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Turtle in Paradise

(Turtle in Paradise)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  18,052 ratings  ·  1,993 reviews
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
Hardcover, 177 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Sarah Warnecke It's about this girl named Turtle who's mom is a house cleaner and always takes her with her and they live together at the house. They have a dream of…moreIt's about this girl named Turtle who's mom is a house cleaner and always takes her with her and they live together at the house. They have a dream of owning this certain house. Turtles mom always fall is "love" with these guys who end up breaking her heart. But this new guy Archie Turtle finally thinks is here to stay. But when Turtle and her mom move into this new house to clean...the woman who owns it says no kids! turtle then has to go to her aunts house and live with her nasty cousins in Key West. Read this book to explore the life she lives and what happens and how Turtles perspective is changed on her cousins and life altogether. (less)
Sarah Warnecke not really. Its a strange ending that took me forever to get over, but when I finally became on of my favorite books!

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  18,052 ratings  ·  1,993 reviews

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Rachel Reads Ravenously

4 stars!

I'm reading a lot more middle grade books now for professional development, and since I had read Full of Beans and loved it a few years back, I thought I should read the book that came before it. I love this Key West setting with a group of kids in the 1930's. Turtle is disillusioned by things most kids enjoy, she doesn't like Shirley Temple and she knows she's smarter than most people, adults included.

When Turtle's mother gets a new job with a woman who doesn't like kids, she's sent
Jamie Ayres
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think this is a really good book. The character Turtle connects to me because we both sometimes hide in a shell and push away the people trying to help us. Turtle's story tells me to get out of my comfort zone and do things that challenge me.
Jan 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Sarah BT
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 09, 2010 added it
Shelves: stalled
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
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.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Andrew Guan
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Turtle In Paradise Book Review

For the second time reading this book, I felt like I was reading a brand new book (maybe because the first time I read it was in 5th grade). I noticed the drastic change I felt when reading this book, compared to last time. It probably is because I have improved and grown as a reader, so I have read more carefully and intensely.

One thing that stands out to me is the personality of Turtle. Even though she just got to a new place, she has already adapted to the place.
Michael Fitzgerald
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
This gave very little flavor of the 1930s. It seemed much too modern. Everything supposedly "old" felt forced, not authentic (references to radio, movies, etc.). Yes, I understand that the author's family has ties to the area, but in spite of this the book had an artificial feel. The story seemed like something from a TV movie. So much of it was predictable. The dumb nicknames for everyone did not help. I felt the babysitting business was overplayed, and there was way too much discussion of diap ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 characte
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.” W
Eileen Corbett
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Ellie eden King
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Keilani Ludlow
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sana Maria Soufi
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Zoe L.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A heart warming story of a girl named Turtle, and a bunch of boy cousins (Which ended up not so bad after all) This was a book that I finished during the holidays, and I think it has a plot that let's the reader soak in. The climax was towards the end and captured the reader. But the thing that makes me want to cry about this book is that Turtle's mother had to work as a housemaid just to earn a living.

The owner was strict and didn't let Turtle's mom bring Turtle. It was upsetting to hear that
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 Stars
This book was really good. I was recommended this book from one of my goodreads friends awhile back and I have heard that it was a good book and I should read it. I wanted to read this book awhile ago but I just never really got to it because I was hooked on other books. I really wish I would've not pus this book back and read this book sooner because it is a really good book and I don't know what I was thinking but now at least I got a chance to read it. I have never read any books from
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was not expecting to like this one. I was almost done with it and decided to give it a two-star rating. Then: plot twist! I decided I liked a book that shared to shy away from a Hollywood ending. I was writing this review and giving the book three stars when major corniness ruined the book for me. I hate books that hit you over the head with the message and this one is a great example of why. The corny declaration at the end changed the resolution and made it feel rushed.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After her mom gets a job during the Depression as a housekeeper, Turtle goes to live with her aunt and cousins in Key West. Life with her aunt and cousins is dramatically different than with her mom. While with her cousins, she helps out The Diaper Gang and wants to help her mom gain money to buy their dream house.

This was a really sweet book. Holm researched the Depression era really well. Historical accuracy was incredible. Enjoyable is somewhat unbelievable read.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great book! Good sequel to Full of Beans...Holm is a great author. Didn’t like the end though, felt like a plot device.
Sepideh Dehghani
3.5 🌟
It was less than my expectations from Jennifer l holm , but still a very good book for children and any one who loves vintage time:)
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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

Other books in the series

Turtle in Paradise (2 books)
  • Full of Beans

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