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A Place Called Here - Cecelia Ahern

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Author: Cecelia Ahern / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 June 2007 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers / Title: A Place Called Here / ISBN 13: 9780007198917 / ISBN 10: 0007198917

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      25.01.2014 19:44
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      A book by Cecelia Ahern

      I have read a few of Cecelia Ahern's books now and I always find they are a bit different to that of other chick lit genre books. They always seem to have some sort of mystical and magical element to them. Now I say that and you may instantly think that it means the books are not for you if you are not into all that, but I wouldn't let it put you off as they are not written in a way that they come across all fairies and magic!
      This particular book was actually released back in March of 2012 although it wasn't book until quite a while after the release that I bought it and then I had it on my shelves for ages too so it was with pleasure I decided to start it over the Christmas season and having some time off work meant I was able to get into it and finish it pretty quickly.

      The author:
      Cecelia Ahern is an Irish writer who has now released 10 fiction books and two short stories. She studied journalism and media before she wrote her first novel which was 'PS I love you'. It became one of the biggest selling books of 2004 and then was later made into a Hollywood film starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler.


      The plot:
      Sandy Shorrt became obsessed with finding people and things ever since her classmate Jennie-May Butler went missing over 20 years ago. Ever since it became her goal to re-unite lost ones with their family members and working as a private investigator doing this is how she comes to be working to find Jack Ruttle's lost brother.
      Only Sandy doesn't plan on what happens when you yourself go missing and suddenly she finds herself in a very odd place indeed. Solving so many questions from over the years, she finally has answers to may things and now all she wants to do is to get home. However, it may not be as easy although Jack Ruttle still believes that Sandy can find his brother and so ends up now searching for her too. Will she ever make it home from here and be able to finally stop searching?


      Characters:
      Sandy is a very unique person and a great central character. She is so wrapped up in her work and her obsession to find things that she has created a barrier between herself and those that care about her. She really believes that answers are not all straight forward and because she feels that not many people believe this theory as well, it has made her quite a loner. Because of her situation, she starts to realise what is important in life and it is interesting how she changes over the course of the book and opens up more.
      Jack plays a very important part in the book and I felt the author did a great job in developing him as a character as you could really feel his emotions over his brother and how it was effecting his life. I like how connected he felt to Sandy even though they had never actually met and had only talked so far on the phone.
      There are a fair few interesting side characters in the book and I felt the author did and amazing job in creating these to make the book come alive. Overall, they were all very well written.


      Price:
      When I bought my book, I purchased it from Waterstone's as part of a buy one get half price offer so even though the RRP is £6.99, I paid £10.50 for two books making them £5.25 each. I know you can purchase them for a fair bit cheaper especially online, however, I do lie to browse and buy from a proper bookshop occasionally and don't mind paying slightly more to do so!
      You can still pick this book up in various shops and online stores fro anywhere between the £3-£5 mark.

      Opinion:
      I always know what to expect with a book from Cecelia Ahern and this one was no exception. I expected something that was a little unusual and also a book that would make me stop and think about things. This does both and so I was very pleased with the book indeed. I liked that even though there is an element of make believe, it still made me stop and wonder so I guess I possibly enjoyed the book even more so as it made me do that?
      Overall, it is a great book and no less than what I have come to expect from this author. I would highly recommend it and this isn't even what I would class as her best book. I think if you have already read anything by this author before, then you will love it anyway and if you haven't already read a book by Cecelia, then this is just as good as any to start with.

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      10.05.2013 00:10
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      Another great novel from Cecelia Ahern.

      Despite having the most important exams of my university life this month, it hasn't stopped me from doing a little bit of reading as a break from my revision and laptop. Last week I picked up 'A Place Called Here' by Cecelia Ahern from my Uni's book market. I really enjoyed 'The Book of Tomorrow' (which I also reviewed) and was eager to pick another novel by her, especially as the blurb once again piqued my interest.

      ==---Plot---==

      Sandy Shortt is a private 'Missing Persons' investigator. Her determination in finding people when the police have given up stems from her childhood. Ever since her classmate Jenny-May Butler disappeared several years ago Sandy has been troubled by what causes people and objects to go missing. It is an obsession that threatens her relationships with her parents and her closest thing to a partner, her former school counsellor Gregory Burton.

