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The Subway Girls

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,896 ratings  ·  660 reviews
From the author of The Balance Project comes a dual-timeline narrative featuring a 1949 Miss Subways contestant and a modern-day advertising executive whose careers and lives intersect.

"Schnall has written a book that is smart and timely...Feels perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams and Liza Klaussmann." —Taylor Jenkins Reid, acclaimed author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,896 ratings  ·  660 reviews

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Katie B
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
From 1941 to 1976 the NYC subway system ran a contest for young women called Miss Subways. Each winner had their photograph and a few facts about them displayed in the subway cars. The hope was this would show advertisers how effective this type of marketing could be as passengers' eyes were drawn to the posters. In this historical fiction book, the action switches back and forth between 1949 when Charlotte hopes winning Miss Subways will give her the opportunity to work in an advertising firm, ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Subway Girls is a dual timeline story about Charlotte, a young, ambitious woman in the 1940s, who wants to work in advertising more than anything, and Olivia, a young, ambitious woman working at an ad agency in 2018. Charlotte enters the Miss Subways contest in 1949, hoping it will help her get recognized, to propel her career forward. While driven and experienced, the agency Olivia works at is small and she fears her job may be on the line, so she puts everything into an upcoming pitch for ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
4.5 highly worthwhile stars
My reviews can be seen here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

For me there is nothing better that reading an historical fiction when you were a part of the actual facts. I was a little girl riding the New York City subway system with my parents and I can remember looking at the ladies pictured in the subway on the trains. They were very pretty and one could not help but stare at them and of course as a little girl want to grow up to just be like them. So, readi
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review.

A dual narrative featuring two strong minded women trying to navigate the male dominated sphere of advertising in 1949/2018. I found this book really difficult to put down and so I didn't. I found the little known story of the Miss Subways contest to be very intriguing and I felt that both timelines were strong enough to not detract from the other. A great summer read!
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

We move from 1949 to 2018 and come across girls who auditioned for being a Subway Girl in 1948 to an advertising agency in 2018 that needs a new campaign to help the transit system get more ridership.

The girls in 1949 were more than happy to have their photos plastered over the subways because it might get them a job in a different industry. The advertising agency in 2018 became interested in the Subway Girls as an ad campaign for themselves.

Olivia who worked for the advertising agency had a br
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Subways Girls is the delightful story of two strong women a generation apart, who both struggle to find a balance between love, happiness and ambition.

Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands that she help out with the failing family paint business. In the meantime, Charlotte, who just graduated from college, is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subway contest, which promises irresistible opportunities. But when her new friend—the intr
Jennifer Blankfein
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is not often where I pick up a book that has everything I'm looking for at that moment and The Subways Girls by Susie Orman Schnall delivered.  I started out in my early 20s in NYC at an ad agency so this book was a real treat for me as I was immediately drawn in and wanting to read more.  The urge to google and learn something new is always a good sign when I am reading a book, and the Miss Subways ad campaign sparked my interest.  Well developed, relatable characters that had me rooting for ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charming, alluring, and lighthearted!

The Subway Girls is set in New York City during the late 1940s, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives, Charlotte, a young woman who yearns to have a career and be more than just a wife and mother, and Olivia a marketing executive who's determined to prove she deserves the same recognition and success as her male counterparts.

