The Happiest Girl in the World

Book Review: The Happiest Girl in the World by Alena Dillon

A 4⭐️ Book Review

In The Happiest Girl in the World, Alena Dillon takes on the U.S gymnastics sandal with poise and empathy in her fictionalization of Larry Nassar’s sadistic abuse, the roles that Bela and Martha Karolyi played, and the question of how much pain is worth Olympic gold. This book was a good, but difficult read, filled with triggers about sexual and emotional abuse. I enjoyed the protagonist, Sera, and thought that her voice was strong as Ms. Dillon showed us what compromises and conflicts Sera made on her own to reach her dreams. I especially liked Charlene, Sera’s mom, as a secondary voice because she added another layer of complexity to the story.

I love gymnastics, and the Nassar scandal is just sickening. Reading much of this book was like reading a recap of what’s happened in the past 5 years, and the fictional characters helped shine a light on the tragedy and injustice as so many young girls were abused under a system that prioritized perfection over humanity.

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