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Turtle in Paradise

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  14,609 Ratings  ·  1,637 Reviews
In Jennifer L. Holm's New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor winning middle grade historical fiction novel, life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turt ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Yearling (first published May 11th 2010)
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Jamie Ayres
Apr 27, 2013 Jamie Ayres rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this historical novel set in Key West (year: 1935) with my class and my daughter. Everyone LOVED the book! Turtle had just enough 'snap' in her to make her relatable and funny. You even fall in love with her rotten band of cousins. I thought it was interesting how many of my students had never seen Annie or Shirley Temple. We had access to both through YouTube . . . you can even listen to the old Annie radio shows as there were many references to these two icons throughout the book. The s ...more
My 11yo son and I read this book together for the school parent/child book club. I give it 4 stars because it's age appropriate, entertaining, a bit educational on the history of Key West, and generally an interesting read. I'm not sure my son would rate it as highly. He loved the book throughout until we read the last chapter. The last chapter does kind of spring an unraveling of the plot on an unsuspecting child reader (hint: adult readers will probably see it coming). My son has been ranting ...more
Jan 20, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
Newbery Honor Book

Felt a bit forced and some things didn't ring true, but the notes at the were very interesting/illuminating
Spending so much of my time reading epic fantasy tomes, I rarely complain that I wish a book was longer, but that is how I felt about Turtle in Paradise.

The dramatic tension and emotional moments seemed crammed into the last 30 pages of the book and it left little time for readers to react or assimilate what was happening.

The writing is great, though, and I think young readers will enjoy Turtle and her friends.
Sarah BT
Mar 09, 2011 Sarah BT rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a bit mixed on if I think this book was Newbery Honor worthy. On one hand I really enjoyed it, the storyline is great, and the author weaves together a lovely plot. On the other, I thought there was a lot that wasn't developed and the book wrapped up too quickly. The end of the book felt much different than the beginning.

The setting of 1930's Key West is a unique one-I didn't know much about Key West during this time, so I learned a bit from this book. But while this is a historical novel, i
When her mother gets a new job as a housekeeper for a woman who doesn't like children, Turtle must move to Key West to live with her aunt and uncle while her mother waits for her dreamer of a boyfriend to pop the question so they can finally be a family.

In the meantime, Turtle adjusts to life with her relatives in Key West which includes a band of raucous boy cousins who call themselves The Diaper Gang (because they, ironically, know how to soothe fussy babies) and the surly grandmother who had
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Turtle has to leave her hometown to live with her aunt in Key West, because her mother is a maid and her boss won't allow children to stay with her. Turtle is pretty anxious about this move initially, because Key West is entirely different than what she's used to. Plus, there are her male cousins who are spunky and outgoing and she is surrounded by family members that she has never met. There are secrets surrounding her family and fun adventures around every corner. Turtle knows that there's no ...more
Jul 14, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With lines like, "But I'm not lucky as an orphan," Turtle in Paradise packs a lot of punch into a short, sweet story. Jennifer Holm is a master at making each and every sentence count. Once you begin reading Turtle's story you won't want to stop.

When her Mom takes a domestic job that doesn't allow kids, eleven-year-old Turtle is sent to live with relatives she's never met in Key West. It's 1935, and jobs are scarce. Everyone we meet is feeling the hurt of the Great Depression in one way or anoth
Aug 19, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2112, middle-ya
I listened to this book last week. What a sweet story set during the Great Depression. It’s hard to believe what a hardship that time was on everyone, and how much kids learned to survive. In this, we meet the spunky and very together 11 year old Turtle whose mother has sent her to Florida to live with her aunt, who already has three boys and an absent husband who is absent because the job he found is so far away. Turtle’s mother has a good job as a housekeeper, but her employer unfortunately do ...more
I wanted very much to like this book, but I think ultimately it just isn't written in a style I am drawn to so I stopped after about five chapters. (Too many other books calling my name!) I wanted more descriptions and to feel closer to the characters' emotions. And I felt the historical details (like the Little Orphan Annie comics, etc.) were placed in too obvious a way. I do think it's worth a try as I'm sure many would like this style and the story seems interesting. It's a place and era I wo ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Jennifer L. Holm is probably best known among kids today as the author of the incredibly popular Babymouse series of very pink graphic novels about a mouse's adventures in elementary school . In Turtle in Paradise, however, Holm returns to her beginnings as an accomplished historical fiction writer. Two of her prior novels in this genre, Our Only May Amelia and Penny from Heaven, were Newbery Honor books.