      However, when Sandy is on her way to meet Jack Ruttle, a client desperate to find his brother Donal who disappeared a year ago, she stumbles into a unusual place called 'Here'. It is a place where all the missing things and people- including those Sandy has been investigating- gather and live. 'Here' should be a dream for Sandy, but can she ever find her way back home, and can Jack find her?

      ==---Opinion---==

      'A Place Called Here' was definitely another page-turner in the same vein as 'The Book of Tomorrow'. Ahern combines normal life with a 'what-if' concept- which in this case is a world full of everything that has gone missing. 'Here' is described vividly, with characters from all over the world crammed into a place that I initially couldn't imagine. Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few allegories to Oz, which I found quite apt given Sandy's position of being amazed at this world that gives her answers, but is also not her home and proves to be quite sinister because of her day job.

      There are two narrators: Sandy (1st person) and Jack (3rd person). Sandy's character is fully developed through both her own flashbacks and Jack's discoveries about her lifestyle in his own narrative. Sandy is a former Gardai (police officer)turned private investigator, but her M.O stems from an obsession of finding whatever goes missing in her possession- be it a watch or an odd sock- which proves a deep concern to her nearest and dearest. She is distant from her parents and has no friends outside of ex-colleagues. The exception is her counsellor and on-again, off-again boyfriend Gregory Burton, and their strained relationship indicates how serious Sandy's obsession is. Furthermore she knows her missing cases inside and out- with all the people she recognises in Here she talks about their appearances, hobbies and the names of their family and friends, which I found a clever of getting to know minor characters in the book, particularly those whom are related to Jack's own investigation. Naturally the existence of Here is a shock for her, but as she spends more time there you sympathize with how she knows she is less of a person than the people she has been searching for.

      Jack isn't as strong a character, but he's still well-developed and is a protagonist you grow to understand. Like Sandy he is haunted by the disappearance of his brother Donal, and the event is putting strain on continuing his own life and relationships. His search for Sandy marks his desperation in finding her so that she can find Donal. What bugged me was that it is explicitly mentioned that Jack and Donal were not that close as brothers, so I was confused as to why Jack is so deeply affected by the disappearance. Nevertheless I was equally intrigued by his own journey to find Sandy and put his own obsession at rest. There's also a good cast of supporting characters in both the real world and Here whom I grew to like.

      I never felt that the switching of narrator or the flashbacks to be jarring or disjointed. There is one plot twist towards the end that I didn't see coming but made sense when I looked back at prior events. By the end, I was happy to see how much Sandy had developed as a character and what she had learned. Jack didn't get quite the same treatment, but since he's not really the central protagonist I shall let it slide.

      ==---Overall---==

      I absolutely loved this book and pretty much finished it in three days (a good sign considering I've been revising!). If you're a fan of Cecelia Ahern or want a fairly light read with some fairytale/fantasy elements, then by all means you should read this!
      You can buy 'A Place Called Here' brand-new at Amazon for £5.59 (paperback copy).

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        27.09.2012 17:08

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        Brilliant book, didn't want it to end, definitely recommend!

        I bought this book to take on holiday, as I like to read a lot while relaxing in the sun, but this one was definitely the best read while I was away, taking me off into a whole new place every time I picked it up.

        This book is incredibly written, with a lot of thought going into the story and the writing which makes it extremely believable even though it is a fantasy book. This read is great on so many levels, with a story of love, hope, mystery, wonder and an extremely likable main character.

        In this book there is a detective called Sandy Shortt, who has always been obsessed with finding things she has lost, because she can't understand how they just disappear. She spends her life searching for missing people, and her own missing belongings, certain that there must be an explanation, when one day, she randomly stumbles upon what she's been looking for all her life. A world full of lost belongings, people and with it all her dreams, but now there's just one thing left to find... her way home.

        It is a great story, written with great thought and passion. Being a fantasy book you expect it to be extremely unrealistic and out there, but somehow using fantasy ideas she makes it into an extremely realistic and gripping story, making you wonder and feel for the characters as well as trying to work out the story.

        I honestly couldn't put it down, and being a fan of Cecilia Ahern's other work including "PS. I love you" I will definitely be looking out for the rest of her work! I highly recommend this book.

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        04.01.2012 00:25
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        A modern fairytale.

        A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern.


