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The Girl In Times Square - Paullina Simons

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Author: Paullina Simmons / Genre: Fiction

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    7 Reviews
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      06.01.2011 12:52
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      recommended read

      This is a review of the 2005 book 'The girl in Times square' by Paullina Simons. The front cover was intriguing, a Audrey Hepburn-esque girl sipping coffee. I love New York too so this book was speaking to me on many levels and was a must buy for me when I read the back cover.


      A little about the storyline
      In 'The Girl in Times Square' we follow Lily, a 20 year old student and waitress who lives in Brooklyn away from her parents who have moved to Maui and the first thing we learn is that her flatmate Amy has gone missing. This is nothing unusual to Lily as Amy is often missing for a few days so she doesn't seem unduly worried. A missing person detective Spencer O'Malley quickly attaches himself to Lily, convinced she is the key to his open case.


      As the story unravels, we find out more and more about Amy, and especially Lily who becomes extremely ill with leukaemia almost in tandem with learning she has won $7 million on the lottery. Talk about ill twisted fate. The lottery win does allow Lily to pay for her healthcare and expenses though so it was fortunate as no one else seems to care for her or want to help her pay her rent.


      Good detail
      What fascinated me in this book was the way Lily begins to question the small bubble she exists in and why she didn't ever question anything she felt was a bit odd in her life.


      Good knowledge
      I felt the Author, Paullina Simons had a good knowledge of Lily's illness and treatments and managed to weave it into the storyline well without it taking away from the main mystery, which is what has happened to Amy. It was both realistic and heart breaking to read and you really root for Lily's wellbeing.


      Relationships
      It's fair to say Lily has a very difficult relationship with her mother, and through her closeness with her Grandmother she manages to begin to understand the reasons why her mother's an alcoholic and makes a little more effort to bond with her although it remains largely ineffective. Lily's two sisters are quite different characters and one of them comes across as particularly grabby over the lottery money. Her brother, is a main player in the story and the way Lily is torn between wanting to protect him and also expose him to the detective at several points makes the pages turn quite fast!


      It was really clever how the author also showed the shady side of Amy's life, one that Lily was completely unaware of. Her bad relationships and friendships really twisted her life and contributed to her going missing. Lily just though she was a normal girl, her age on the same art course. Just goes to show you don't really know people, even when you live with them!


      Anything bad?
      I wasn't convinced by the relationship between Lily and Spencer. He was too old for her and it just didn't seem to work for me. I realise that their love for each other blossomed as they spent a lot of time together and he stepped in caring for her when she became really ill, filling the gap that her family left but it just wasn't quite real enough for me. I think I'd have preferred a sexier detective than the one described but that's just me being picky!

      My thoughts
      You can't help but wonder at the beginning at Lily's reluctance to cash in her lottery ticket, she is almost in denial over the fact that she has won, but in her mind, she feels that she doesn't deserve to win and that there must be something bad about to happen to her if she can be that lucky in life. Yet the bills need paying, her rent is due and she is struggling to move on from school to work and a future career although her family want her to start a proper job. Her love of art comes out during the illness and painting becomes her therapy and also a real money spinner.

      Would I recommend?
      Yes. This book was really different to other books I've read and I'd look out for further works from Paullina Simons. I felt intrigued and involved as I read along and it was a meaty 600 pages so there was plenty of detail in there.

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        02.11.2009 12:32
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        A love story for the 21st century

        Lily Quinn is just a normal young girl, trying to graduate from college and struggling to pay the rent on her tiny New York apartment. But when her roommate and best friend, Amy, disappears, the events in Lily's life seem to spiral out of control.

        Two life-changing events, one good, one bad, find Lily and through Amy's disappearance she has to cope with her own troubles. Help comes in the form of Spencer O'Malley, the detective working on Amy's case, and against all odds he also brings love and happiness to Lily's life.

