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Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  163 reviews
A life on the prairie is not all its cracked up to be for one girl whose mom takes her love of the Little House series just a bit too far in this middle-grade novel about belonging from the author of A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids.

Charlotte's mom has just moved the family across the country to live in Walnut Grove, "childhood home of pioneer author Laura Ingalls W
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
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Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
I really wanted to like this book because I love the Little House series, however it was a miss for me. While this story is about a family moving to a town made famous by Little House, the similarities to the Ingalls family that we know and love end there. Their dysfunction is heartbreaking, their poor choices abound, and the children in this book very much have to look out for themselves as well as their mother. If you’re looking for a feel good read about a lovely family that moves to Walnut G ...more
Kate Olson
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Compelling middle grade that presents an honest view of westward expansion and the true nature of the Little House series.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this title.

As a school librarian who has a thought a LOT about the appropriate treatment of the Little House series in today's world, this book made me incredibly happy. At first I was worried that Tougas would give a romanticized view of Laura's world, but she blew me away with her historically accurate and h
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The good: I loved the central concept of a LHOP-obsessed mom following around Laura Ingalls as her spirit guide. I also liked the twins growing apart storyline and I think middle grade readers will be able to relate to a lot of the "new kid"/outsider narrative.

The bad: So many of the adult characters are either underdeveloped, inappropriate (bumbling cops, boundary-crossing school administrators), or totally outlandish ("Get off my lawn" substitute teacher who openly abandons lesson plans in fav
Scottsdale Public Library
Twelve-year-old Charlotte has bounced from city to city with her twin brother, Freddy, half-sister Rose and mother Martha for a long-time. There are always new schools and new kids. This time, Charlotte’s mom relocates to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, known as one of the prairie towns where Laura Ingalls lived in the 1870’s. Charlotte’s mom and sister Rose are obsessed with Ingalls’ stories. Mom even wants to write a Laura-inspired story about life on the southwestern Minnesota prairie.

Charlotte is
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Does a nice job connecting the past and present without being preachy or too dry. Charlotte believably transforms from an untrusting child into someone willing to take chances and make friends. Readers will feel her struggle to hope that her family will finally stay put somewhere. And that her mother will settle into a quiet and stable life.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
*I received a copy of Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.*

Happy Review Day here on Dr. Hodges Reads! Today, I am reviewing an advanced copy of Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life by Shelley Tougas. This book will be released on October 10, 2017!

To begin, I want to say that the reason I requested this title is because I am a huge fan of the Little House series. When I was in 2nd grade, I began reading these books and cou
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

I admit, I am not a huge Little House on the Prairie fan. It's not something I grew up around so I will say I did have a bit of a difficult time with this one. While the story is an adorable tale of a mom moving her kids to the birth place of Laura Ingalls in an attempt to write her masterpiece of a novel, there were a few things that didn't work for me on this one.

On one hand, this is a story about friendship and growing up, but I won't lie and say that
Liz Friend
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The story: Charlotte's family has moved, AGAIN, and she's the new girl in school. Again. Her policy of avoiding eye contact and making friends has worked before, but now it seems that her twin brother, always her reliable ally, has deserted her to make some friends of his own. Now she's stuck hanging with Rose, their younger sister, and thinking it's a set-up when other girls are nice. It's only when she channels the spirit of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the town's most famous resident, that she reali ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, kid-lit-exchange
@kidlitexchange #partner

Thank you to @kidlitexchange for a free copy of Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life by Shelley Tougas in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life is a perfect read if you grew up reading or watching Little House on the Prairie. It brought a flood of nostalgic feelings back to my reading life, leaving me wanting to go back and reread (and rewatch) the original. Tougas highlights all the ways in which Laura Ingalls Wilder portrays
How was I going to pass up buying a book called "Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life"? And it was such a cute story. It is the contemporary story of a girl named Charlotte who has a twin brother named Freddy and a younger sister named Rose. Their mother is raising them on her own and they move from town to town with regularly. No where really becomes home. Walnut Grove, Minnesota was supposed to be just another town. Charlotte's mom picked it just because she wants to be surrounded by all things La ...more
Angela Holland
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just had to get this book when I saw Laura Ingalls in the title. When I read what the book was about it sounded like I was reading about my daughter and I even though my daughter is an adult. I love everything Laura related and would love to one day write a book and we just moved back to Missouri not far from where she wrote her books, although that is not why we moved here. My daughter I know gets tired of hearing about Laura. I liked how the author used many names that were related to Laura' ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, I was so excited to read this book. It ended up being nothing like my expectations, but it was a great contemporary middle grade story with substance and heart. It touches on issues of poverty, racism, bullying, and more in a way that feels neither idealistic nor fatalistic. Charlotte is kind of a jerk sometimes, but I still found myself rooting for her at the end. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll buy this for my little Southwest library because I'm afraid it will ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chose this book for the title as it appealed immensely to both me and my young library companion; we both happen to be avid Laura Ingall's fans who live near the Almanzo Wilder homestead in northern New York State. This was an interesting read with an engaging storyline which addresses so many of the true life stresses of today's school children. I recommend this book to family's together to open wonderful discussions betwixt them about their own local social structures, stresses, supports, and ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really felt for Charlotte. She is so guarded. She expects and assumes the worst. Sometimes her choices made me crazy! But things have to fall apart sometimes so they can be put back together in a better way. The teacher was my favorite part of the story!

