Published by William Morrow on December 19, 2017
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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.
“Part mystery, part romance, part family drama . . . in other words, the perfect book.”—Daily Mail
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I feel like I’m in a unique position going into The Girl In Times Square by Paullina Simons because this is my first book by this author! Sometimes I feel like I’m literally the only person left in the world that hasn’t read The Bronze Horseman or any of her other books because I see people talking about them so often. After finishing this book, I can absolutely see what everyone is talking about when they mention Simons’ great character development and engrossing plot lines. I did not want to put this book down for one minute.
The Girl In Times Square has all sorts of fun things in it: a missing girl, a police investigation, a slow-building friends-to-romance, a super dramatic family, and a grandmother that I just adored. When I started reading, I thought Amy’s disappearance would be the prevalent plot that drove the book. But the more that I read, the more I felt like that wasn’t going to be the case. Certainly the investigation into finding Amy was important, but I was far more interested in what happened with Lily, since her life seemed to be on a bit of a roller coaster after her best friend’s disappearance.
This isn’t a super-tense, super-suspenseful, thriller-y book that raises your heart rate and keeps you turning the pages because you’re terrified for character outcomes. This is actually a finely crafted character-driven story that follows Lily and her slowly-progressing relationship with Spencer, who is the lead investigator on Amy’s missing persons case. At first, these two know one another because they are linked by the missing persons case, but then they become friends. The two become closer over a period of months. The story also focuses heavily on Lily and her relationship with her large family.
Lily’s life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, and she is intensely loyal to the people that she loves, even when I didn’t feel like she necessarily had to be. Throughout the story, Lily discovers so much about herself emotionally and physically, and she battles so much on her own that is totally separate from the difficulty of just knowing that her best friend is out there somewhere, missing, waiting to be found.
I was not expecting to become so attached to these characters and the events in their lives – particularly Lily and Spencer. I was rooting for Lily so much. And I loved Spencer from the beginning. Neither are perfect; both have flaws. The characters’ imperfections and flaws and vulnerabilities are one of the best things about this story, I think and ultimately are why I think that I was able to connect so deeply with Spencer and why I loved both he and Lily so much.
A sidenote: I also was not expecting the particular health journey that Lily would be taking throughout this story. I really don’t want to spoil anything in my own review, so I’ll avoid being direct about it here, but if you want more information I’m sure you can find it in other reviews. I’ll just say this: had I known the details in Lily’s personal story, I might have avoided this book for a time, just simply because of some personal things I’m going through at my own life and with my own family at the present time. Since I did not know — BOOM! — I was surprised in a very big way, and I found myself very emotional in several scenes that I don’t want to spoil here. But I think this connected me with both Lily and Spencer even more than I already was. I love that I was able to very personally invest with these characters and some of the decisions and conversations that they were forced to make/have, but my gosh, the road re: the health stuff just was not really easy for me. It was a very large part of this story. But I made it through! Whew.
The Girl In Times Square was a great first experience with Paullina Simons’ stories. I read in this review that Spencer’s character is in another book from Simons, which makes me wildly curious to go back and do some reading for more of his story since I enjoyed his character so much in this book. I already wanted to read some of her other books, but I’m absolutely down for more fully engrossing reads like this one with such fully-formed characters. I genuinely feel like I miss them since I’ve closed this book.