        But through all Lily's struggles and through Spencer's investigation, Lily is forced to question her whole life and the beliefs she held of both her friend and her family.

        ~ My opinion ~
        I'd been recommend this book by someone who couldn't stop saying how much she had enjoyed it and how much of an effect it had had on her so I was very intrigued to see what all the fuss was about.

        The first part of the book starts off being written in a slightly weird way, and jumps from one character to another so at times I wasn't even sure who I was reading about. It's quite a slow start and I didn't really get into the book until a good way in. But the story soon unravels and has many shocks and twists along the way which are all very intriguing and compelling. When Lily and Spencer eventually got together, this is when the book became a lot more interesting and from then on I couldn't put it down.

        Lily is a wonderful main character. She is only young and doesn't have much in life, like any normal person in their early 20s. She is trying to finish college, struggling to pay her rent, dealing with love and heartbreak, yet she also has fun with her friends, watching DVDs and going out on the town. But the events she meets in her life means that all the usual things a young girl has to deal with seem like a million years away, yet she is a very character strong who deals with them wonderfully and she knows exactly what she wants from life.

        Even though Spencer is quite a bit older than Lily and there are reasons that they shouldn't be together, the chemistry is very apparent from the start and they make an amazing couple. Spencer has his own problems but they each seem to be a saving grace to the other and their relationship was so happy and loving that, despite all the problems surrounding them, I just wanted to see them be together.

        The one thing that I didn't understand in the book is how any mother can be so uncaring towards her daughter. Lily's mother, Allison, has her own problems which we find out about throughout the book but, because of these problems, she has become an alcoholic and can't get through the day without hurting herself in some way and blaming all those around her, including her youngest daughter. Even when she knows that Lily has been unwell in hospital for days with leukaemia, Allison still holds a grudge against her daughter for not calling to see how her mother is doing and she just doesn't seem to care that her daughter could possibly die. The rest of Lily's family didn't seem that much more caring to be honest, apart from her grandmother who took care of her.

        There are an awful lot of bad themes in the book including kidnap, murder, cancer, alcoholism and abuse, and poor Lily has to be the strongest person in history to have been able to deal with them all. Paullina Simons tackles each issue with so much depth and description that it throws us right into the heart of it and makes us feel as if we are actually there with Lily experiencing it all. She has an amazing way of writing that managed to have a huge effect on me. Whenever there was a happy part in the book such as when Lily was in love and enjoying her life, I felt happy and in love too, but when something miserable was going on in the book, such as when Lily was ill and couldn't bear to go on, I found myself feeling really miserable myself and would end up feeling pretty depressed.

        At first I wasn't too sure about this book but once the story got going I absolutely loved it. It is a very moving and emotional book that covers a huge range of difficult life issues and, despite all these, a very strong-willed girl who manages to pull herself through. It also raises the question of karma and fate as, at the same time as receiving a life-changing strike of good luck, Lily also finds herself with a life-changing strike of bad luck. This is a fascinating read and a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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          22.10.2008 09:43
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          An emotive and moving novel by Paullina Simons.

          Recently I've been getting through about a book a week on average, some books take me less time as I find I can't put them down while other books take me more time as I generally can't be bothered reading them. One of the latest books I've just finished is "The Girl in Time's Square" by Paullina Simons which was one of the most moving and unique books that I've ever read.

          Paullina Simons is an author that I'd never actually heard of before picking this book up in the library. However since then I've learnt that she was born back in 1963 in America and currently still lives in America too. She used to be a financial journalist and since beginning her career as a writer has had nine books published in total, including a cook book rather bizarrely!

          The Girl in Time's Square was published back in March 2006 in the UK, making it her sixth book to be published, and was done so by Harper Collins. The book has six hundred pages making it quite a bulky read and is available on Amazon at the reduced price of £4.56, it retails normally at the more typical price of £7.99. Amazon has sold over 21,000 copies of this novel.

