The Happiest Girl In The World

For Sera Wheeler the Olympics is the reason for everything: it’s why she trains thirty hours a week, starves herself to under 100 pounds, and pops Advil like Tic Tacs.

For her mother, it’s a means to achieve the glory she never had. It’s why she rises before dawn to drive Sera to practice. And why the family scrimps, saves, and fractures.

It’s why, when her best friend and fellow elite gymnast reports their doctor to the authority who selects the Olympic Team, Sera denies all that she knows about his treatments.

The Happiest Girl in the World is a novel that explores the dark history behind an athlete who stands on the world stage, biting down on a gold medal. It's about the sacrifices a parent will make for a child, even as a family is torn apart. It’s about the price of pursuing greatness.

Praise for The Happiest Girl In The World

"A brilliant and often heartbreaking account of a young girl striving to live a complicated dream, The Happiest Girl In The World probes the tragedy of the at-all-costs mentality that fuels Olympic performances."

-Blythe Lawrence, gymnastics journalist and co-author of Aly Raisman’s Fierce: How Competing For Myself Changed Everything

“Propulsive, transfixing, and disturbing. I could not set the book down. Harrowing and fearlessly honest, The Happiest Girl in the World is a haunting read because it couldn't have done justice to its subjects – fictional and real – any other way.”


"Dillon sticks the landing with this layered book about abuse, drive, family expectations, and trauma."

-Library Journal starred review

"Whether readers can name every Olympian gymnast from the past 40 years or can't tell a Yurchenko from a Mustafina, Dillon's latest novel will enthrall. "
-Booklist starred review

"Dillon’s excellent psychological drama will stay with readers."

-Publishers Weekly