Saturday, August 28, 2010

Turtle in Paradise (MG)


Turtle in Paradise. Jennifer L. Holm. 2010. Random House. 208 pages.

Everyone thinks children are sweet as Necco Wafters, 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.

There are so many things to love about Turtle in Paradise. I loved the narrator, Turtle. I loved the characterization and the storytelling. I loved the writing. (Jennifer Holm has a way with words!) I loved the setting: Key West, Florida, 1930s. I loved the little details that help a reader feel settled in a specific time and place. In this case, Turtle's love of comics (like Little Orphan Annie and Terry and the Pirates) and radio dramas (the Shadow) and her dislike of Shirley Temple.

The book stars an eleven year old, Turtle, who is moving from Pennsylvania to Florida. She is meeting her mother's family for the first time. She's coming to stay with her aunt and her cousins. (Her mom is staying behind with the new boyfriend and the new job.) It's a "surprise" visit too. Minnie has no idea her sister is sending her daughter to stay with her. Will Turtle fit in with her cousins Buddy, Beans, and Kermit? Will she get along with Aunt Minnie? And what about her grandmother?! Turtle didn't even know she had a grandmother living until she settled into her new life. Will Turtle find a way to open up with this new family, and make a place for herself in this new community? Will she find a way to be in the Diaper Gang even if she is a girl?

I would definitely recommend this one. I think it would make a great read aloud. It's got heart, humor, and adventure!

My favorite quotes:

Kids lie. We have to or we'd never get anything. But grown-ups lie, too--they just do it differently. They leave things out; they don't give you the whole story. (51)


In my opinion, the fellas who make Hollywood pictures are really just salesmen. Instead of peddling girdles, they sell thrills and chills, and folks eat them up. Not me, though. I'm no sucker. I know there's no such thing as giant apes climbing skyscrapers or mummies walking out of tombs. But just try telling that to the boys. (123)


It's a fact: if a kid is being nice, he's probably up to no good. (131)


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

6 comments:

Mrs. N 7:25 AM  

Definitely adding this to my to read list - Thanks.

Willow 10:24 AM  

I'm adding it too, despite the fact that I just reviewed a book about a young girl sent off to live with her unsuspecting grandmother--in the 1930's!

Julie P 12:31 PM  

This sounds great! Adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing....

Tiffany the StorySnoop 11:03 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Turtle is such a tough and spunky girl, and holds her own when thrown together with a pack of wild boys. The Diaper Gang was truly unique and endearing, and their top secret diaper rash formula made me chuckle!

Briana,  1:14 PM  

I truly loved this book, its one of my favorites. I love Turtle and how she always knows what to do.

Rhonda B.,  9:25 AM  

This is required reading for my son entering the 5th grade in August. I read all the books prior to his reading them. I must say that this was one of my favorites. Turtle was smart way beyond her years. It was really hard to put it down.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
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  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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