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We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall

A tale of two enterprising women set in the 1939 World's Fair of New York

Synopsis: Set at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City, We Came Here to Shine is a magnificent historical fiction featuring two strong women.

Vivi works as a film actress in Hollywood until the studio head assigns her to the Aquacade synchronized swimming show at the World Fair. Vivi fears this will be detrimental to her acting career, but she is determined to do well at the fair, and return to Hollywood.

Maxine, aka Max, is a journalism student at NYU who dreams of working at the New York Times. When her professor assigns her to the World Fair’s daily paper -Today at the Fair - instead, she is devastated. She soon discovers that being a female in the world of journalism run by men is not going to be easy.

As each woman embraces the curves that life has thrown at them and work to strengthen their careers, their paths cross, and they may just help each other realize their full potential.

What I thought: The book is told in alternating view points of Vivi and Max. I loved that their story lines coincided with one another. What happened to one was simultaneously happening to the other, and they said/thought similar things. It was fun to read that writing style.

I really appreciated that the author described the fair. It made me able to visualize what the characters would've seen and I was able to immerse myself into the setting. I also appreciated the descriptions of Vivi learning to synchronize swim and the inner workings of the paper Max worked at. It shows that the author was well researched, which is something I look for when reading historical fiction.

I think this would make a FABULOUS movie!

Favorite Quotes:

"She had no idea what her own future held; she knew only that she expected it to be bright."

"People were people. Different costumes, same problems."

"Fighters don’t walk away from a challenge. They stay and fight."

"Plans are my very favorite things, but I've sworn them off for a while. They tend to get me in trouble."


Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Susie Orman Schnall for the advanced copy of We Came Here to Shine in exchange for my honest review.

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