Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.


The award-winning author of The Subway Girls is back with an uplifting read perfect for book clubs!

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…

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 and informative behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary New York World's Fair.


One of the opening quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” What does that quote mean to you?

Are you more of a Max or a Vivi, or neither? Why? How did your impressions of each character evolve while reading the book?

What job would you have pursued at the fair during the summer of 1939? Would you have wanted to work for Today at the Fair, swim in the Aquacade, work at one of the exhibit buildings, or something else entirely?


We Came Here to Shine

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

"[One of] The 25 Novels You’ll Want to Read This Summer.” —GMA

"[One of] The 20 Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2020.” ―Travel + Leisure

"The third fascinating character is the Fair itself. A perfect escape." —Jane Healey, bestselling author of The Beantown Girls

"It burst like a technicolor movie right off the page and left me breathless." —Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls and The Lions of Fifth Avenue


This Recommended Reading is sponsored in partnership with the author.