The Girls

An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down


By Abigail Pesta

Read by Elisabeth Rodgers

Formats and Prices



  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
  2. ebook $14.99 $18.99 CAD
  3. Hardcover $29.00 $37.00 CAD

In this news-breaking narrative, decades of women who brought down sexual predator Larry Nassar offer groundbreaking new insight, with the first known survivor and many others sharing their stories exclusively for the first time.

We think of Larry Nassar as the despicable sexual predator of Olympic gymnasts — but there is an astonishing, untold story. For decades, in a small-town gym in Michigan, he honed his manipulations on generations of aspiring gymnasts. Kids from the neighborhood. Girls with hopes of a college scholarship. Athletes and parents with a dream. In The Girls, these brave women for the first time describe Nassar’s increasingly bold predations through the years, recount their warning calls unheeded, and demonstrate their resiliency in the face of a nightmare.

The Girls is a profound exploration of trust, ambition, betrayal, and self-discovery. Award-winning journalist Abigail Pesta unveils this deeply reported narrative at a time when the nation is wrestling with the implications of the MeToo movement. How do the women who grew up with Nassar reconcile the monster in the news with the man they once trusted? In The Girls, we learn that their answers to that wrenching question are as rich, insightful, and varied as the human experience itself.

  • "This may be the most important sports title of the year."
    Library Journal (starred review)
  • "Abigail Pesta's new book lends an essential platform to the voices of the brave women who brought down predator Larry Nassar. We must continue to listen to these women and their stories. Now, we can do just that, thanks to Ms. Pesta's excellent reporting."
    Gloria Steinem
  • "Pesta's empathy for these girls and women is palpable, and powerful. ... The book has the effect of a chorus of righteous anger."
    Los Angeles Times
  • "This is a courageous, courageous book. ... The Girls is probably the most thorough account of this case."
    Dr. Phil
  • "Journalist Abigail Pesta reveals a shocking and ultimately inspiring chronicle of what Nassar's survivors endured, and how a decades-long fight to be heard was finally won."
  • "In the #MeToo era, The Girls is a powerful addition to the nationwide conversations and reckonings happening around sexual abuse, harassment, and violence."
    Ms. Magazine
  • "Pesta's compassionate in-depth reporting is startling in its entirety and candor and should be read by coaches, counselors, therapists, law enforcement officers, sports writers, parents of young athletes and athletes, university officials and especially university presidents.... Her writing is straightforward and compelling without straying into sensationalism."
    Lansing City Pulse
  • "In interviews with 25 survivors -- including the likely first victim and the last -- journalist Abigail Pesta documents how [Larry Nassar] honed his manipulation skills to become the most prolific predator in sports history."
    Marie Claire
  • "This book is one that every single person who works in sport should read."
    Female Coaching Network
  • "The damage to these young women has been immeasurable ... but they have reclaimed control of their lives from a predator who is destined to die in prison. The Girls is their story of courage."
    New York Journal of Books
  • "Pesta has born witness to unfathomable pain, staggering complicity, and abuse hidden in plain sight. Here is a nightmare in two acts: an unremittingly cruel coach and a pedophilic osteopath who exploit the militant obedience demanded in an ultra-competitive environment to traumatize hundreds of young women and girls. With journalistic verve, Pesta chronicles the unstoppable force of the survivors' voices swelling into a battle cry."
    Tina Brown, founder and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media/Women in the World
  • "Deeply personal, powerful, and filled with stunning new insights into the Nassar scandal, this gripping narrative grabs you by the heart and leaves you cheering for these courageous women who felled a beast."
    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px 'Times New Roman'; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Joanna Coles, executive producer of The Bold Type, author of Love Rules, and director of Snap
  • "Like no one else writing today, Abigail Pesta penetrates deep into the anguish of people, particularly women, who are caught in seemingly hopeless situations, when nobody will listen to them. In The Girls, Pesta details the incredible untold stories of how dozens of teenage gymnasts, after decades of abuse by a trusted doctor, finally break through his small army of powerful protectors and send him to jail for at least one hundred years."
    Paul Steiger, former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and founding editor of ProPublica
  • "Abigail Pesta's The Girls is a riveting, angering, un-put-down-able and ultimately triumphant story. With new information at every turn, this impeccably reported, eloquent narrative provides stunning insights into the saga of the most prolific sexual predator in sports history. An unforgettable book, which only a woman could write with the nuance, depth, and compassion it deserves."
    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 14.0px Calibri}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us and The News Sorority
  • "Through interviews that reveal the experiences of many victims -- from the first known survivor to the last -- Pesta tells a story of betrayal and, ultimately, resilience among the abused in rebuilding their lives."
    Notre Dame Magazine
  • "The Girls takes a headline-grabbing case and makes it human, which is the true crime genre at its best."

On Sale
Aug 6, 2019
Page Count
240 pages
Hachette Audio

Abigail Pesta

About the Author

Abigail Pesta is an award-winning journalist and author who has lived and worked around the world, from London to Hong Kong. She is the coauthor of How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child, which was named among the best books of 2017 by the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, and many others. Her investigative and feature reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NBC News, Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, Newsweek, and many others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Learn more about this author