Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm
Goodreads says: Inspired by family stories, two-time Newbery Honor winner and New York Times
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, full of wild green peeping out between houses, ragtag boy cousins, and secret treasure. Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she has spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Bestselling author Jennifer L. Holm beautifully blends family lore with America’s past in this charming gem of a novel, rich in historical detail, humor, and the unique flavors of Key West.
If you’ve ever visited Florida, the Keys, or even just imagined an adventurous beach trip – this is a book for you! Turtle has many learning experiences staying with her family in the Keys. The way of life is different, and Turtle learns as much about herself as she does island life. Turtle is a well written character in terms of being able to related to her growth learning about her family. The descriptions of the old style Keys, the beaches, and nature would be a vacation for any reader.