Set in the summer of 1935, Turtle in Paradise features a spunky and tough heroine named Tur
Amanda Toombs
Dec 07, 2011 Amanda Toombs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Junior book—Historical Fiction

Summary: Turtle’s mother sends her to stay with relatives in Key West, Florida while she makes money to support their family. Turtle experiences many adventures such as finding a grandmother, dealing with boys, getting rid of her cat, and find treasure. Turtle thought her life was about to change for the best but the unexpected happens.


a. The greatest strength in this book is the character, Turtle.

b. When I first understood that the main character
I love reading good historical fiction because I find it one of the hardest genres to recommend, and Jennifer Holm is definitely a great master of the genre. I admired the way she effortlessly wove amusing personal anecdotes through Penny From Heaven while also adding so many interesting, historically accurate details, and I think I like this book even better. If anything will finally net her the Newbery, it would be this book.

Everything about this book is strong and masterful: the Key West sett
Michelle Isenhoff
Turtle in Paradise is just the kind of book I love to read best. Sweet and clean, well-crafted, beautiful, with a host of characters I wish I knew, and an open-armed family at the end. It claimed Newbery honors this year.

Turtle grew up in New Jersey with her single mother. She’s the steady one in the family. “I think the color of a person’s eyes says a lot about them. Mama has soft blue eyes, and all she sees is kittens and roses. My eyes are gray as soot, and I see things for what they are.” Wh
Oct 27, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Turtle in Paradise/ Jennifer L. Holm/ 2010

Genre: Historical Fiction

Format: Book

Summary: Life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live wi
Ellie eden King
Apr 11, 2014 Ellie eden King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Turtle in Paradise, is about a young girl who has moved pretty much everywhere. When her mom gets a new housekeeping job, Turtle has to move away. The reason she has to move away is her mom's boss does not like children. Without any notice she moves to Key West, Florida with her cousins. When she gets there she meets her Aunt, and her cousins: Beans, Kermit, and Buddy. Her cousins are very peculiar though, they have a babysitting business called the Diaper Gang. The purpose of the Diaper Gang is ...more
Eileen Corbett
Apr 19, 2011 Eileen Corbett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Turtle is an 11 year old girl growing up during the depression. Turtle and her single mom often struggle to get by. Turtle is sent to live with family when her mother's live-in housekeeping job does not allow children. Turtle arrives in Key West and is immediately surrounded by family members she has never met before and lots of adventure. Archie, one of Turtle's mother's boyfriends tells Turtle that everyone has a dream. Turtle thinks all of her dreams have finally come true, and maybe they hav ...more
Keilani Ludlow
This is a really cute little story. I hadn't realized that it was YA lit when I checked it out, which is not an issue because I read a lot of YA lit, but I did start it expecting a more adult reading level so it took me a minute to adjust my expectations. However, once I did, quite enjoyable.

Turtle (a young girl) is sent to live with an aunt and her family in Key West when her mother gets a live-in job and can't bring Turtle along. It is during the great depression. Turtle's mom is a dreamer, T
Sana Maria Soufi
Turtle in Paradise
By Jennifer Holm
Realistic Fiction
208 Pages

This story is about a girl named Turtle who lives with her poor mother who works as a maid in different homes. Turtle is a tough girl, she has to be to put up with her mother who is always getting her heart broken by men. One day, Turtle is shipped off to her aunt's house in Florida. Turtle hopes to be greeted by lush fruit trees and beautiful sea waves. Instead she comes to a beat up old town. Staying here she hopes to recover a
Katie Daniel
11 year old Turtle doesn't like children very much, and neither does her Mother's new employer. As a result Turtle is sent away to live with her aunt and cousins in Key West, Florida. Turtle has no idea who her father is and believes that her grandmother is dead, so this move to a strange new place causes her to begin to question her belonging and the meaning of family. The story takes us through Turtle's journey as she begins to discover who she is and where she has come from, meeting a variety ...more
Feb 04, 2011 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life isn't like the movies, and eleven-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met.