        This is one of my favourite books to read. The idea behind it and how the story is told is simply stunning. Like many of Cecelia Ahern's books it will make you laugh, cry and leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It is a book of hope, love and it displays all of the best qualities of man-kind. I have read this book 3 times and I still can't get enough of it. It is a captivating tale of magic and mystery which restores the faith that love lasts forever.


        The book tells the magical story of Sandy Shortt who is obsessed with finding missing things. Her fascination began when her classmate disappeared when she was just a child. No trace was ever found of her and Sandy couldn't believe that someone could just disappear like that so she dedicates her life to finding missing people and helping the families of those who have just vanished. Jack Ruttle's brother is one of those missing people and he seeks out Sandy to help him find his brother. Sandy is determined to help Jack but whilst searching for his brother, she too goes missing. Sandy stumbles upon everything and everyone that she has spent her whole life looking for but now she has a different task in hand. Sandy has to search for a way home.


        Before I started reading the book I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the concept as it seemed a bit unrealistic and I don't usually go for fantasy books. However, I was completely surprised at the book as it is not unrealistic at all. Cecelia tells the story so beautifully and with a little bit of belief she takes you on a journey. There is a lot of mystery involved in the book and when I first read it I was turning each page with anticipation to see what else Sandy discovered. Once I got into this book I literally could not put it down, I must have finished it in a few days.


        Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors. Other successful books that she has written include; PS, I Love You, If You Could See Me Now and Where Rainbows End. Cecelia has an amazing way with words and her descriptions of people and places really draw you in from the moment you hear about them. I find her books so enjoyable to read as despite sometimes them being emotional, they always carry a good message and leave you feeling reflective and touched by her words. Cecelia lives in County Dublin where she is working on new novels.


        The cover of the book is mysterious, just like the content. It is black and beautifully decorated with a gold pattern with lost items on it highlighted in pink such as a sock, a phone, a shoe and some keys. The font used in the book is quite large and the chapters vary in size, from 2 pages to 5 or 6. I love how concise Cecelia's writing is as every word really counts and there is no unnecessary explanations or detail.


        Overall I would definitely recommend this book. It is enchanting, inspirational and such a kind and loving story. To read this book you have to be willing to let go of all reality and allow yourself to be swept away by the magic Cecelia creates. It is truly heart-warming and I can see why it was a number one bestseller. I found it very easy to connect with the main character Sandy as she is such a genuine person who just wants to help people. Making the connection with her was important for me as it enabled me to feel sympathetic towards her, worry for her and want to read on to find out what happened to her in the end.


        I paid £6 for the book at an independent bookstore.


        For more information about Cecelia Ahern of any of her books you can visit: www.ceceliaahern.ie


        Thank you for reading : )


        Review also on Ciao under luceey.

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          29.08.2011 13:11
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          A Really Well Written, Magical Tale of 'A Place Called Here.'

          I have been a fan of Cecilia Aherne's novels for a few years now, ever since my sister reccomended 'A Place Called Here' to me and i now own and have read pretty much every one!! I first read this book about 2 years ago and LOVED it, and given the awful weather over this bank holiday weekend, i needed a good book to curl up with and thought i would revisit the magical land where all the lost things go. I have literally just finished the book for the 2nd time and can't believe i haven't written a reveiw on it sooner!!

          ~Useful Info~

          TITLE: A Place Called Here (There is also a version of this book called 'There's No Place Like Here' i very nearly ordered this book not realising it was the same as the one i already own but with a different title so watch out for that one.)
          PRICE: rrp is £7.99 but you can get it alot cheaper new or used online (or even cheaper in charity shops lol).
          STOCKIST: all the normal places WHSmiths, Amazon.co.uk etc.

          ~The Plot~

          'A Place Called Here' follows the story of Sandy Shortt. Sandy has had an obsession with missing things ever since a girl form her childhood (Jenny-May) went missing without a trace when they where 10. Ths obsession for finding missing things (whether it be a pair of old socks or a person) carries on into Sandy's adult life as she opens her own missing persons agency.

          The book follows Sandy as she's contacted by Jack Ruttle, whos brother Donal is missing and she vows to meet him and help find his brother. However, when Sandy takes a different turn during a morning jog she finds herself in ther place she's been searching for her whole life. She's 'Here'. The place where all the lost things go.

          But now shes 'Here' will Sandy ever find her way back?

