Tangerine : Top Ten Quotes

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  1. “Thousands upon thousands of trees in the red glow of sundown, perfectly shaped and perfectly aligned, vertically and horizontally, like squares in a million-square grid”  (p. 8).

    Paul’s first sight of the citrus groves of Florida.

  2. “I’ve played football, real football, in the junior league. It’s boring. You just stand around most of the time waiting for someone to tell you what to do”  (p. 29).

    Paul’s view of football.

  3. “I have special goggles . . .  for playing sports. They’re made out of some kind of astronaut plastic that could crash-land on Venus and not break. Nothing can break them. If the dinosaurs had worn these goggles, and the Earth had been bombarded by mile-wide asteroid boulders, the dinosaurs would still have died, but their goggles would have been intact.Nothing can break these goggles” (p. 42).

  4. “But the lightning knows. It hits right where it’s always hit. It’s just that some fool has stuck a house there” (p. 45).

    Paul’s odd theory about why the Donnelly house, which stands where a hill used to be, keeps getting hit by lightning. The land used to the highest spot and was covered with trees. It served as a lightning rod. Now the hill has gone, but the lightning goes on striking the same place, as if it remembers.

  5. “It was strange to see an old packing plant, to see an old anything. But it was also comforting to hear that something around here has a history. That something actually belongs here” (p. 72).

    Mom drives Paul out to Tangerine Middle School for the first time, and he notices the old packing plant, which belonged to the defunct tangerine industry. He notices it because up to now all he has seen in the area is the new housing development where he lives. 

  6. “You’re the best seventh-grade, four-eyed Martian goalie in the entire county” (p. 83).

    Gino the soccer captain’s words of appreciation to Paul.

  7. “‘War Eagles! War Eagles!’ We started moving our hands in unison, up and down, changing the chant into the frenzied cry of ‘War! War! War!’” p. 136.

    The chant of the Tangerine Middle soccer team just before the second half of their game against Kinnow Middle School.

  8. “Mars, you were in my head on that shot. You made me miss. You made me choke” (p. 197).

    After Gino has missed a penalty kick for Lake Windsor against Tangerine in the deciding game for the championship, he generously pays tribute to Paul who was in goal, trying to keep the penalty kick out. Mars is an affectionate nickname for Paul.

  9. “I dropped to my knees on that frozen piece of earth, weary to the core of my body. I looked over to my left. The new grove was glistening like an angel on a Christmas tree, lit from within by the light of a diesel generator. Every tree dripped frozen icicles, from the top down to the ground. And the glow of all of them together was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen” (pp. 225-26).

    Paul is working as part of a team to save the citrus trees from the freeze, and this is what he sees at a critical juncture of the mission.

  10. “Mike Costello has his tree, and that’s good. But Luis has his tree, too, and he will have many, many more”(p. 303).

    Paul’s reflections as he is driven by his mom to his first day of school at St. Anthony’s. They pass the tree that was planted in honor of Mike Costello, and Paul also knows that Luis, although he too is dead, will also have a fine living legacy of Golden Dawn tangerines, the new variety that he created. 

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