Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Review: We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall (audio)


Title: We Came Here to Shine
Author: Susie Orman Schnall
Narrator: Carly Robins, Dan Bittner, Lauren Fortgang, Susie Orman Schnall
Published: June 2020, Macmillan Audio / St. Martin's Press
Length: 9 hours 43 minutes / 384 pages
Source: Audio via the library / Print - ARC E-copy via Netgalley

At the iconic 1939 New York World’s Fair, two ambitious young women—a down-on-her-luck actress and an aspiring journalist—form an unlikely friendship as they navigate a world of possibility and find out what they are truly made of during a glorious summer of spectacle and potential…

Gorgeous Vivi is about to begin filming her first starring role in a Hollywood picture when the studio head ships her off to New York as a favor to a friend. She’s assigned the leading role in the heralded Aquacade synchronized swimming spectacular at the World’s Fair, a fate she believes will destroy her film career. If she performs well, she’ll have another chance at stardom, but with everything working against her, will her summer lead to opportunity or failure?

Plucky Max dreams of becoming a serious journalist, but when her job at the New York Times doesn’t pan out, she finds herself begrudgingly working for the daily paper of the World’s Fair. As her ideas are continually overlooked by her male counterparts and her career prospects are put in jeopardy, Max must risk everything to change the course of her life.

When Max and Vivi’s worlds collide, they forge an enduring friendship. One that teaches them to go after what matters most during the most meaningful summer of their lives.


My thoughts:  I loved Susie's last book, The Subway Girls, and was excited to read this. And I can't believe I waited so was so good. She has such a way of transporting you right back to whatever time and place she is writing about and this book was no exception!

Oh how I wish I could have attended the New York World's sounds as if it would have been such an amazing time and from reading this book, I feel as if I was right there. Everything comes alive on the pages - the sights and sounds. Now the next time I drive by this area, I will be able to have such a vivid picture in my mind of what happened during this time.

I loved the women in this book. Both Max and Vivi are such strong, fierce women in their own right and when their worlds collide, they just end up stronger. You can't help but end up rooting for them as you get to know both of them and find out what their true desires really are. I loved how as the book progressed, secrets came out, passions were revealed and plans were hatched. This really was such a fun, motivating book and I loved the friendship that develops between these women, though it's not without a few bumps along the way.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is such a great escape, filled with charm, history and engaging characters. And if you've read her previous book, The Subway Girls, you'll appreciate the references to that book. And now I'm off to watch YouTube videos of the Aquacade...hopefully I don't spend too much time doing this - I have other books to read!

Audio thoughts: Since the audio was available at the library, I decided to listen to this one and I'm so glad I did. It really translated well on audio and the narrators were excellent. I loved how they used a male voice for the newspaper articles. And as a bonus, at the end of the audio, there was a thirty minute interview with the author and two of the narrators...I loved this! It was so interesting to learn about how both narrators came into this field among other things.



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