          ~What I Thought~

          I absolutley LOVE this book. The story of the magical land of here is such an unusual and intriguing idea that made me want to keep reading and find out exactly where this story was going. I read ALOT of books, or should i say i START alot of books, but many of them are the same old 'chick lit' stories told over and over again. But this book really is something different, it is beautifully written and the way alternate chapters are told from Sandys and Jacks point of veiw means you get the story from different angles, yet unlike other books that use this technique it is not at all confusing and it is actually really easy to read.

          I would definitley reccomend this book to everyone as it is a really easy and enjoyable read, the idea of 'Where do the lost things go?' is really unique and i guarantee you wont get that feeling of deja vu when reading, unlike a lot of books out there. The enchanting and magical element to the book makes it a real feel good book that does make you think but also leaves you with a smile on your face. 10/10

          ~Thank's For Reading My Review~

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            01.09.2010 02:23
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            'Here' is quite an interesting place.

            I came across Cecilia Ahern while looking for some light reading, being attracted by the fact that she is the producer of the American sitcom 'Samantha Who?' which I really enjoy. On this count I wasn't disappointed since it is a pretty light read which doesn't put too much stress on the brain. I specially liked the title and LOVED the concept behind it but more on that later.

            A Place Called Here is basically the story of Sandy Shortt and how she finds herself after spending years finding others. Okay I will stop talking in riddles and try to explain. Sandy Shortt is a private investigator who finds missing people and is obsessed with lost things. Her obsession begins with the disappearance of her childhood rival when the two are ten years old and follows her into her adult life causing her to make a career out of finding people. However, she is not an ordinary investigator. Motivated by her obsession she never gives up on anyone and continues looking long after others have stopped. She neglects all her relationships consumed by this desire to find missing things, pushing away her parents and separating herself from the man she loves again and again.

            However, she is forced to deal with all her issues when one day, on a case, she finds herself in a place called 'here'. 'Here' is the place where all missing things go from odd socks to people, books to forgotten memories. Suddenly Sandy has found everything she has spent her whole life looking for but has lost the things that really matter. It was this concept of 'here' and the world Ahern constructed made up of lost people and forgotten things that I found so enchanting and novel that I couldn't put the book down. Isn't it a wonderful thought, albeit a little frightening, that all our lost belongings go somewhere and are loved and used again? I am not doing a very good job of explaining so you will have to read the book to find out how the amazing world of 'Here' works.

            Coming back to Sandy Shortt, while she desperately tries to find a way back, her disappearance has gone unnoticed except by one man. Jack Ruttle has been looking for his missing brother for a year without any luck and has turned to Shortt for help. When she fails to arrive at their meeting, Ruttle starts looking for her and through him we find more about Sandy and her life. The book is narrated by both Sandy and Jack and focuses on both their lives to a degree although the main character is Sandy. Another constant character is Gregory Burton, the man she has an off and on relationship with who was also her school counselor.

            As I've already mentioned I was charmed by the concept of the place called here but the book itself gets confusing in parts. The writing is good allowing easy reading but I did not like Sandy's character much and found her self pity quite annoying. What kind of spoiled the book for me, however, was the ending which left me feeling unsatisfied. It felt kind of incomplete and made me reconsider my impression of the book much alike another one of Ahern's book that i have read. It is still a nice, light read though and again, the characters and dynamics of 'Here' make it worth it.

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              11.07.2010 21:52
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              a great summer read

              I am sure that all of us have seen posters of missing persons or adverts in newspapers; not to mention hearing about Madeleine McCain's case (this little girl went missing when her parents went out for dinner whilst on holiday in Portugal). Have you ever wondered where all these people went? Have you ever thought where all your odd socks go when you cannot find them?

              Sandy Shortt (her surname is a complete paradox as Sandy is quite a tall lady) has been obsessed with finding missing items and people since she was a child and her neighbour, Jenny-May Butler disappeared. You may think that Jenny-May was a close friend of hers but in fact, Sandy was bullied by her. Jenny-May's disappearance may have seemed to be a relief nevertheless it triggers Sandy's obsession with looking for things until she finds them.

              Every time she is obssessively looking for something, her parents look at her, scared and helpless and have no idea what to do to help their beloved daughter. They finally decide to send her to psychiatrist, Gregory, whom she falls in love with, once a week. Surprisingly, Sandy was happy to talk to him as she was hoping he could answer her questions. As she grows older, they still remain friends.

