Turtle in Paradise


“When I asked Moma about my Conch relatives, she said her parents had been dead for a long time, but that I had a lot of Conch cousins. Too bad she didn’t tell me that they were all snotty boys.” Turtle is an 11-year-old girl living temporarily in Key West, off the southern Florida coast in 1935. It’s a tough time when people take whatever job they can get, and Turtle is sent to her cousins’ home because her Mom’s employer hates kids. So begins Turtle’s journey into life in the Keys. While adults can’t find jobs, Turtle hangs around her new cousins and friends, known as the Diaper Gang. Their job and their escapades are hilarious until they begin to search for Black Caesar’s treasure. Along the way to this point, we read about many local tales concerning fisherman, pirates, writers, and other adventurous personalities who are making the best out of a very different historical time. In the course of thinking about riches and poverty and interacting with her entrepreneur cousins, Turtle learns that faithfulness and family are all that really count when the going gets tough. Turtle is a funny girl whose journey to the Keys is an inspiring, humorous leap into survival of the fittest and the fitting into a higher plan. Lovely book that all young adult readers, and quite a few adults as well, will truly enjoy!



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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award







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