The prose is precise and effortless. The characters are ambitious, independent, creative, and strong. And
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars.
The Subway Girls follows the life of two women in two different timelines. In 1949, a determined and confident 21 year old Charlotte Friedman, participates in the Miss Subways competition and her life goes on a rollercoaster ride after entering that beauty contest. The second story is set in 2018, Olivia, a hardworking girl finding and fighting her way in a world full of misogyny and male chauvinists. Olivia works for an advertising agency and comes up with the idea of connecting with
Sherri Thacker
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a book!!! 5 stars from me!!! Sometimes when a book goes back and forth from past to present, it gets confusing. But this book was wonderful. The book starts out in 1949 with Charlotte and it moves forward to 2018 with Olivia. I really enjoyed this book and did not want to put it down.
Cindy Burnett
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Schnall’s latest novel, she creates a dual-timeline tale that focuses on a small slice of New York City history, the Miss Subways competition that took place from the early 1940’s through the mid-1970’s. In 1949, Charlotte wants a career in advertising, but she is hampered by her father’s insistence that she help with the family’s business. She enters the Miss Subways competition in hopes of helping the family business which would then allow her to pursue advertising. In 2018, Olivia stumbles ...more
Jamie Rosenblit
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
This book absolutely captivated me from page one. Dual timelines and New York City had me sold off the bat but it was Olivia and Charlotte that wowed me. I loved the history of the Miss Subways contest as well as the familial bonds here, family struggles and difficulty of relationships, all set against the glamorous background of New York, my own city. The words jumped off the pages for me as I imagined my own subway rides and how I would love to see this advertising campaign on my own commutes. ...more
Sandra Hoover
The Subway Girls is a heart-touching story, one that held me in the palm of its hand right through the end. Readers should know it's not just another historical read, but rather a story that utilizes a small piece of history in the telling of the beautiful, seductive, emotional journey of two women in their pursuit of true happiness. I love the way the author uses two women from different generations to portray and compare the plight of women pursuing their dreams and the choices they're forced ...more
Diane Perry
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, giveaways
I received this in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read one of my favorite authors. This story was loving, inspiring and very enjoyable. I loved how past and present collided in this book. This is a fictionalized account of The Subway Girls campaign in the 1940s. Charlotte's story was inspiring and thought provoking. She is one thought cookie. Olivia is trying to compete in the ad world and comes across the story of the Subway Girls. Both women are a for ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Unable to find a job after college, yet determined to be independent, 21 yo Charlotte enters the Miss Subways beauty contest. Unbeknownst to Charlotte, taking this step towards independence, and away from her obligation to help out at her father's paint store, will change her life in unexpected ways.

The dual timeline follows Charlotte in 1949 as she struggles to gain a foothold in the mostly male business world and Olivia seven decades later in 2018 as she navigates the current world of advertis
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, ninja

This book totally enchanted me, I was swept away to NYC, both past and present, and to me, that’s the hallmark of well written historical fiction. Since I’m fairly new to the genre I’ve been dabbling and trying to see what I like the most and I think I can firmly say that anything with a dual, alternating timeline seems to engross me the most and Orman Schnall charmed me the whole way through.

Charlotte is the protagonist in the 1940’s section and Olivia is for the 2018 sections and I equall
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-ebooks
The Subway Girls is a dual narrative following Charlotte and Olivia - two women who live 70 years apart - as the Miss Subways competition changes their lives. I loved the concept, and for the most part, it was well-executed. The feminist theme which underscored the story was truly great, but I felt like the characters didn't do complete justice to the ideals of feminism - there was so much talk about independence and being strong and tearing down the misogynistic patriarchy, but then so many bad ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Susie Orman Schnall's previous novels, so I was thrilled to see that she had a new one coming out this year. The concept sounded interesting enough, but what's inside is even better!

Through Susie's lens, I learned something I knew nothing about...The Miss Subways contests. Seeing information about her research at the end makes me want to visit the New York Transit Museum the next time I'm out that way.

The story is beautifully written with compelling and sympathetic lead characters wh
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
I used to think historical fiction was my least favorite genre. I'm being proved wrong over and over again these days, which makes me happy that I've expanded my diversity in reading. Turns out, I'm just not a fan of historical fiction that reads like a history textbook or spends too much time trying to teach me a lesson.

Luckily, the The Subway Girls, the author journeys us back to 1949 through Charlotte's eyes and then to present day 2018, through Olivia's eyes. Both women trying to find a bal
Patricia Doyle
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley-books
The Subway Girls is told in two storylines that merge at the end. It’s the story of Charlotte in 1949 and Olivia in 2018. Sadly, however, those storylines are shallow, lifeless, predictable, contrived and barely credible. You could very early foresee what would be happening between Rose, Mrs. Glasser, and Ben. Yes, very predictable.