              Instead of letting it go, Sandy decides to open a missing persons agency. Once she promises a family to find their beloved one, she does everything to do so. Sandy Shortt is quite successful in her search but it doesn't mean she finds everyone. She still wonder where other people went.

              And suddenly, one day she during jogging, she finds this place. The place called Here. But does it mean that she has gone missing herself? Or will she be able to bring everyone back home?

              There's also another important character in the book, Jack Ruttle. He tries to find his younger brother who disappeared into thin air a year ago. He hopes that Sandy will help him and arranges a meeting with her, but when she doesn't turn up and he cannot find her anywhere for a couple of days, he becomes increasingly concerned and tries to find her. How ironic - a missing person agent goes missing.

              I must admit that at the beginning I found this book a bit odd and it freaked me out a bit. However, I am not the sort of person that will put a book down if the first part isn't great and I really enjoyed the rest of 'A Place Called Here'. Once I got into it, I struggled to put the book down and I finished it in a couple of days. It is written in a very interesting way - one chapter is told by Sandy and the other one is seen from Jack's point of view. Thanks to that we learn things about Sandy's life from different perspectives. I also find the plot very original.

              As a non-native speaker I can say that this book is written in a simple language so if you struggle with difficult vocabulary and complicated phrases this is something for you. However, it will not improve your English vocabulary greatly.

              Overall, I think that this book is a great holiday or leisure read and I would recommend it to everyone who wants to read something interesting.

              Thank you for reading my review.

              Also posted elsewhere.

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                04.07.2010 19:14
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                A magical story of the place where all missing things go, humorous

                This was the first Ahern novel I read and I was very impressed. In the book the main character Sandy discovers the place where all the missing things go. All of her life she has obsessed over missing things, from a school mate who suddenly vanished to the socks that go in the washing machine but never make it out again. She makes a career from this using her passions to help families find their missing loved ones and this leads to her discovering ' a place called here'. Its a fascinating world of people and things thrown together with just one thing in common, they are missing! The only trouble is Sandy can't find her way home and is starting to miss everything she previously took for granted. I'll not spoil the ending though.

                The novel is an easy read, I read it in two nights and thoroughly enjoyed it, there were never any points at which I thought it was going a bit slow. One of my favourites!

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                  03.07.2010 21:38
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                  I thought this was going to be good and I was right!

                  This is a review of the 2006 book "A place called here" by Cecelia Ahern. I have read a few of her books and enjoyed them previously so had been saving this one for a quiet weekend as I just knew I'd get so wrapped up in it I wouldn't be able to put it down.

                  Was I right?
                  Yes! It was a book I wanted to keep reading. Really great writing and a storyline with a bit of a twist to it. My book was a large paperback and the pages weren't crammed with text which helped me to read it faster I think so top marks to the print and layout of this book! I also found the front page (pictured) really appealing with the black background and gold flock print.

                  Brief bit about the plot
                  The book follows Sandy Shortt (who is, incidentally, a tall lass) and her quest to 'find' things. From a young age she has a curiosity about the socks which just 'go missing' and this is triggered when a neighbour's little girl (her class mate) just disappears. Following a career with the Irish police, she becomes a sort of private investigator and tries to help find missing people, working with their families and really getting to know the person they've lost.

                  Bit weird in places
                  As I said earlier, I really enjoyed reading this book, but you also really do have to extend your disbelief and open up your mind to accept what the author is trying to sell to you in this book.

                  About the author
                  I notice there's a lot of reviews for this book already, and that's probably because Cecelia Ahern's already a really popular author. I had a quick look on her website www.cecelia-ahern.com/ before writing this review and wow, she's a bit of a stunner too I have to say! I wonder if many people bought this book on the back of her previous successes and perhaps they were disappointed that it wasn't quite as good?

                  My opinion
                  I think I've read better books by this author to be honest but all credit to her, she doesn't write the straightforward predictable chick lit, she really does try to find a fresh angle to go from and that in itself is refreshing. I think she must be really creative - perhaps when sorting the washing and wondering where the socks do actually go to - when coming up with the concept of this novel.

                  The final word
                  I think if you see this book you should read it if you've enjoyed her other works. I wasn't disappointed with it and really galloped towards the end to see what happened! Whilst it was a little weird in places, it still kept you guessing and the lead character, Sandy takes a while to warm to but you really do get there in the end.