          The Plot

          Unlike most novels where there is a single plot line that is followed throughout the novel, this one has several plot lines that are all integrated together. The main plot line is the disappearance of Amy, a twenty three year old girl who is studying art in New York with her best friend and flatmate Lily. As such the majority of the story is told from Lily's point of view as we never actually meet Amy.

          In addition there are several other plot lines including Lily discovering she has leukaemia quite early in the novel, which then follows her battle with it. In addition Lily wins the lottery, start a relationship with the detective investigating Amy, her mother's alcoholism which is controlling the lives of all the family and we also learn that Amy's brother is / was involved with Amy.

          The plot follows Lily and also Spencer, the investigating detective from the Missing Persons police department over a period of approximately two years. It follows them through both highs and lows, throughout the investigation into Amy's somewhat sinister disappearance, throughout Lily's battle with leukaemia and all the things that seem to be connected to those two unrelated occurrences.

          My Opinion

          After reading the first chapter of the novel which sees Lily being dumped by her boyfriend Joshua I was tempted to put the novel down. Despite it only being six pages long I found it was written in quite a detached manner that didn't really make sense immediately to me. Quite a few of the paragraphs discussed Lily's rather obscure feelings which I didn't get at first. The second chapter introduces us to Allison Quinn who is Lily's mother and we are introduced to her obvious alcoholism and depression straightaway which did entice me a little to the novel. The second chapter introduces us to Spencer, the investigating detective, and his rather detached relationship with a woman.

          Initially I did find it quite hard to get into the novel and the first three chapters didn't really help me much either. From them on the novel is split into four different sections which signify the passing of time and each focus on a couple of months. As soon as I got into the main body of the book I was instantly drawn to it more and before long I found myself quite addicted to finding out what happened next. Due to the different plot lines there was always something going on and the pace of the novel was quite fast. Time also passed quite quickly, some events were simply described in a matter of lines whereas others had a couple of chapters devoted to them if needed.

          Each chapter was told from the viewpoint of one of three characters, Lily, Spencer or Allison. Lily was the central character of the novel; she was Amy's flatmate, the lottery winner and also the sufferer of leukaemia. Spencer was the investigating officer in the police force who quickly formed a solid bond with Lily which later led to a destructive yet very supportive relationship developing between them, despite quite a large age gap. Allison was Lily's mother who had recently moved to Maui with her husband to retire, this move seemed to have tipped her over the edge and she lived in a constant state of depression where she self harmed herself through alcohol abuse.

          Lily herself was a truly likeable character, at times she seemed a little peculiar such as when she won the lottery yet refused to claim it for several months yet at other times she was a character with impeccable self belief and strength especially during her battle with leukaemia. The chapters that were told by her weren't filled with self pity at all which was really refreshing, how brave she was moved me time and time again. Spencer as well was a likeable character, despite his slight alcohol addiction he was a great support to Lily throughout the novel and did generally seem to have a good heart. His perspective of Lily and feelings for her were quite emotive to the reader as well.

          Now Allison was something else entirely, throughout the majority of the novel I thought she was a very selfish character who was seemingly so weak all the time. She spent her time in a darkened room, giving her husband a horrible life full of verbal abuse and drank herself into a coma most days. What really struck a chord with me and made me almost hate her was the fact she couldn't look past her own issues to help Lily when was ill, in the whole time Lily had leukaemia she never flew home to visit her once - imagine having parents that didn't come to visit you once in six months when you were practically at death's door, she rarely even rung her to see how she was coping or feeling.

          The plot was very intricate, especially when it came to Amy's disappearance there were so many different things running through my head every time I put the novel down. It really kept me hooked to the story; there were several twists and revelations throughout the novel which made it hard to put down. Lily's battle with leukaemia really had me hooked though, I was willing her to beat it and survive it - despite it only being a novel I really felt for her character and did find myself upset a couple of times. It was a brilliant book to read, one with so much crammed into those six hundred pages that I can't do anything but recommend you to read it, I couldn't put it down!

