Turtle in Paradise - Jennifer L. Holm
Eleven year old Turtle, believes that "kids are rotten." Life isn't like it is in the movies, and life doesn't always have happy endings. She is quite different from her mother who is always falling in and out of love. She loves her mother deeply but doesn't always understand her.
Her mother works as a housekeeper who dislikes children. In order for her mother to keep her job, she sends Turtle to stay with her sister in Key West, Florida. Her mother tells her how wonderful this adventure will be in "Paradise" and sends her off to meet her aunt.
She sends her sister a letter telling her that Turtle will be coming to live with her. Turtle has never met her relatives. When she gets to her aunt's house she finds that Florida is so different from where she had lived with her mother. There is grass between the houses and it's hot and humid most of the time.
The worse part of being in Florida is that she finds she has some really mean cousins. This is not the trip she had wanted and it only seems to get worse by the minute. She learns that the grandmother that she had been told was dead, was indeed alive. How could her mother have told her a lie?
Turtle stars to warm up to this Depression torn town. She finds that her new family can be loving and that Florida does hold new adventures.