July 15, 2012

MMGM: Turtle in Paradise, Jennifer L. Holm

Turtle In ParadiseTurtle In Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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 another. Turtle is amazingly resigned to going and doing as she's told, having followed her mother from one lost cause to another--whether that be jobs or men.

Once in Key West, Turtle finds herself surrounded by strangers who quickly become something more. As she faces new challenges and old ghosts, she begins to open up and fight for what she really wants. You cannot help but cheer for Turtle, even though perfect endings only happen in the movies.

The pace and imagery of this novel are captivating. Holm knows how to show us only what we need to see, and how to make it come to life in very few words. 1930's Key West is a very different place from the Key West I visited as a tourist in the nineties. I could feel the sticky atmosphere and taste the local foods.

Holm lets us experience the world through Turtle's eyes, and it is fascinating. Her take on dialogue between children is also admirable. By the end of the novel, I felt like I really knew these children, and that life, and I was indeed sad to leave it behind.

View all my reviews

You can find all of the other wonder Marvelous Middle Grade Monday reviews here! If you're interested in participating, MMGM is the creation of author Shannon Messenger, and you can find more info on throwing your hat into the ring on her website!


18 comments:

  1. This one sounds interesting. I love writing where no words are wasted.

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    1. Yep. This was a satisfying read. At the end I was left thinking, "Done. That was perfect!"

      Finally got my link working to the other bloggers, on my way to read reviews now :)

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  2. Oh man! I adored this book. Read it once on my own and then aloud to my kids. The characters and storyline are spot on.

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    Replies
    1. Adored is the perfect word. I hope I can write characters this touching and memorable one day!

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  3. Key West during the Depression....don't hear that often. I like it.

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  4. This cover is beautiful! I enjoy HF books so this sounds like one I could really get into. Great review! You made me very curious about this one!

    ~Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

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  5. I just this weekend finished reading this book. I found it so engaging and now, I've been imagining it as a movie!

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    1. It would make a fabulous screen play. Although I think they'd have to use CGI babies!

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  6. I will be reading Turtle in Paradise in the near future as well. In WA state there is an award called the Sasquatch Nominees, a list of 12 books, and Turtle in Paradise is one of them. I challenged my son to read all of them and I am going to read them also. Looking forward to this one after reading your review!

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  7. I loved it, too! I live in Key West and my husband's family has been here for many generations. I want my inlaws to read it because I know they'll recognize so much old KW in it and it'll warm their hearts.

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    Replies
    1. Rhonda, it would be fascinating to hear what they thought of it!

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  8. Sorry I missed this last week, Melanie. I loved this book. Such great characters!

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