          What if everything you believed in your life was a lie? This is one of the claims the book asks you and as the story is told several revelations are made that will affect Lily's life forever. What if your best friend wasn't who you thought she was? Again this is what Lily finds out and it all makes for a truly captivating read. What started as a simple disappearance story ends in a huge explosion of sorts! I'll certainly be looking out for other books by this author as I enjoyed this one so much. It had everything you could possibly want... a love story, a tear jerker and a bit of crime mixed in for good measure. If you're looking for a book to borrow or buy then this is one to add to your list!

          Thanks for reading.

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            14.10.2008 13:43
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            One of the best books I've read in a long time. Highly recommended!!

            I decided to read this book because I love New York and love stories set there. I had never read anything by Paullina Simons before and have not read anything by her since but if I come across another of her books I'll probably take a look. The synopsis of this book interested me as it sounded original and unusual and I love books that are a little out of the norm. And this book didn't disappoint.

            PLOT
            The main character is a 20-something girl named Lily who is an art student in New York. She has recently split from her boyfriend and is in a lot of debt. Her life is normal and she likes the fact that odd things usually happen to other people. However her flatmate Amy suddenly goes missing, around the same time that Lily receives some very good news and also some very bad news. All three events rock Lily's life to the core and ultimately change her forever. Although it seems the disappearance of Amy is the main plot, all the events tie together and it's hard to pin-point what the main plot is. Which is not a criticism - I found this book an engrossing and exciting read, largely because so much was happening and everything was intertwined.

            Lily's struggle to deal with everything is further complicated by the appearance of Spencer O'Malley, the detective investigating Amy's disappearance. Lily and Spencer become involved but this leads to Lily falling out of favour with her family because they believe Spencer to be harassing her brother Andrew in connection with Amy's disappearance.

            The story is in third person and occasionally jumps to Hawaii, where Lily's parents live. Her mother is an alcoholic who refuses to acknowledge anything that is happening to Lily, while her father is in complete denial about his wife's illness so is trying to live as normal a life as possible.

            As the story progresses Lily finds herself fighting; fighting to find the truth about Amy, fighting for her new love, fighting to clear her brothers name, but ultimately fighting to stay alive.

            I wasn't too sure about the story surrounding Amy as I found it a bit far-fetched, as were the characters involved. But I could overlook this because I was more interested in what happens to Lily that Amy. As we don't really know Amy as a person I found I couldn't feel for her and to be honest wasn't too bothered whether she turned up dead or alive (although I did want to know which it would be!).

            This book is about deceit, lies, friendship, illness, romance, family, life and death.
            It makes you think about the hand fate can deal you and how it can give so much with one hand and takes so much away with the other. It's also about how little we really know about the people in our lives and how their actions can affect us.


            CHARACTERS
            Lily is a likeable and realistic character. She and Spencer are both well-rounded and by the end of the book I felt I knew them personally! I won't give away whether they end up together at the end but I was always rooting for them as their fledgling relationship went through a LOT of ups and downs. I would love for the writer to make a sequel because I really want to know what happened to them!

            Lily's family all seem dysfunctional and self-centred, with the exception of her agoraphobic Polish grandmother who overcomes her phobia as much as she can, to help her granddaughter. Lily's mother and father are so wrapped up in themselves that Lily barely crosses her mind. Lily's mother thinks her life is rubbish and it's all her husband's fault, hence why she drinks. Whereas Lily's father pretends it isn't happening so that he can live out the dream Hawaiian lifestyle he wants. With the exception of her grandmother, Lily's closest family member is her brother Andrew who is (I think!) a congressman. He comes across as more sympathetic towards Lily than her parents and sisters but isn't all he seems.

            For me, the characters of Lily and Spencer bring this book to life. Rarely have I imagined two characters so vividly and cared for them so strongly. I actually cried while reading this book which is a testament to the power of the writing as I read a lot and rarely ever cry no matter how sad a scene is! Its one of those books where you root for the goodies and hate the baddies but there are no good/bad stereotypes.

