Tommy Acoso is one of the star soccer players for Lake Windsor Middle School. He came from the Philippines and is very skillful at juggling the ball.
Ms. Alvarez is Paul’s cheery and positive homeroom teacher at Lake Windsor.
Mr. Bauer is Arthur Bauer’s father. He is an officer in the National Guard and also a building contractor.
Arthur Bauer is a senior at Lake Windsor High and is Erik’s buddy. He has no talent for anything in particular, but he latches onto Erik because he wants to become Erik’s placekick holder. That is his only chance for a bit of glory. He therefore will do anything Erik asks, a role he fulfills violently when he slugs Luis Cruz with a blackjack.
Paige Bauer is Arthur’s sister. She is a sophomore and a cheerleader and will likely soon become Erik’s girlfriend.
Bud Bridges is the principal of Lake Windsor High School.
Mrs. Bridges is a language arts teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School. She is married to Bud Bridges.
Betty Bright is the soccer coach at Tangerine Middle School. She is a former hurdler who competed in the Pan Am Games in Buenos Aires.
Old Charley Burns
Old Charley Burns is the head of the civil engineering department in Tangerine County. He is forced to resign following the opening of the sinkhole at Lake Windsor Middle School, since it comes out that he was corrupt. In exchange for lavish payoffs, he allowed housing developers to do as they chose, without regard for safety or regulations. He dies of a heart attack.
Cara Clifton is a middle school student who is Joey’s girlfriend.
Jack Costello is the father of Joey and Mike. He is the president of the local homeowners’ association.
Joey is a friend of Paul’s at Lake Windsor Middle School. He is Mike Costello’s brother. Joey plays soccer, and he and Paul hang out together frequently. Eventually Joey follows Paul and enrolls in Tangerine Middle School, but he never really settles down there. He is part of the science project but does not get along with Tino and eventually leaves their group.
Mike Costello is a student at Lake Windsor High who is killed by lightning during football practice one afternoon. He had been the placeholder for Erik’s placekicks.
Luis Cruz is the elder brother of Tino and Theresa. He comes from a family of citrus growers and he has been developing a new variety of fruit called the Golden Dawn tangerine. Tino looks up to him and thinks he is a genius, and Paul likes him too. After an incident in which Erik hits Tino, Luis seeks out Erik, with the intention of confronting him, but before he can do so Arthur Bauer hits him in the head with a blackjack. Luis appears not to be seriously injured, but later dies suddenly, due to the injury.
Theresa Cruz is the sister of Tino and Luis. She is a student at Tangerine Middle and on Paul’s first day there she is assigned to show him around. She is a rather quiet girl.
Tino Cruz is the brother of Luis and Theresa. He is on the soccer team at Tangerine Middle. He also helps his brother in the citrus grove. Tino is high-spirited and is one of the boys who is suspended for three days because of vandalism at the carnival. He also has a habit of getting into fights—one with Victor and then with Joey. The latter scuffle earns him another suspension. But Paul likes Tino and eventually manages to form a bond with him.
Henry D.’s full name is Henry Dilkes. He is the brother of Wayne. Henry D. is a quiet, polite boy who is friends with Paul. He plays soccer and also helps out in the citrus groves when the freeze threatens the crop.
Wayne Dilkes is Henry D.’s older brother. He works for the Tangerine Volunteer Fire Department and responds when Paul’s mom calls about the muck fire. He is knowledgeable and cheerful.
Dad is Paul’s father. He is a civil engineer who becomes head of the Civil Engineering Department in Tangerine County after the resignation of Old Charley Burns. Dad was never big enough to play college football for Ohio State, so he has transferred all this dreams of glory to his son, Erik. He is obsessed with advancing Erik’s football career in any way he can, which results in his neglect of Paul, in whom he does not seem to take much interest.
Gino Deluca is the star player on the Lake Windsor Middle School soccer team. He is the captain and chief goalscorer. He soon learns to respect Paul for his ability as a goalie.
