Turtle in Paradise
Review,  Middle Grade

Lovely middle grade story of ‘Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel’ by Jennifer L. Holm, Savanna Ganucheau

Turtle in Paradise was lovely historical fiction graphic novel of 11 year old girl, Turtle, who was sent to Key West to live with her aunt she never knew and found much more precious than real treasure at the end.

Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm, Savanna Ganucheau

Publication Date : June 29th 2021

Publisher : Random House Graphic

Pages : 256

Genre : Historical Fiction / Middle Grade / Graphic Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclaimer : I received e-copy of this book from the PRH International via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
This post contains affiliate links.


Life isn’t like the movies. But then again, 11-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 live with relatives she’s never met. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s hot and strange, full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she’s spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls will love.

Review of Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise was heart warming and fun historical fiction graphic novel that revolved around Turtle who was sent to Key West to live with her aunt where she found treasure and much more. The story was about family, secrets, adventure, coming out of shell, love and friendship.

Turtle in Paradise was originally a novel written by author a decade ago. I haven’t read it so I cannot compare but that worked in my favour as I really enjoyed this story. Now I wish to read that original and other books by author.

Writing was easy to follow along with illustrations. It was told from Turtle’s POV. Her monologues in box separating the dialogues and conversations were fun to read. Illustrations were beautiful. I loved colour palate and art.

It started with Turtle was moving from Florida to Key West with her cat, Smokey, to live with an aunt she never met before when her mother got job as housekeeper and employer refused to have Turtle along with her. Her mother was dreamy, she fell in love with salesman wished to marry him soon, and believed in happy ending but Turtle was hard kid and she knew better than to believe in Hollywood kind ending. On arriving Key West, she soon figured it was nothing like Florida. There was hot weather, harrid aunt, three cousins, Pirate stories and she learned more about her family. It was fun to see where the story was going and how it will end.

Turtle was amazing 11 years old kid. She believed all kids and sometimes adults are rotten and she had reason to believe so. From what she experienced in life she hardened herself against the world who has been mean and horrible. I was surprised this young kid didn’t believe in happiness or hope. When she had to move to Key West she felt sad but didn’t even make any fuss. She was curious, smart, hardworking, logical, selfless kid and so mature for her age. It was amazing to see how slowly she came out of the shell she created around her and started enjoying her time in Key West, and how her thoughts changed by the end. I loved her for sharing what she found with her cousins even though they didn’t welcome her easily in their gang.

All secondary characters and adults were interesting to read. Family dynamic was great. I enjoyed reading about Turtles’ family, their background and even those she never knew existed. Diaper gang was fun to read. Turtle’s cousins ran this gang with their friends. It was amazing to see these kids taking care of fussing crying babies in exchange for candies or whatever moms made. I honestly couldn’t figure their secret formula for diaper rash. Their pranks were funny.

Setting of Key West and timeline of 1935 during great depression and time of Shirley Temple was well presented. It was fun to read how everyone in Key West had weird nicknames and everyone wanted some kind of job, even kids. The Pirate story, kids’ adventure and Labour day Hurricane made it even more interesting.

Climax was both fun and tense at the same time. I enjoyed every moment of Kid’s adventure, how they all stayed together, and faced tough time. What happened at the end was so sad. I could see it coming and yet felt disbelief and anger. How could someone do this to kid! and yet even with shattered dream, Turtle and her family found something much more precious than treasure.

Overall, Turtle in Paradise was lovely, heart warming, and entertaining graphic novel with amazing characters and setting. If you enjoy stories set in Key West, great depression timeline, kids and their pranks and adventure, I highly recommend this.

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‘This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’ 

Thank you for reading! Let’s chat…

What do you think about book and review? Have you read any books by the same author?
What are your thought on novel turned into a graphic novel? Do you like them? If so which is you favourite? Which of your favourite book you would love to see turned into graphic novel?


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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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