            STYLE
            The point of view flits between Lily, Spencer and Lily's parents which I think is appropriate as it gives us background to both Lily and Spencer and it emphasises just how dysfunctional Lily's family is!

            There is a desperately sad and dark side to this story which is very cleverly constructed. The setting of New York helps because it is such a place of wealth and opportunity, so much in contract with Lily's deterioration. The prose is realistic; you feel you're there with Lily. New York is vivid, as is Lily's pain, so much so that you feel it with her.

            I don't feel any review could do this book justice. The writer has done a stunning job. It takes a while to get into as I found the first couple of chapters slow and disjointed but its worth persevering. I would say its more a book for the ladies; can't really see men appreciating it but I could be wrong! I wouldn't classify it as chick lit - its far too clever for that - and it's not a romance per se, although neither is it crime fiction. It's a bit of everything to be honest. It's a book that'll make you think about your life and be thankful for the good things you have!

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            12.07.2007 14:33
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            Have your tissues at the ready!

            In the past, I have read a few books written by Paullina Simons and have always enjoyed them, and always been impressed by how diverse in nature and content they have been from one another. However, I had not read any of hef books for a few years when I cama across 'The Girl in Times Square'. The back cover blurb intrigued me and it did seem well acclaimed by the critics. In fact, one quote from Company Magazine read 'Read it and weep - literally!' Now this did have me a little concerned - firstly because there are may books which literally do have me weeping and I have to be very careful where I read them (It's a bit embarrassing to be seen sobbing into your book during a train journey surrounded by strangers!) and secondly, that was a huge expectation for the book to live up to and there was a danger of being left disappointed. This was really not the case though as this book definitely delivered on all fronts.

            I have to admit that I did not really enjoy the first few chapters though and found it very difficult to get into. I found Paullina Simon's style a bit too enigmatic as normally I like a few signposts pointing the way the novel is going. The story was moving between New York and Hawaii, and I was uncertain as to who some of the characters were and how they all related to each other. However, I have to say that about thirty pages in I was really hooked.

            Now, I'm going to try and give a feel for the book without giving too much away. It is a complex and engrossing story though and best read I should think when you have a bit of time and are not too tired. At six hundred pages though, you do need to be prepared for a bit of a long haul!

            So what type of story is it? Well there are elements of a crime/ detective novel. A young girl, Amy McFaddon, has gone missing and it is down to Detective Spencer O'Malley to attempt to find her. There are also elements of romance when O'Malley and Amy's flatmate Lily are drawn to each other, much to the consternation of Lily's family! There is also tremendous joy and sadness as fate intervenes in Lily's life in order to change things forever for her. Alongside this there is some politrical intrigue, true friendship but also betrayal, good old family drama, and some sinister overtones concerning more unusual religious practices. Maybe, from what I have said, it seems like it is too much a mish mash of too many ideas, but believe me it works, and I do feel that Simons interweaves all the threads of the story very skilfully.

            Also through Lily's family, a lot of issues are addressed. Lily's grndmother is a polish war survivor and also an agrophobic; her mother is an alcoholic; her father is in denial about his wife's addiction, and her sisters and brother all have complications within their lives too. It is really intriguing to watch how they function (or disfunction) as a family. All of these issues are written about and dealt with sympathetically.

            Most endearing of all though, is the relationship between Lily and Spencer. As I was reading the book, I found myself drawn more and more to these two characters, caring more and more about what happened to them. I almost felt as if I knew them personally by the end. There's is not a conventional love affair for many reasons which I won't reveal here so as not to spoil the plot, but the way their romance evolves is very sweet and poignant, and I defy most readers not to feel the tears welling.