You do not have to be a fan of Ingalls Wilder or Little House to follow the story. Great historical pieces about the impact of western expansion on the country.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Definitely elements of modern middle grade fiction.
Children upset about their umpteenth move. Immature mother, divorced dad replacing love with new family, twin issues, and just, our main protagonist is just a very whiny and grumpy person.
What I did love was how they use the love of Laura Ingalls to provide a back story to more of realistic history but not in a bashing way. That was nice.
I guess the thing that really bothered me was that even this character didnt have a slow blossom
Katie Andrews
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, summer-2020
August Book #4

As a lifelong Laura fan, this was a cute read about a girl who moves to Walnut Grove Minnesota and her adventures there. It was fun to pick out the little nods at Laura throughout the book!
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I still have so much to learn....  On first read-through, there were some points in the text that didn't sit right:  the Asian boy was called Chuck because no one could pronounce his name?  The Hmong people were like Vietnamese but not the same?  Ma hates hates hates Indians?  I cringed as I read through the chapters.  Towards the end, I felt the author started to swing back towards a better historical story but was it enough???

I re-read the book recently....there were pieces I loved and pieces
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
A little slow for me, but if you liked Little House on the Prairie, this is interesting.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Relatable story for middle schoolers, trying to find their place in a nomadic existence. I enjoyed the angst, and the characters were (mostly) believable.
Alicia Bayer
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
We've been reading this as an afternoon read-aloud with our youngest three kids (ages 6, 10 and 14). All in all, the kids liked it but there was a lot of screaming at the book. Full disclosure, that was mostly by me. ;)

The book itself and the plot are not bad. The main character is 12 y/o Charlotte, who moves to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, with her twin brother, younger sister, and flaky mom. The mother is a rather one-dimensional character who uses essential oils and crystals and asks things of th
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great little YA novel, a quick, savvy, two day read that kept my attention and always had a driving force to get you to the end. Funny and heartwarming tale. It’s a relief to read a “tween” novel that is intellectual and with not too much snark, but just enough that you can relate to. I highly recommend to Laura Ingalls Wilder fans who want to take a break from serious research and have a few laughs not at Laura’s expense, but right alongside her.
MaryBeth Nolt
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Great middle grade book that delves into the real history surrounding Laura Ingalls Wilder. I found the plot points a bit predictable, but I do think the dynamic characters and their relationships helped to balance that.
Rebecca Davis
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved these characters and the dilemmas they face. Realistic emotions, and delightful approaches to unorthodox family problems. I LOVED this book! Great for all ages, Laura Ingalls Wilder fan or NOT!
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Let me just start with the obvious: You know you wanted to read this book the moment you saw the title. It's okay, I was in the same boat. I mean, it did help that I'm a bit of a Laura fan, although the argument can be made that the title is even more appealing to those who can't stand the Little House world.

My daughter in Plum Creek (Walnut Grove) 2014
So, I went into this not knowing anything about it other than the title and having no expectations. What I found was a delightful book with a str
I had the opportunity to read a digital-ARC of this middle grade novel from NetGalley in exchange for a review. As someone who grew up reading and loving the Little House on the Prairie series of novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder and watching the television show, I can appreciate the idea of making a pilgrimage to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

Unfortunately for Charlotte, the main character of this book, her mom has uprooted the family and moved to this small town on the edge of the prairie looking for t
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Tougas, Shelley Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life, 304 pages. Roaring Brook, 2017. $17. Content: G (some bullying mentioned)

Charlotte, her twin brother Freddy, their half sister Rose, and their Mom all headed to a new city and another new life. This time they are following their mom’s muse to Walnut Grove, home of Laura Ingalls, so that mom can spend a year trying to write and sell her own historical fiction novel. Freddy, 12, is protesting by refuse to speak, Rose, 11, make friends easily and so
Gabrielle S
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This was cute.

I can only assume the names Charlotte, Rose and Freddy were chosen as a subtle nod to the fans who will recognize that they are "Laura" names. Although I guess Rose is the most obvious.
Jennifer Sullivan
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Charlotte and her siblings, twin brother Freddy and younger sister Rose, have lived a rather nomadic life, subject to their mother's next whim or troubles. Charlotte doesn't even bother trying to make friends anymore, knowing that she will soon be uprooted and have to move someplace new; she and Freddy have each other and don't need anyone else, and Rose easily makes friends anywhere she goes. Their mother's latest whim has taken them to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where she believes the spirit of ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from

Charlotte, her twin brother Freddy and half sister Rose are dragged from their home in Lexington, Kentucky to live in Walnut Grove, Minnesota because their mother is feeling called to write a book similar to the ones written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Charlotte's mother has always written but had other jobs, but has recently had a biography of Dr. Seuss published, and has enough money to write full time. The family rents out the basement of a house owned by Mia and Miguel,
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life by Shelley Tougas is a middle grade novel where we meet Charlotte Lake. Charlotte and her family are constantly moving to new cities for her mother’s passion of wanting to be a published author. Charlotte’s mom wants to write a book about Laura Ingalls, who was inspirational to her as a child. Charlotte is embarrassed by her mother’s obsession and frustrated with constantly having to start a new school and new life. She never feels like she fits in anywhere. She ...more
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