Skip to main content
Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
We Came Here to Shine

We Came Here to Shine

A Novel

Susie Orman Schnall

St. Martin's Griffin

BUY THE BOOK

Set at the iconic 1939 New York World’s Fair, We Came Here to Shine is historical fiction featuring two bold and ambitious women who navigate a world of possibility and find out what they're truly made of during a glorious summer of spectacle and potential…

“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

Gorgeous Vivi is the star of the Aquacade synchronized swimming spectacular and plucky Max is a journalist for the fair's daily paper. Both are striving to make their way in a world where men try to control their actions and where secrets are closely kept. But when Vivi and Max become friends and their personal and professional prospects are put in jeopardy, they team up to help each other succeed and to realize their dreams during 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.

CHAPTER ONE


Vivi

Monday, May 22

Vivi Holden would eventually realize that not getting what she wanted that day was the best thing that could have happened to her. But it was still early in Los Angeles. And the not-getting...

Praise for We Came Here to Shine

“Schnall’s engrossing period piece offers two characters worth rooting for.” —Publishers Weekly

“[One of] the 20 most anticipated books of summer 2020.” —Travel + Leisure

“[One of] 16 new historical fiction books to read this spring.” —Parade

“[One of] the 20 most anticipated books of 2020 for working moms.” —Working Mother

"[One of] the most anticipated books of summer—all by women.” —Frolic

“[One of] the most anticipated books of summer 2020.” —She Reads

“[One of] 10 of the most anticipated books coming in 2020.” —She Knows

"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 Au… More…

“Schnall’s engrossing period piece offers two characters worth rooting for.” —Publishers Weekly

“[One of] the 20 most anticipated books of summer 2020.” —Travel + Leisure

“[One of] 16 new historical fiction books to read this spring.” —Parade

“[One of] the 20 most anticipated books of 2020 for working moms.” —Working Mother

"[One of] the most anticipated books of summer—all by women.” —Frolic

“[One of] the most anticipated books of summer 2020.” —She Reads

“[One of] 10 of the most anticipated books coming in 2020.” —She Knows

"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

- Less…

Reviews from Goodreads

Susie Orman Schnall

SUSIE ORMAN SCHNALL grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Her writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, POPSUGAR, Writer’s Digest, and Glamour. She is also the author of The Subway Girls and of the award-winning novels On Grace and The Balance Project. Susie has spoken extensively on work-life balance and is the founder of The Balance Project interview series. She lives in Purchase, NY, with her husband and their three sons.

image of Susie Orman Schnallo
Tiffany Oelfke

St. Martin's Griffin

Latest on Facebook

LATEST ON TWITTER