A Place Called Here

By Cecelia Ahern

31,456 ratings - 3.67* vote

Sometimes it takes losing everything to truly find yourself... Since Sandy Shortt's childhood classmate disappeared twenty years ago, Sandy has been obsessed with missing things. Finding what is lost becomes her single-minded goal--from the lone sock that vanishes in the washing machine to the car keys she misplaced. It's no surprise, then, that Sandy's life's work becomes Sometimes it takes losing everything to truly find yourself... Since Sandy Shortt's childhood

... more

Book details

Paperback, 485 pages
March 1st 2012 by HarperCollins

(first published October 16th 2006)

Original Title
A Place Called Here
0007198914 (ISBN13: 9780007198917)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


This novel had the potential to be so much more, but I was left frustrated and disappointed with the ending of the book. I think Ahern could have made her ending much more powerful, instead it is left fairly ambiguous with a conclusion hanging in midair. The idea of a place where all missing objects and people go intrigued me, but at times I was left laughing at the naive idea of all these missing people, from all over the world, speaking different languages, living together in peace and harmony, in a self-sustaining community, with freshly baked doughnuts arriving daily courtesy of absent-minded delivery boys, etc. At times, I got really bored with the novel as it felt more like a fairytale story for children, not a book for adults.

The relationship between the main character, Sandy, and her psychiatrist, Gregory, seemed completely implausible and unrealistic. There just wasn't enough time devoted into exploring how this romantic relationship could have come about. In fact, Ahern, seemed to hint all along that Sandy would end up with Jack Ruttle, that somehow they 'connected'. I waited for the big reunion at the end but got nothing, Jack went back to the girlfriend he didn't love anymore and Sandy went back to the guy that gave up on her.

And what about all the other missing people trapped in 'Here'? Why didn't they get found too? Clearly, a lot of people trapped there, Bobby especially, wanted to get out and return home to their family and friends. Why was Sandy the only one that returned home?

I really think Cecelia Ahern would be far better suited to writing for children. She has a great imagination and comes up with good storylines but her style of writing is rather naive and immature.


I regret to say that I received this book two years ago and just now managed to actually read it. It was my first ARC and I put it aside and it sat at the very bottom of my TBR pile for the longest time. Until this time of year, when I've been trying desperately to get everything out of that box and I finally decided to give this seemingly thick, impossible-to-get-through book a shot. Boy, do I hate myself for waiting so long to read such a literary work of genius. Remember in your school days, when teachers always told you to "show, not tell"? Cecelia Ahern does this, and does it flawlessly, with writing that is not at all awkward like much "good" writing seems to be, nor is it childish. Everything flows. All the words fit together as if they were each handpicked to play the part they are assigned. Coupled together with crazy good characterization, a plot as unique and captivating as they get, this contemporary fantasy should be a must-read for anyone considering themselves a true reader. As lengthy as it is, I got through this book in one long sitting, absolutely refusing to put it down. Cecelia Ahern is the literary genius I have been searching for.

Rating: 5/5

Aisyah ♡

I read this years ago, it was actually my first Cecelia Ahern novel. That should have been a big warning for me about how pointless her book can be sometimes, this one included.

I remember it was about random things that just kept disappearing. It was boring, not a lot of action going on. Kinda like a sock missing in the washing machine.

Ooo... mysterious.


Light enough that it didn't require deep thought, interesting enough to keep me turning pages, yet not so gripping that I couldn't put it down when I needed to sleep.

The story is about Sandy Shortt, who is something of a misfit. She is extremely tall, for one thing, in sharp contrast to her surname. She is also very logical and organized, and has a compulsion to search for missing things - and people. It all started when her neighbor Jenny-May vanishes when they are both ten years old.

By the time the story starts, Sandy runs a missing persons agency. She has reunited various lost family members, but there are still several unsolved cases which she has studied extensively.

Then Sandy herself disappears, and finds herself in a different world: one filled with people and objects that have mysteriously gone missing from the real world.

It's bizarre and surreal... and yet somehow the story works. In this strange other world there are socks, phones, wallets, even sofas... all of which have vanished without trace. There are also some of the people whose cases Sandy was working on. They have settled down, sometimes even married and had children, accepting their new lives after they've been there for a while.

The writing is very good; the story delightful, and unexpectedly moving in places. It's also strangely believable - it doesn't feel like fantasy at all.


For my full review, visit me at https://mrsbrownsbooks.wordpress.com/...

Riiiiight. Well, this was an odd one. Reading the blurb, I though Ahern was writing metaphorically about a place that lost things end up. Nope. I was very wrong. The result? An odd story that I just couldn’t settle to throughout the narrative.

For my full review, visit me at https://mrsbrownsbooks.wordpress.com/...