Charlotte (1949) enters the Miss Subways contest and becomes Miss Subways when her new friend, Rose, relinquishes her title. Then a bizarre situation is contrived (in
The Subway Girls pulled me in from the first page! Beautifully written with a dual timeline, 1949 and present day, this is the story of Charlotte and Olivia. Charlotte is a young woman in 1949, ready to break free of the constraints put on her by her father and the times. Olivia is an ad executive trying to win a large ad campaign. I loved reading as their stories entwined. Susie Orman Schnall is a new author for me and I can't wait to read her other books! ...more
Karen R
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great storytelling by Susie Orman Schnall. Fascinating to learn about the significant “Miss Subways” advertising success story that began in the early 1940’s by the John Roberts Powers Agency. CEO John Roberts Powers vision was to develop it for the promotion of the company’s models. Millions of people viewed these posters on the NY subway lines between 1941 through the mid-seventies. This book ties in two character perspectives related to this subject, 70 years apart.

I loved the fictional aspec
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Subway Girls were real! Over 200 women were chosen as “Miss Subways” from 1941 to 1976 in New York, with their posters placed in every subway car running in all five boroughs. Although it all started as an ad campaign and a bit of a beauty contest, it launched some of its winners to new careers and endeavors.
With this historical foundation, our novel takes the reader back to 1949 and the challenges of life for one of the Miss Subway winners, Charlotte. The chapters alternate this time travel
Shereen Lee
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018, historical
I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. Plot elements mentioned may not be final.

I loved the book's innovative concept, and its proficiency in toggling between two narratives. However, the characters and storyline seemed a little unrealistic to me, and I felt that some characterizations and narratives could be lazy at times. There's often little explanation or context behind relationship building throughout the book, and unrealistic actions are se
Jennifer S. Brown
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel weaves together the stories of the careers of two women, Charlotte and Olivia. Charlotte lives in 1949, and wants, more than anything, to work in advertising in a time when women were regulated to the typing pool. While very few women make it out of the secretarial job, Charlotte is hoping that she will be one of the few women who make it to junior copywriter. Olivia, in 2018, works as an ad person at a struggling boutique agency. Her coworker is a jerk, she has feelings for her boss, ...more
Camille Maio
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a gem!! I read this book in just a couple of days. I was captivated by this corner of New York history that was completely new to me. Schnall writes with charm, historical feeling, and enough mystery to keep the reader guessing. I have read her previous work and am excited that she is delving into historical fiction. I hope she'll write more! ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was a huge fan of the author's, The Balance Project and when I heard the premise of The Subway Girls, I knew I wanted to read it. The captivating story involves two time lines, 1949 with spunky Charlotte who wants to work in a NYC advertising firm as a copy writer. She's even willing to take a job in the typing pool (basically the only option for women at that time), but even that seems impossible. It looks like Charlotte is going to end up working at her families Brooklyn hardware store, unti ...more
Cassie’s Reviews
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I want to thank netgalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book! I loved this story it was a quick read and a light read , sometimes I need that after so many mystery’s and thrillers. The story takes place in 2018 with the character Olivia who works in advertising and 1949 and the character Charlotte, who is attending college for advertising and struggling to find her place in a mans word who think woman need to be at home in the kitchen and taking care of children. Olivia is trying t ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

This historical novel set in New York City has been based on the real life Subway Girls competition that that took place between 1941-1976. The author heard about this on a radio broadcast of NPR. She was so fascinated by the story she read "Meet Miss Subways: New York's Beauty Queens 1941-1976 written by Fiona Gardner and Amy Zimmer, Seapoint Books 2013.

This story was absolutely fascinating although the two main character's Charlotte and Olivia are fictio
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
The Subway Girls is a fun, light historical fiction novel split between the 1940's and present day. It focuses on Charlotte who struggles to be independent and do more than just marry her sweetheart and settle down. She enters the Miss Subway contest, against her father's wishes, and sets out to change her destiny. Present day we have Olivia, working for a struggling advertising firm who hinges all her hopes on a new ad campaign for the MTA. Their lives intersect in a bit of a predictable way, b ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Subway Girls - 3 stars. by Suzie Orman Schnall 4 16 Dec 26, 2018 09:50AM  

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Hi! Thanks for visiting me on Goodreads! Here's a little bit about me...

I am the author of two works of historical fiction: WE CAME HERE TO SHINE and THE SUBWAY GIRLS along with two earlier works of contemporary fiction: THE BALANCE PROJECT and ON GRACE. I grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. My writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times,

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