            By the time you finish the book, you feel as if you have been on a real emotional roller-coaster of a journey. I have to admit that I felt quite wrecked by the end, but this type of read also has a very theraputic feel about it - you almost feel cleansed. And going back to that quote from Company - yes, I did read it and weep!

            And I know it's only fiction, but by living through all the events with Lily and Spencer, it does tend to put one's own life in perspective.

            So I'm not going to tell you whether they found thegirl; I'm not going to tell you whether Lily's grandmother ever left the house; I'm not going to tell you whether Lily's mother was still drinking; and I'm Definitely NOT going to tell you whether Lily and Spencer lived happily ever after! But I do recommend that you read the book and find out!

            If I've whetted your appetite for this book, you'll want to know that it is published by Harper Collins and has a RRP of £6.99. (and this was actually a book I did pay full price for and thought it was worth every penny!)

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              30.05.2007 12:48
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              Overall Enjoyable

              I added ‘The Girl in Times Square’ by Paullina Simons to my Amazon wishlist after reading a review of it. Despite my English Degree I am, and probably always will be, still a fan of trashy chick-lit, so I always have at least one eye out for novels that sound easy-to-read, but still maybe have that little something that makes them stand out from what we could very easily describe as a genre that is mainly full of very similar tales of little substance. ‘The Girl in Times Square’ sounded like it took a different approach to the genre.

              Simons’ novel centres around Lily Quinn, a normal college student who has just been broken up with. The start of the novel makes you wonder whether it will take any course other than the regular chick-lit style one of boy meets girl, boy and girl find problems, boy and girl overcome problems; but what Simons has done is to through some unusual situations into the mix that not only tug at your heartstrings and make you feel for Lily, it means that the budding romance isn’t necessarily the most important aspect of the story, and this is what, for me, really made the novel shine.

              Relatively early on in the novel when a few major things happen to Lily that affect her story for the rest of the duration of our time with her. Her roommate, Amy, goes missing, Lily comes into some money and then she becomes ill. This first event means that a whole new plot level of crime, mystery and drama begins to unfold (which, naturally with this type of novel, is where our hero, Spencer, is introduced to us), and the last event means we see a much more vulnerable side to our heroine than we are usually privy to in other novels. As the disappearance of her roommate becomes a much more complicated affair then Lily first anticipated, her illness becomes worse, and Lily soon realises that everything in her life is much more intertwined than she could ever have imagined.

              Personally, I felt that there were some moments in the novel where it got a bit too caught up in itself. As the mystery of Amy’s disappearance deepens, the plot and backstory to her life becomes evermore complicated and twisted. We learn about her life many years ago and the people she was friends with, and hear about some pretty uncomfortable scenes after Spencer goes to question one guy, who now seems to have been sectioned and living with monks or something like that… As the novel begins to reach a conclusion, some of the ties just seemed a bit out of my grasp; I could see where Simons was going, but it just began to seem just too unbelievable, the way the characters were connected just became too much for me.

              However, in saying that, I still read the whole book in a matter of days, and considering that it’s 672 pages long I feel this shows how gripping the novel was as a whole. Even when there were moments that I felt were unbelievable or perhaps not in keeping with the pace of the story, I was still unable to put it down and would find myself flicking through pages at every opportunity. I would recommend this novel definitely, but only as an easy reading piece of fluff. The ending admittedly feels a bit rushed, as though Simons’ suddenly realised her book was reaching epic proportions and wanted to tie everything together neatly. But still, I enjoyed reading it and would probably even read it again at some point; it would make quite satisfactory holiday reading for example.

              I bought my copy on amazon, where you can now buy it for £5.29 (works out as less than 1p a page!). As ever, you can find it cheaper on amazon marketplace.

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                02.06.2006 16:34
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                When I got my amazon gift vouchers through from dooyoo, I plodded onto the site and ordered myself some nice new bookies to read. The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons had been shoved into my recommendations, and so I decided to give it a go, intrigued by the plot synopsis, and desperate to have an excuse not to carry on reading the DaVinci Code.