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                    26.06.2010 23:49
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                    Good story, would recommend

                    Sandy Shortt has an obsession with finding things, no matter how long it has been missing she has to find it. It all started when she was a child her socks would go missing, theycould be anywhere but she would make her Mum and Dad turn the house upside down until she found the matching pair.
                    When she was 10 Jenny-May Butler, a girl she went to school with who lived across the road suddenly went missing. Nobody knew what happened to her, where she went, Sandy only saw her a couple of hours before she 'went missing' so technically Sandy was the last person to see her.
                    As Sandy got older her obsession didn't go away it got worse, she started a job working for the missing persons bureau. So now finding the things/ people that went missing became her job.
                    Jack Ruttle was desperate to find his younger brother Donal who had vanished into thin air without a trace. He sees an advert for Sandy's missing persons agency.
                    While Sandy is trying to find Donal, she also disappears. She comes across a place that is miles away from the place she has ever known. She comes across a village in the middle of the woods, its own little community. The things she sees is very confusing for her, she doesn't know whether it is a dream or when she will wake up but the only thing she wants now is to fin her way home...

                    General thoughts on the story-
                    It is a good, interesting story that keeps you wanting to carry on reading, it does get abit confusing as there are so many characters, you have to try hard to remember who is who. Apart from that is it a very good read.

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                      21.06.2010 21:58
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                      Well worth reading

                      A Place Called Here is a novel written by Cecelia Ahern, who also wrote P.S. I Love You, which was turned into the box office hit of the same name. I've yet to see that film or read the book so this was my first taste of Ahern's work.

                      The story is about a young woman called Sandy Shortt. When she was a little girl, another girl in her school called Jenny-May Butler went missing and was never found. This had a drastic effect on Sandy's life. After that she became obsessed with missing things. Whenever she lost something, she got very nervous and just had to find it, causing her parents much worry and leading them to send her to the school counsellor, Gregory, who she develops a crush on.

                      As an adult, she gets a job with the Gardai (Irish police), as a missing person's detective. She is extremely successful at the job but after a while starts to feel dissatisfied because the management stop her from working on a case long before she feels ready to. So she starts up her own missing person's business where she can devote as much or as little time as she wants to a case; meaning she never stops working.

                      She gets asked by a man called Jack Ruttle for help tracing his missing brother Donal. When she drives up to meet him, she stops for a while and decides to go for a jog. It is at this point when Sandy herself goes missing!

                      The story is told in first person so we hear about being missing from Sandy's point of view, which is very interesting. She is in the place where all missing things go. Odd socks from the washing machine, pens, clothes and even people.

                      The description of the place where Sandy ends up is amazing. Basically a whole parallel universe has been created by the author, down to every last detail, showing just how talented Ahern is. She could easily write sci-fi or fantasy fiction if she wanted.

                      The story itself is very gripping, it keeps you hooked all the way through, hoping you'll find out what happened to Jenny-May and Donal Ruttle. It's written in quite an unusual way, leaping back and forth constantly in time throughout Sandy's life from childhood to teenage years to twenties to the present. This works well though and makes the story more interesting. The story is also quite emotional in parts and deals very well with the issue of missing people.

                      Sandy's character is well developed. However, I wasn't totally convinced that her parents should have been all that worried by her obsession with finding things.

                      Nevertheless, this is a great read with a fab ending that pays off all the reading.

                      It was first published in 2000, has approximately 496 pages and is published by Harper.

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                        07.02.2010 19:20

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                        A Heart-warming and intriguing novel

                        A place called here is by Cecelia Ahern and published in 2006. She also wrote P.S I love you and Where rainbows end.

                        I first read this when my teacher set us a homework to do a book review. Because all of the books I had weren't long enough, my friend lent me a place called here. When she gave me it I thought there was no way that I was going to get it read, as I am not a fast reader. But I was wrong as I must have read it within a week. I couldn't put it down. The plot of the story was hypnotising and I couldn't wait to get to the end.

                        The story is about Sandy Shortt, who has always been obsessed with finding things. She runs a missing person's agency. While on a case to find Jack Ruttle's missing brother, Sandy also finds herself missing and stumbles upon a place called here.

                        A place called here is a delight to read over and over again, and now one of my favourites. It is a book that once reading it, you will never forget.

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                        09.10.2009 20:41
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                        A must-read!

