Upside Down in a Laura Ingalls Town by Leslie Tall Manning
"Brooke's voice feels authentic as she struggles to reconnect with her fractured family, and Manning's historical research shows...an entertaining novel with realistic characters readers should find it easy to invest in."
"An eye-opening story for people who think their life is tough and for people who need to appreciate what is right in their lives."
—Story Circle Book Reviews
"[A] coming-of-age story with equal parts humor, angst, grit, and charm."
—Padgett Gerler, author of The Gifts of Pelican Isle
Recipient of the Sarton Women's Literary Award for Young Adult Novel!
It has been a long and difficult year for the Decker family, especially for sixteen-year-old Brooke. Her grades have plummeted. She deliberately breaks curfew. She makes out with boys she hardly knows. And now her father has totally lost it.
When Tim Decker signs up his family of three to be contestants on a Hollywood reality show, Brooke’s life turns upside down. The place: The North Carolina backcountry. The year: 1861.
Brooke is forced to trade in her Victoria’s Secret bra for a rib-cracking corset, her comfy jeans for an ugly farm dress, and her private bathroom for an outhouse. Television cameras will follow her every move as she lives the grueling life of a mid-nineteenth-century farm girl: milking a cow, churning butter, fetching water countless times a day, and riding in a horse-drawn wagon along a rutted road to spend pennies in town. This will be Brooke’s life for four awful months. Unless, of course, she breaks the rules and the producers kick her off the show…
Other families are scattered throughout Sweet Sugar Gap. The snotty Prudence Miller soon becomes Brooke’s rival. Wendell Murphy, who works at the local mercantile, is instantly smitten with Brooke—but also makes her suspicious. Does the only cute boy in town really like her, or is he merely showing off for the cameras?
Brooke Decker may just have to find a way to make it in the backcountry, leaving behind the modern frills she can’t live without. But can a young girl’s wishful heart surrender to a time and place she believes she can never call home?
Leslie Tall Manning is a seasoned writer of both Young Adult and Adult novels. In 2002, she left Southern California for the Real South, and has since considered North Carolina her home.
As a private English tutor and writing specialist, she spends her evenings working with students of all ages, and her days working on her own writing projects.
She is happily represented by the TriadaUS Literary Agency.