In the book Tangerine, why does Theresa think that Paul has messed up his whole life by coming to her school?

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Theresa doesn't think that Paul belongs in Tangerine Middle School—or the town of Tangerine, for that matter. Paul is from Lake Windsor Downs, a place where you don't get into trouble, a place where you don't jump on top of a coach, as Paul does, to help his friend Tino...

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Theresa doesn't think that Paul belongs in Tangerine Middle School—or the town of Tangerine, for that matter. Paul is from Lake Windsor Downs, a place where you don't get into trouble, a place where you don't jump on top of a coach, as Paul does, to help his friend Tino escape in the aftermath of his fight with Erik.

Theresa is disappointed in Paul; she never thought he'd be the kind of boy to get into trouble, yet that's exactly what he seems to be. To make matters worse, when Paul goes to high school, he's going to have to face the Coach, whereas Tino and Victor won't; they are able to walk away from this whole sorry episode. That's why Theresa thinks that Paul has messed up his whole life by coming to Tangerine Middle School. A well-behaved boy from a respectable family has lost his innocence and become tagged as a potential trouble-maker.

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When Paul Fisher enters Tangerine Middle, Theresa is his guide for the first two days. The topic of soccer comes up, and she introduces him to the coach and team. Her twin brother, Tino, plays on the team, and every day, their older brother Luis picks them up after practice. Paul becomes interested in Luis and his grove, and he spends some time learning and helping in the fields. Paul invites his science group to his home to work on a project. Paul's brother, Erik, becomes involved with the Cruzes in a very negative way. When Luis confronts Erik about his racist remarks towards his younger brother, Tino, Erik has his buddy Arthur blackjack Luis, leading to his death. From there, the Cruz brothers invade a football awards ceremony and beat Erik and Arthur. Theresa's world is shattered by the death and further violence. Even though she likes Paul and Paul likes her, a Latino family mixing with an upper class white family has resulted in grief. In reality, Paul's attending Tangerine Middle doesn't mess up his own life; it results in solving a family secret that has been eating up the Fisher family.

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