                        I have started reading approximately five or six different books in the last month and just not been able to 'get into' any of them. Yesterday I wandered into a charity shop and saw two Cecelia Ahern books I hadn't yet read. I'd already read 'Thanks for the memories' and 'Where Rainbows End' and really liked both as well as finding them both incredibly easy to read, so although I hadn't planned on buying any more books, I bought them.

                        I started with 'A Place called Here' as I had already read the blurb on Amazon and it sounded really intriguing.

                        ~The Plot~

                        The story focuses on Sandy Shortt, a woman who runs a missing persons agency. She has had a fixation with missing things and missing people since she was 10 years old and a girl at her school, Jenny-May Butler went missing. A huge hunt was launched and Jenny-May's picture was in all the papers and on TV every night, and Sandy became quite affected by this.

                        Sandy wasn't particularly sure why Jenny-May's disappearance such an impact on her, as they weren't even close friends - in fact, quite the opposite, but it seemed to spark a life long obsession with finding. Anything or anyone that went missing, Sandy would search for obsessively, much to the worry of her parents, who sent her to a counsellor, Gregory, who Sandy fell for.

                        As an adult Sandy sets up a missing persons agency, and dedicates her life to finding missing people, even though this often shuts her family and friends out. When Jack Ruttle contacts her about his younger brother Donal, who went missing a year earlier, Sandy vows to help. The two speak on the phone several times and Jack feels a connection with her. He feels that she has the key to Donal's disappearance and they arrange to meet up. Sandy though, doesn't show up - it seems she herself has disappeared.

                        As we the reader know, Sandy went jogging one morning and veered off down some side alley, only to find herself in a strange and mysterious place. Sandy soon learns that the place is called 'Here' and it is the place that all lost people, possessions and even memories such as sounds and smells go to. It feels like the place Sandy has been searching for her whole life, but now that she has found it, all she wants is to go home. As the people living in Here explain, however, there is no way out. What will become of Sandy, why is she in this place, how did she get here, and will she ever get back?

                        ~What I thought~

                        I absolutely loved this story from the word go. After so many rubbish books I'd attempted to read lately, it was refreshing to find something that drew me in from the first page, and I actually stayed up until 4am so that I could finish it!

                        I found the character of Sandy extremely intriguing. The effect that Jenny-May Butler's disappearance had had on her life was interesting, and became slightly clearer as we went through the book and regressed to moments of Sandy's childhood and meeting with her counsellor, Gregory. It was one of those books that made me want to read on, I was as fascinated as Sandy as to what had happened to Jenny-May, but I also wanted to know why it had an impact on Sandy so much.

                        We've all lost something at one time or another and I suppose this book throws up the question of Where do missing things go to? Obviously the logical part of us, tells us that things can't just vanish into thin air, they have to go somewhere, and I suppose Cecelia Ahern's imagination took her to 'Here'.
                        There is definitely an element of fairytale about this book, and the way 'Here' described was as a whimsical, slightly magical place. At the same time though I felt this book had a real sadness about it too.

                        Obviously it deals with the subject of missing people, and unfortunately I know myself what it feels like to have someone close to you go missing. Thankfully in my case there was a happy ending after several weeks, when the said person turned up announcing he had been on holiday and not bothered to tell anyone. For other families however, having a loved one - especially a child - go missing for a long period of time must be heartbreaking and Cecelia Ahern writes about the pain and the emotions that people go through when their loved one seemingly vanishes, very well and in fact I identified with some of it from my own experiences.

                        The character of Sandy is very interesting and likeable, but it was sad to see the way her obsessive compulsive disorder ended up pushing her family and partner away and stopped her making any friends.

                        The other main character of the book is Jack, who is searching for his brother. Again a very likeable character, and I thought he was also very well written. We saw the affect Donal's disappearance had had on Jack quite clearly, and I thought the way he continued to question himself after all that time with 'What if' was very true to life.

                        I really enjoyed this book and it is one I will keep to read again. The whole concept of 'Here' was really interesting to me and it was refreshing to read something that was not just your usual 'Boy meets girl' romance. Overall I would definitely recommend this book, it's definitely my favourite Cecelia Ahern book so far.