Florida's like nothing Turtle has ever seen. It's hot and strange
Jun 30, 2015 Timothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perfect little gem. Reading Turtle in Paradise is like watching an Olympic gymnast's routine on the balance beam. The distance Jenni Holm takes us may be short, but the quick steps, dramatic acrobatics, the flawless balance of it all will leave you in awe. She makes it seem so simple. You will laugh on cue, cry on cue, and love every minute of it. It's over far too quickly, but of course she sticks the landing.
Celine Min Kim
The story until the last three chapters were awesome. It got my interest and made me keep reading it. But the last 3 chapter was bad. BAD BAD BAD.
Nicole Lamb
Nov 03, 2012 Nicole Lamb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Junior Book Critique #12

Turtle in Paradise
By: Jennifer L. Holm

1. Junior Book Genre: Historical Fiction

2. Brief Summary: After taking a job as a housekeeper for a tough old lady that does not like kids, Turtle’s mother is forced to send her to live with her sister down in Key West, Florida. Turtle is a strong-willed and tough girl and after her surprising her aunt in Key West she finds herself in an environment that she is totally unfamiliar with and with family she has never met! This coming of
Vidushi Mittal
Apr 30, 2014 Vidushi Mittal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i loved this book! here is an essay on turtle's idea of paradise

Everyone has their own version of paradise. Some people think paradise is a beach, others think it is family. In Jennifer. L. Holm’s Turtle in Paradise, Turtle is forced to leave her home for reasons. Due to an event that occurs at the place Turtle is sent off to, Turtle reconsiders her idea of paradise. Although Turtle originally considered being rich paradise, after Archie shows his disloyalty to Mama, Turtle realizes that paradis
May 25, 2015 2017charlottec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you been to a place that you thought would be so beautiful and dreamy, but once you get there, it’s not what you expected it to be? You guessed it: this is what happened in the book “Turtle in Paradise” written by Jennifer L. Holm.

NOTE: First of all, no...Turtle is not a turtle. Turtle is a human.

Turtle’s mother just found a job as a housekeeper for a woman who hates children. As you may not know, this books takes place in 1935, and back then, jobs were pretty rare. Since her mother was a
Jessica Avei
Jan 25, 2015 Jessica Avei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Introduce this book:
Well this is a story that takes place in Key West, Florida and it's about a little girl named Turtle. I wouldn't say she has had the easiest life. She has a single mom that can't hold onto a man even if she had handcuffs. Her mom is a maid that cleans others homes and turtle is always causing mischief so one day a lady hired her mom but wouldn't allow Turtle or her cat to live with them so she sent Turtle to live with her sister in Key west.
Tell about the book:
Well when Turtl
Jennifer L. Holm has done it again and created another excellent book based on her family's history. The local color of the story is the very best part. Her descriptions of Key West in 1935 are incredibly vivid. The characters are off-beat and unique, especially Turtle. Turtle is a bit hard to like at first. She gets her name because she has a hard outer shell and that makes her a bit prickly and difficult, but when she began to be incorporated into daily life in Key West, I began to like her a ...more
I liked this, but I didn't love it. I'm not sure why. I think one reason is that the plot could have been a little tighter, more focused. Maybe that's what Holm was going for - simply the summer Turtle spent living with her cousins in Florida - but I would have enjoyed it more if there had been more of a purpose. She did bring things together nicely (although a bit abruptly) at the end, but it just wasn't quite enough for me. Also, the setting felt quite modern even though it is set towards the ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE.

Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series -- the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly pra
More about Jennifer L. Holm...

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“Everyone things children are sweet as Necco Wafers, but I've lived long enough to know the truth: kids are rotten. The only difference between grown-ups and kids is that grown-ups go to jail for murder. Kids get away with it.” 17 likes
“What is it with folks always talking about where they’re from? You could grow up in a muddy ditch, but if it’s your muddy ditch, then it’s gotta be the swellest muddy ditch ever.” 3 likes
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