Review: The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons

Title: The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Mystery
Length: 608 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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.


Weighing in at hefty 608 pages, The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons is a lengthy, occasionally meandering novel, that  begins as a mystery then turns into a family drama and toward the end, a romance.  A solid read, but some readers might lose patience with the time it takes to resolve the multiple story arcs.

At twenty-four, Lily Quinn is broke and struggling to complete her degree when her roommate, Amy McFadden, goes missing.  Lily is bit aimless and drifting, easy to manipulate and a somewhat fanciful young woman who is often her own worst enemy as she ignores problems instead of dealing with them. She is also amazingly unhelpful when missing persons Detective Spencer O’Malley questions her about Amy after she is reported missing by her mother. Lily is not an easy character to like or empathize with as she faces some very daunting issues that extend behind her missing roommate.

Spencer O’Malley is a crack detective whose personal life is full of tragedy.  He is closemouthed about his private life but very dedicated to his career. Despite spending his days immersed in the darker side of life, Spencer is kind, caring and compassionate. He has a pretty good idea what happened to Amy and he also has a viable suspect to investigate. But he is in for an uphill battle to find out the truth as he quickly discovers that Lily’s answers are vague and without much substance and his prime suspect uses his position to try to ruin O’Malley’s career.

Lily’s family is dysfunctional and every member is somewhat self-absorbed. Her mother is a raging alcoholic and her father is the worst type of enabler who is miserable in his marriage yet he cannot bring himself to walk away. Her sisters are selfish and completely disinterested in Lily’s life until they stand to gain something from her. Lily is close to her much older brother Andrew, but as she comes to discover, he is not the man she thinks he is. Lily’s grandma is the best of the lot but even she has a few idiosyncrasies and quirks.

Although it takes a while to hit its stride, The Girl in Times Square is an interesting novel but is does suffer a bit of an identity crisis due to the numerous story arcs and multiple genres.  The mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance is the most compelling part of the novel, but for a good portion of the story, it takes a backseat to the unfolding drama with Lily and her broken family. Despite his flaws (and maybe because of them?) Spencer is the most likable and realistic character in the book.  With unexpected twists, shocking turns and a bit of melodrama, Paullina Simons wraps up the novel’s various storylines and brings the novel to a decent conclusion. However, there are a few threads left dangling since the fate of one of the characters remains unknown.

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1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, Paullina Simons, Rated B, Review, The Girl in Times Square, William Morrow Paperbacks, Women's Fiction

One Response to Review: The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons

  1. Timitra

    Thanks tor the review Kathy