Bill Donnelly is a resident of Lake Windsor whose house has repeatedly been struck by lightning. He is the publisher of the Tangerine Times, and is also known as a booster for the University of Florida football. He is therefore courted by Erik’s dad, who wants to promote Erik’s career. Donnelly publishes an article about the girls who play on the soccer team at Tangerine Middle, and he also takes a friendly interest in Paul as well as in Erik. He has a son, Terry, who plays football at Lake Windsor High.
Erik Fisher is Paul’s older brother. He excels as a placekicker for Lake Windsor High and hopes to go on to a glittering career as a football player. His father does everything he can to advance Erik’s cause. Erik can be charming when it is in his own interests to be so, but in reality he has not an ounce of feeling for others. He is cruel to his brother Paul. He is also capable of violence. He assaults Tino, and is ultimately responsible for the death of Luis Cruz, since it is Erik who orders his sidekick Arthur to hit Luis. Erik is also finally revealed as a thief.
Paul Fisher is the main character in the story, which is told through his eyes. He is in seventh grade in Lake Windsor Middle School when the story begins, having recently moved with his family from Houston, Texas. Paul is visually impaired but there is some mystery as to how this happened. The story he was told was that when he was about five, he stared for too long at an eclipse of the sun. But as the novel eventually reveals, this was not what really happened. Paul thinks he can see fine, although he does wear glasses with thick lenses, and when he plays soccer he wears special goggles. Paul is an outsider at school and sometimes thinks of himself as a bit of a misfit. He is called Eclipse Boy and Mars by the other students. However, Paul does not let the teasing get the better of him. He shows grit and determination to fulfill his ambition of playing as a goalie in soccer. Eventually because of his skill and resourcefulness, he wins the respect of his teammates. Paul has been somewhat neglected by his father, who is only interested in helping the favored brother, in his football career. But by the end of the novel it is clear that Paul’s sound character is enabling him to overcome all obstacles, whereas his brother’s bad character is finally exposed.
Kerri Gardner is a middle school student who shows an interest in Paul. Paul is sometimes at a loss to know how to respond to her interest.
Mrs. Gates is the principal of Lake Windsor Middle School.
Victor Guzman is the captain and star player on the Tangerine Middle School soccer team. One of the leading goalscorers, he is aggressive and always wants to win. He comes to respect Paul for his abilities as a goalie. Victor hangs out with the other Latino boys, and when he learns what happened to Luis, he and Tino take revenge on Erik and Arthur. Victor attacks Arthur and as a result is suspended from school for three weeks.
Dr. Grace Johnson
Dr. Grace Johnson is the principal of Tangerine Middle School.
Mom (Mrs. Fisher)
Caroline Fisher is Paul’s mom. She is a strong-minded woman and a good organizer, with a strong sense of civic responsibility. She gets appointed to the Architectural Committee of the homeowners’ association and is very keen on enforcing all the rules. She is shocked by the death of Mike Costello and makes extensive efforts to have football practice switched from afternoons to mornings because of the threat of thunderstorms. She soon becomes head of the Architectural Committee and is also a block captain for the Neighborhood Watch patrol.
May Pandhi plays soccer for Tangerine Middle School. She is the top goal scorer in the county. She learned how to play soccer in England.
Antoine Thomas plays football for Lake Windsor High; he is a star quarterback. It later turns out that Antoine plays illegally for Lake Windsor, since he lives in Tangerine. This causes a local scandal, resulting in the nullification of all Lake Windsor victories in which he took part. He confesses to the deception. He did it because his only chance of getting to college was on a football scholarship, and the scouts only watch Lake Windsor; they never go to Tangerine. Antoine is also a witness to Arthur Bauer’s assault on Luis, and he tells the police about this too.
Shandra Thomas is the sister of Antoine. She plays in goal for the War Eagles, the Tangerine Middle School soccer team.
Mr. Walski is an eight-grade teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School and is also the head soccer coach.
Coach Warner is football coach for Lake Windsor High School.