The Writer

Where do all things go when they disappear?

Cecelia Ahern has the answer for that through this book. The Irish chick lit author who previously wrote the international success PS I love you tried to charm her readers again with her fourth book. Funnily, this book has several different titles in English for example: "There's no place like here" and "A place called here". Anyway, the Danish title that I wrote above translates to "A place nearby"

I must admit that Ms. Ahern has a powerful imagination when she wrote this book. That's probably one thing that would fail me as a book author. My imagination is as thin as air in the Himalaya mountains. I couldn't just daydream about something and actually write about it and not forget about it. She apparently got the idea about this book when she couldn't find her left sock. Perhaps.

The book tells the story of a misfit young teenager - now a young woman - called Sandy Shortt. Two facts that I know from her character are that she's not short and that she's not sandy-haired. So don't let her name fools you.

When she was 10 years old, her opposite neighbour's daughter Jenny May Butler went missing and nobody could find her and that tickled her inner soul to tell her unconscious mind that she must find any missing thing from that moment on. It's not so much because she has affection toward the missing girl - far from that - it's just only because she gets irritated when a thing goes missing.

"It's like you know a lyric for a song by heart and suddenly you forget the words", she said.

Sure enough, she grew up to be a un-whole person. She dropped her job in the police corps and started her own investigative bureau to find missing persons as an attempt to seek a peace of mind.

Until one day she went missing and found herself in a place called "here" - along with a lot of other people she'd been trying to locate all these years. Including Jenny May. Including her white-and-orange striped left sock. Including her passport. Including the teddy bear she used to have when she was a kid.

Now, this is what I called a relaxing yet intriguing chick lit book as I found most chick lit books were too dumb to be worth reading. Believe me, I have many times given up a book halfway because I'm too tired to read the swearings of the main characters about their ex-boyfriends, their disaster dating sessions or their extremely sad and boring single lives. Whatever.

So this book is something different from a start and it does offer a good story. Enjoy


After hearing an interview with Cecilia Ahern on a radio book show, I was interested to read her work. It's not the kind of book I would ordinarily go for, but as she's such a successful author, I was curious to see what her stories were like. The concept was interesting and at times the story was moving. Losing parts of ourselves and our need to find them and bring them home to our heart, to feel whole again, is what this story is about, in a nutshell. It was a neat fit in keeping with the theme of the book, to reference the Wizard of Oz into the story. But it's like fast food for the brain. It's more-ish and easy to digest, but has no nourishment. It's a real page turner, I was driven to find out what would happen next, but I didn't enjoy the journey, only the destination, when all the mysteries had been unravelled. I didn't like the character of Sandy Shortt very much or her creepy doctor/ high school counsellor/lover. I don't want to spend any more time remembering this book. I'm none the wiser for it. Life's too short to read novels that don't challenge my intellect and broaden my scope.

jelly frogs

Interesting premise, about where missing objects go. The whole thing had lots of potential, but I got so bored halfway through. I finally snapped and decided I didn't really care about Sandy's missing sock or Sandy herself, who goes missing (oh the irony) and began skim-reading. The concept itself that these missing things and people go somewhere where cultures and such coexist and people live in harmony and (lost) food pops up just like that to fill all bellies was SO ridiculous. Sounds more like Children's fiction to me.

And honestly, don't these adults have better things to do? Like, I don't know, build a life for themselves instead of acting like complete lunatics obsessed over missing things. Just saying.


I couldn't finish it....

The premise is promising, about certain place containing missing people and missing things. But I just couldn't get it. I couldn't care the least towards the characters.... Okay, they're missing someone, so?
Okay, they're in the middle of nowhere and waiting to be found, so?

I think this would be a very great book if the characters were multi-dimensional and had some...I don't know, uniqueness? I don't even like the character's name, Sandy Shortt. Okay, that's trivial @[email protected] I just can't relate to her, even though I often lose things myself and desperately need to find them.

And why the point of views? Couldn't it be enough to use only one point of view? I mean, I've felt tired enough to listen Sandy's whine, let alone Jack or whatever their names are. I don't mind about multiple point of views, actually, but the question is, would I care enough to learn much about the characters? If not, well, why bother to read each of the point of views?

I have another book by Cecilia Ahern, The Gift. I just hope I'll like it the same as I do with PS. I Love You--in which the characters are real and relatable....


This book is quite odd. There's a lot of repition thus far about Sandy searching for things. Just. Really. Nailing. That. Down.

Ok, I agree with other reviews that this ending was totally cheesed out. I would have only give it 1 star if it hadn't been for the photo she ended up bringing back with her. But even then, I think the ending could have been done very differently. It also managed to get 3 stars out of me because the concept was cool. The idea that things really can be missing, not just misplaced.