TURTLE IN PARADISE
by Jennifer L. Holm
Random House Children's Books 2010 (Hopefully I will try and remember to put the publishing info from now on. :) )
Here is the blurb from the back cover of the book.
Folks have always told me that I look like Mama.
Our eyes are different, though. I think the color of a person's eyes says a lot about them. Mama has soft blue eyes and all she sees are kittens and roses. My eyes are gray as soot, and I see things for what they are.
I love this quote from the book. It sums up the characters of Mama and Turtle exactly.
TURTLE IN PARADISE takes place in Key West, Florida in 1935. Turtle is sent to live with her mother’s sister, so her mother can keep her housekeeping job (the lady who hired her doesn’t like kids). Once in Key West, Turtle meets her boy cousins; Beans, Kermit and Buddy. She starts to learn the ropes of living in Key West with her cousins and the other boys of the Diaper Gang and in the process, learns a lot about herself and those in her life she can really count on.
I loved this book and enjoyed learning about life in Key West. Holm was inspired to write the book based on stories of her great-grandmother who immigrated to Key West from the Bahamas in the late 1800s. The author’s note at the end contains factual information and pictures, as well as other resources for more in depth information about the time period.
I also loved the nicknames given to all the characters. It was interesting to find out the nicknames were a common tradition in Key West.
Without giving anything away, the ending was completely not what I expected, but also completely satisfying. This is my new favorite historical fiction middle grade book and I recommend it to everyone.