback of Lake Windsor High School, and the elder brother of Shandra Thomas. By the end of the novel, it is revealed that Antoine has been lying about his residency with the knowledge and help of unnamed others so that he could play football for Lake Windsor. Antoine tells the truth about the matter at the end of the football season, resulting in a nullification of all of Lake Windsor’s wins and team records. Antoine proves himself to be a man of honor in another way, as he defends Luis after Arthur hits him, and vows revenge on Erik and Arthur for their actions. Antoine does not like Erik and speaks out against him.
Shandra Thomas is the talented starting goalie on the Tangerine Middle School team. She is the younger sister of Antoine Thomas. Because of that connection and because of Antoine’s attendance of Lake Windsor High School, she hides from Bill Donnelly when he comes to write a story about the girls on the Tangerine team.
Tina is a student and cheerleader at Lake Windsor High School. She dates Arthur the football player.
An eighth-grade teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School, Mr. Walski is also the school’s soccer coach. He kicks Paul off the team for insurance reasons when he learns that Paul’s file contains the form about his disability. Coach Walski tries to use Paul’s alleged ineligibility against the Tangerine Middle School team when they play Lake Windsor at the end of the soccer season.
Mr. Ward is Paul’s math teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School.
Coach Warner is the head football coach at Lake Windsor High School. Paul jumps on him at the football awards banquet near the end of the novel to help Tino get free. As a result, Paul is expelled from the school district for the year.
Sara Constantakis, Novels for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Novels, Edward Bloor, Volume 33, Gale-Cengage Learning, 2010