                The book is centred on Lily Quinn, a 20-something girl who is studying Art at New York's City College. Her boyfriend Joshua has just dumped her and moved out of their apartment, and she is struggling to pay the rent. Then her best friend and other flatmate Amy disappears without a trace, and Spencer O'Malley, NYPD detective walks in to her life and they embark on a mission to find Amy, while wrestling all the while with their feelings for each other. Meanwhile two huge things happen to Lily, she wins the lottery, and then gets Leukaemia, and her life is in tatters. While she battles against the disease she finds out some truths about her family and about Amy. So, will she build bridges with her family after all is uncovered, will she beat leukaemia, find Amy and live happily ever after with the man of her dreams? Well, you'll have to read the 599 pages to find out!

                The book, I felt, dealt with a huge spectrum of issues, from terminal illness (Lily) to debt (Lily), from alcoholism (Lily's mother) to agoraphobia (Lily's Grandmother). Lily's family more or less repulsed me throughout. Her brother, Andrew a shady congressman, and her two married sisters are hugely selfish. Her mother is too, an alcoholic living with Lily's father in Maui, who thinks her life is too terrible to contemplate and doesn't give a flying monkey about Lily's illness or in fact anything but herself, and her father who is too weak to do anything else but put up with it. Her Grandmother, who hasn't left the house in years is less repulsive, just old and uncannily like my own- with her Polish roots and fussing over Lily and with only a little bit of that genetic selfish trait that the rest of the Quinn family possess.

                There is much doom and gloom in the book, due to the issues covered but still odd bursts of humour throughout and a beautiful love story. I felt that the discovery of the truth in the great Amy mystery was little far-fetched however but eventually all the sub-stories get wound up to neat little balls, although I was slightly dissatisfied with the results of some of them. All round though, this is a beautiful book, beautifully written and the last sentence on the blurb on the back of the book is certainly true in my eyes, "The Girl in Times Square is a heart-rending and powerful story of love and lies, life and death." It's not easy reading, not like maybe Marian Keys or Sophie Kinsella, but it is an amzing story and once you get into it, you'll definitely want to see it through to the end. It's less like my usual mindless chick-lit, I still think this one is pretty much just for the ladies. So men, sorry, I have to say though, I am far too selfish to cater for your needs too!

                The author, Paullina Simons is originally from the Soviet Union, emigrated to America in 1973 and now lives in New York and this is her fourth novel, published in 2005. I will certainly be going to have a look at the others, including Tully and Red Leaves.

                The book is priced £3.99 paperback at amazon.co.uk, and there are copies from £2.39 in the marketplace, current sales rank 390. You can probably pick up a copy on eBay too, and I recommend that you do.

                Back to the Da Vinci Code I go. Groan!

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                This is a stunning and powerful contemporary love story, from one of the best storytellers in this century. Lily's life is turned upside down with the disappearance of her flat mate, incredible revelations about her family and a personal discovery, all of which will affect her forever... What if everything you believed about your life was a lie? Meet Lily Quinn. She is broke, struggling to finish college, pay her rent, find love. Adrift in bustling New York City, the most interesting things in Lily's life happen to the people around her. But, Lily loves her aimless life! Until, her best friend and roommate Amy disappears. That's when Spencer Patrick O'Malley, a cynical, past his prime NYPD detective with demons of his own, enters Lily's world. And, a sudden financial windfall, which should bring Lily joy instead becomes an ominous portent of the dark forces gathering around her. But, fate isn't finished with Lily. She finds herself fighting for her life as Spencer's search for the missing Amy intensifies, leading Lily to question everything she knew about her friend and family. Startling revelations about the people she loves force her to confront truths that will leave her changed forever. From a master storyteller, comes a new heart-wrenching, magnificent and unputdownable novel. This is the odyssey of two young women, Lily and Amy, roommates and friends on the verge of the rest of their lives.