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There's No Place Like Here Hardcover – January 1, 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Acclaimed novelist Cecelia Ahern's There's No Place Like Here tells the story of Sandy Shortt, an obsessive-compulsive Missing Persons investigator who suddenly finds herself in the mystical land of the missing, desperate to return to the people and places from whom she has spent her life escaping. With this imaginative fourth novel, Ahern, whose P.S. I Love You was made into a major motion picture, continues to establish herself as not only an icon of Irish chick lit, but also a bold and creative thinker.

Continuing the whimsical trend she started with If You Could See Me Now, Ahern asks readers to step outside the boundaries of reality, and enter a world where missing people (and possessions) from all over the globe congregate to start anew. When Sandy goes on an early morning jog and strays too far into the forest, she too finds herself "Here," the aptly named home of the missing. In addition to finding her lost socks, diaries, and stuffed animals, she also finds many of the people she has searched for throughout her career. From Bobby Stanley, who disappeared from his mother's house at the age of sixteen, to Terrence O'Malley, a librarian who disappeared on his way home from work at age 55, Sandy is quickly reunited with the people she has come to know only through photos and heartbreaking memories shared by devastated loved ones who enlisted her services. Of course, finding these people and possessions only makes Sandy realize how much she has missed out on in her real life, most notably her concerned parents and her on again off again boyfriend Greg.

There's No Place Like Here is often predictable and the premise is a bit hard to swallow at times. Still, readers who take the leap will be rewarded with what is ultimately a witty, compassionate, and captivating love story. --Gisele Toueg

From Publishers Weekly

Ahern tells the fantastical story of Sandy Shortt, a smalltown Irish girl who, at 10 years old, becomes obsessed with finding lost things after a neighborhood girl disappears. Sandy's parents fret for years about her fixation, eventually finding her help in the form of hunky high school psychologist Gregory Burton. He's not much older than Sandy, and soon enough they're both smitten, though neither moves to pursue a romantic relationship until later, after Sandy graduates and moves to Dublin, where she tracks missing persons for a living. Gregory follows and they start and stall through an awkward courtship that's cut short when Sandy, while on a jog, gets lost and winds up in a strange parallel universe, home to the people and things that have gone missing from the regular world. What happens to Sandy there, and to those she left behind, will determine not only her future but Gregory's as well. Ahern jumps around in time and space, which adds as much confusion as suspense, but the underlying message about cherishing what you have comes through loudly by the end. That a film adaptation of Ahern's P.S., I Love You is scheduled for release in late December can't hurt sales potential. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401301886
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401301880
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,266,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on July 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There's No Place Like Here - and Here's exactly where Sandy Shortt finds herself when she takes a side path while jogging. Sandy's an interesting individual - obsessive about finding lost things, whether they be socks, toys, pens, or people. She has turned her obsession into a career, running an agency for finding missing persons. And find some of them she does, in some most unusual ways and places. This novel is strongly reminiscent, of course, of The Wizard of Oz, but also of a newer book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. A blend of reality and, well, unreality (not exactly fantasy), it's a modern, intriguing treatment of the timeless themes of loss, love, guilt, recovery, and fidelity. Fresh and thought provoking, and IMO, not chick lit.
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Format: Hardcover
"A Place Called Here" was difficult to get into at first. I found the main character, Sandy, hard to identify with, and the story line a bit too abstract to latch on to. But after a few chapters, the story turned into one of delight and wonder, with a dash of romance, and more than a bit of mystery. I even began to like Sandy. I felt that while this was certainly not Ahern's best novel, it was still very unique and enjoyable, and one that I will pass on to friends.

Please excuse the following tangent: While "A Place Called Here" is slightly more rooted in reality than her previous novel, "If You Could See Me Now", it is still not as realistic as her previous novels were, nor as realistic as I think her readers have been asking her for, based on a lot of feedback that I've read. My theory is that Ahern has gone this "mystical" route to try and differentiate herself from the other successful Irish chick-lit authors out there, but I truly don't think she needs to - her talent and charm can skillfully pull off a novel that would, in other hands, be blasé. However, if this is truly the type of writing she'd prefer to do, then kudos to her, and I'm a little saddened that she has lost readers by switching her style & following her heart. She's a young writer, still growing into the business, so giver her a little bit of a break :).

EDIT 1/15/07: Obviously, since I wrote this review, they have now come out with the US title for this book, "There's No Place Like Here". I personally think that's a much better title, considering the "Wizard of Oz" theme in the novel!

Grade: B+
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I always loved her first novel and when I saw this one I decided to give it a try. She is a very good writer, and her dialogue is always believable. I loved her main character, but at times the story got a little slow for me. It was worth the read, but unfortunately it did not keep pace with her earlier work, P.S. I Love You.
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Format: Hardcover
I love Ahern's books and was so eager for this one but let me tell you - it's a doozy. I couldn't even finish it. I tried! The plot about being missing without anyone missing you and being somewhere where all the missing people hang out - well, see, what I mean? Come on, Cecelia - write another winner like PS, I LOVE YOU. I'll be waiting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For me, this was a strange book. I almost didn't finish it, but I kept on reading and it got a bit more interesting. The synopsis was intriguing which is why I purchased it however, what I though the book was about turned out to be something different altogether. I didn't like the jump from one character to another. I know that's what you're supposed to do as a writer to keep the reader's attention, but the jumps felt awkward. The jump from back story to present interrupted the main story more than once and left me frustrated. I hate to say I wouldn't recommend the book, but I will read another Cecelia Ahern to see if this story was just a fluke.
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Format: Hardcover
I got "P.S. I Love You" and "Where The Rainbows End" for Christmas, and they were really good books, and I really enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into "If You Could See Me Now", and am disappointed that it's going to be made into a film. "P.S. I Love You" is currently filmed, but it won't be out until late 2007, or early 2008, so that's not good.

Despite the disappointment of "If You Could See Me Now", as soon as "A Place Called Here" came out, I grabbed it. And it was really, really good. It's about a girl called Sandy, who starts a missing persons agency, after the mysterious disappearance of her childhood enemy, Jenna May. She also is obsessive compulsive, and labels all her items incase they go missing. Much of her stuff does go missing, and she does tear the house apart trying to find them. So she turns it into a job. She hunts down many missing people - that is, until she goes missing herself.

She finds herself in a place called "Here", and promptly finds that people live her. People that she knows, people that have been there for years since they disappeared from the 'real' world. Many of them have moved on, got married, had kids, but still long to find their way back to their old lives. When Sandy finds herself here, with no way out, she immediately becomes the missing. And she also finds all her stuff that she thought was missing.

But then the twist appears - her stuff starts to go missing. Her watch, which she wears even though it is broken, because it has sentimental value, her diary. What's happening? Everyone around her is confused, cos surely in a place full of missing items and people, something cannot go missing.
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