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                          12.09.2009 23:39
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                          A very enjoyable read

                          A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern is a story about missing things. The main character Sandy Shortt has been obsessed by missing things she dedicates her life to finding all missing things. That includes items that she has lost and missing people which offers devastated families a flicker of hope. Jack Ruttle's brother Donal vanished a year ago. Hoping that Sandy Shortt will be his answer he goes on a mission to find her. However, Sandy goes missing too and in doing so finds all those items and people that she has been looking for, for such a long time. She is a world away from her loved ones and she resorts again to searching, this time it's for her way home.

                          This book is filled with mystery; it fits in a variety of genres as Cecelia Ahern seems very keen to do. The idea that there is a place full of missing things seems hilarious and very true, in some senses, to me! Everyone can relate to missing objects as we lose things most days. I think that is what makes this novel so successful. This is not a straight forward chick-lit book and I would recommend it to anyone.

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                          17.05.2009 23:18
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                          .

                          Sandy Shortt has always been obsessed with finding things ever since, at the age of ten, her classmate disappeared without a trace. Now, 20 years on, she has turned her obsession of finding odd socks and any manner of small objects into her own business - finding people. That is, until Sandy goes missing herself.

                          Jack Ruttle is desperate to find his missing brother when everyone else seems to have given up hope only a year after his disappearance. As a last bid, he contacts Sandy and she convinces him that she can find him. When Sandy goes missing, Jack is still convinced that Sandy holds the key to finding his brother Donal and so makes it his mission to find her. Meanwhile, Sandy finds herself at the other end of the spectrum, desperate for someone to find her...

                          My Thoughts

                          This is my third Ahern novel, and so far I still cannot make up my mind on how I find her story ideas and the way in which she writes. Like most of those books in the (horribly named) "chick lit" genre, Cecelia Aherns book are most definitely easy to read without the reader having to put much thought into it and provide a lovely bit of escapism. The difference with Ahern's books however, is she does seem to add a bit of magic, an extra added ingredient that makes her books that little bit more special - or if you are on the cynical side - a bit too sugar-coated.
                          "P.S I Love You" had the notes from her dead husband, "Thanks For the Memories" had the blood transfusion and subsequent memory gain of another human being, and in this book, Ahern has created another land, one that I guess most people would jokingly say must exist; a place where all our missing things go - from a sock from the washing machine, to an old photo, to a childhood teddy bear. Most importantly, it seems to be the place where all those missing people go - no matter how intently you search, they never seem to be found.

                          This is an interesting thought and idea and I was keen to see how this would be portrayed and once again Ahern proves what a fabulous sense of imagination she has got! However, after finishing it, I am still firmly on the side of it being, once again a bit sickly sweet. Everything has been thought of to the most perfect detail and I wasn't sure if I liked this ideal parallel world where missing things go. Despite my reservations, I do have to admit that I did enjoy reading about it and I didn't put it down! Throughout the book, we are mostly looking at the world from Sandy's perspective, either in her present situation of "Here" (the imaginary world where lost things go) to her past life where her obsession as a teenager worried her parents so much they referred her to a counsellor.

                          Sandy's character I didn't find as likeable as I would have liked for the beginning half of the book, her obsession sees her pushing away all those who love her and she becomes a very lonely girl indeed. Ahern tries to bring out the softer side in her, by explaining her feelings about losing things as well as showing that she does care about people, but I have to say that I didn't find myself warming to her as much as I'd hoped, although I wanted the book to end well! Jack's character on the other hand, was warm and caring and I read on to discover if he found Sandy and his brother.

                          What was most interesting about this book remains the idea of another land. This author is clearly adept at creating fairytale worlds and dealing lightly with all manner of subjects and giving them a new spin - from bereavement through to love and life. As I mentioned, this can become a bit too over the top, and I found myself thinking it was a bit too much of a child's fairytale rather than an adult one.

                          Obviously it's clear I have mixed reviews on this. Whilst I was reading this book, I did find myself frowning over the occasional turn of phrase and perfect-ness of everything and how things turned out (even a piece of bad news - one that I won't spoil - doesn't really seem to have the devastating impact it would have if it was written by another author) but I admit to not being able to put it down. It had a good pace and I was curious enough to find out how everything turned out. It is not at all as good as "Thanks for the Memories" a book that made me read this one in the first place, but a definite improvement on P.S I Love You. I'd read another If I was in the mood for some wonderful light fairytale with a bit of magic! This was like Wizard of Oz, but without the interesting characters and missing any sense of thrill and action!

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