Review of The Girl in Times Square

The Girl in Times Square

Paullina Simons

William Morrow Paperbacks


December 19, 2017

International bestselling author Paullina Simons delivers a riveting novel about a young woman whose search for her missing friend turns into a life-shattering odyssey.

The truth will change her forever.

Living in bustling New York City, Lily Quinn has plenty of distractions and is struggling to finish college as well as pay her rent. But that all pales in comparison when Amy, her best friend and roommate, disappears without a trace.

Spencer O’Malley, a cynical NYPD detective assigned to Amy’s case, immediately captures Lily’s attention. Though he is wary and wrestling with his own demons, he, too, is irresistibly drawn to Lily.

But fate has more in store for Lily than she ever expected. As she looks deeper into the mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance, Lily finds answers she never imagined she’d find—answers that challenge everything she knows about her own life.

Lily’s search puts her on a collision course with tragedy and love, and gives her a glimpse into the abyss that swallowed her friend . . . until she faces a final confrontation with her own life-changing destiny.


I began this book on January 14 and finished it today. If you follow my reviews, you’re probably expecting me to tell you that the time it took for me to read this novel relates to  my overall feelings. And, for the first few chapters you would be oh-so-right. I really felt dismayed with the beginning. I didn’t like any of the characters, some of the scenes were extremely episodic, and I just felt, well, yawn and sometimes headachy. Then yesterday morning, I picked it up and something clicked and I literally could not put the book down.

From the blurb, I was expecting a murder mystery, but The Girl in Times Square is really so much more.

Lily is a young, undisciplined art student who has been struggling to graduate college but although her friends are graduating, Lily still has a few more credits. Knowing that her parents expect her to graduate, Lily is trying to figure out how to tell them.

Meanwhile her parents who have retired to Maui seem to be having marital problems. Her father is now in DC with Lily’s older brother, a Congressman, and Lily is encouraged to see to her mother in Maui. While there, Lily’s best friend and roommate, Amy, disappears.

This is exactly when The Girl in Times Square came to life for me and, in turn, I sped through the remaining three-quarters (around 500+ pages) of the novel in a day. (Yes, you can actually do that if you don’t sleep.)

I was swept up in Lily’s story. I came to understand why her mother was a basket-case. I liked and understood Spencer. I was amazed by the turns of the Amy-storyline. I never came to understand why Lily’s sisters were so very unpleasant, especially Anne who seemed money-centric.

Could the novel have used a further edit? Maybe. Personally I think it could have done without some of the ambiguity at the beginning which nearly colored my overall impression.

Because I love beautiful, poetic writing, some lines of this novel won me over completely. Some expressions and thoughts will make me think for a while now that I’ve read the novel. And now that I know that Spencer showed up in one of Simons’ previous novels, well, I am just going to have to track that one down because of all of the characters, Spencer really won me over with Lily following very closely behind.

Will this novel appeal to everyone? Probably not, but then is there a novel that appeals to everyone? This is for those of you who like mysteries, human interest, romance, and beautiful writing. As I mentioned above, some of the characters, especially Lily’s family, can be disheartening although, for the most part, I believe that Simons attempts to explain them.

I suspect that there may be some comparisons to the psychological novels that have come out in recent years, but this is a reprint with the novel first being published in 2004 so it predates Gone Girl and the like.

I won a copy from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.

ps If any of you have read this novel and understand what happens on the very last, infamous day depicted, drop me a line.

From Amazon:

rating: 4-and-a-half

4 butterflies and  ladybug out of 5 butterflies

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