I really enjoyed “The Subway Girls” by Susie Roman Schnall. Set in both 1949 and present day New York City, “The Subway Girls” follows two strong female characters as they chase similar dreams 70 years apart.
In the late 1940s Charlotte is about to finish college and she dreams of having a career rather than getting married to her boyfriend right after graduation. Family circumstances threaten to derail her dreams though, so she applies to the NYC beauty pageant du jour–the Miss Subways contest — as. away to help out her family financially and allow her to do what she really wants to do. In the process she meets a beautiful, sophisticated new friend Rose who ends up changing the course of her life forever.
In present day NYC Olivia is struggling to win advertising accounts for the boss she’s in love with and their struggling agency. She comes across the Miss Subways contests from the past and figures out a way to use them in one of her advertising campaigns, and then she discovers a personal connection to the campaign that will hopefully help her win the account.
The Subway Girls is a fun, quick read that kept me interested the whole way through. I absolutely loved Charlotte and reading about the history of the (real) Miss Subways contests in the 40s and 50s. Charlotte was a strong character and she really came alive on the pages, as did all of the characters in her sections.
The present day sections with Olivia were interesting as well, but at times I felt that Olivia had too much going on. The romance with the boss really wasn’t needed and it didn’t add to the plot at all. Olivia had a complicated childhood and that part wasn’t really necessary either. Neither of these things takes away from the book at all–I still really enjoyed her sections.
If you like reading historical fiction about NYC, you’ll really enjoy this one!