by Susie Orman Schnall
On Sale: June 16, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback: 384 Pages
Set during the iconic 1939 New York World’s Fair, Susie Orman Schnall’s We Came Here to Shine is historical fiction featuring two intrepid young women—an aspiring journalist and a down-on-her-luck actress—form an unlikely friendship as they navigate a world of endless possibility, stand down adversity, and find out what they are truly made of during the glorious summer of spectacle and opportunity…
Vivi Holden is closer than she’s ever been to living her dream as a lead actress in sun-dappled L.A., but an unfair turn of events sends her back to New York, a place she worked so hard to escape from. She has one last chance to get back to Hollywood—by performing well as the star of the heralded Aquacade synchronized swimming spectacular at the World’s Fair. Everything seems to be working against her, but her summer in New York will lead to her biggest opportunity to find her own way, on her own terms…
Maxine Roth wants nothing more than to be a serious journalist at the iconic New York Times, but her professor has other plans. Instead, she’s landed a post at the pop-up publication dedicated to covering the World’s Fair—and even then, her big ideas are continually overlooked by her male counterparts. Max didn’t work this hard to be the only—and an unheard one at that—woman in the room.
When Max and Vivi’s worlds collide, they forge an enduring friendship. One that shows them to be the daring, bold women they are, and one that teaches them to never stop holding on to what matters most, in the most meaningful summer of their lives.
We Came Here to Shine is a story of ambition, friendship, and persistence with a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary NY World’s Fair.
About the author
Susie Orman Schnall is the author of four novels: Her thought-provoking debut, ON GRACE (2014, SparkPress), is about turning 40. THE BALANCE PROJECT (2015, SparkPress), is about work-life balance and was inspired by The Balance Project interview series she started in 2014. THE SUBWAY GIRLS (2018, St. Martin’s Press), is historical fiction about the fascinating Miss Subways advertising program. And WE CAME HERE TO SHINE is also historical fiction set at the 1939 NYC World’s Fair.
Susie’s writing has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, POPSUGAR, Writer’s Digest, and Glamour. She is also a frequent speaker at women’s groups, corporations, and book clubs about her novels and work-life balance.
Susie grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and now lives just outside of New York City with her husband and their three teenage sons.
“An ode to female friendship that pulses with momentum and left me breathless.” ―Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls
“A remarkable novel about the challenges women face and the courage they must summon in order to lead the lives they deserve.” ―Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House
“On the thrilling backdrop of the 1939 World’s Fair, Schnall once again delivers a story both captivating and timely, as two women must struggle to make their way in a male-dominated world in this beautiful novel of friendship and ambition.” — Jennifer S. Brown, bestselling author of Modern Girls
“Susie Orman Schnall’s WE CAME HERE TO SHINE offers readers a perfect escape. It’s the absolutely delightful story of Vivi and Max, two young women who are chasing their dreams at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. This novel beautifully illustrates the importance of female friendships and how, at certain times in life, they can help you be strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined. In many ways, the third fascinating character in this book is the 1939 World’s Fair itself, as Schnall’s lush descriptions of the fair’s pavilions and amusements leap off of the page. I cannot recommend it enough!” —Jane Healey, Bestselling Author of The Beantown Girls
“At its heart, WE CAME HERE TO SHINE pulses with tenacity, ambition, and friendship as two enterprising women find their paths to the future through the power of sisterhood. This wonderful story glows with colorful historical details and delivers a behind-the-scenes ticket to the wonders and woes of New York’s 1939 World’s Fair.” — Elise Hooper, author of Fast Girls, The Other Alcott, and Learning to See
“Set at the wondrous 1939 World’s Fair, Orman Schnall’s latest bursts like a technicolor movie right off the page, as her two heroines battle for their rights in what’s very much a man’s world, forging a remarkable bond in the process. An ode to female friendship that pulses with momentum and left me breathless.”—Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls
“We Came Here to Shine is an exceptional work of historical fiction, illuminating the challenges of women in a world that wants to control them. There are conflicts and challenges at every turn, leaving the reader wondering how the characters can emerge from it all. Yet the skillful storytelling of Schnall succeeds at creating an ending that is both surprising and believable. Pick this one up if you enjoy books with friendship, love, struggle, triumph, and a bit of Hollywood in New York.” — Camille Di Maio, Bestselling author of The Memory of Us
“We Came Here to Shine is a perfectly crafted and dynamic tale of female ambition, professional rivalry, and family secrets, all set against the sensational backdrop of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. An unlikely friendship between a struggling Hollywood starlet and a budding female journalist becomes the extraordinary centerpiece of this beautifully-told story, which reveals not only the glamorous and optimistic side of the Fair, but the sordid reality of what goes on behind the scenes. With masterful attention to historical detail, Susie Orman Schnall has gifted us with a remarkable novel about the challenges women face and the courage they must summon in order to lead the lives they deserve.” —Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House
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