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Somewhere Close to Happy

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Lizzie has just received a letter from her first love, Roman. The thing is, Roman went missing 12 years ago.

A laugh-out-loud funny yet heart-breaking novel about first love and second chances, with a satisfying mystery at its heart.

Lizzie James is happy. She has a steady office job (with a steady stream of tray bakes), has had the same best friend since secondary school,
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 13th 2019 by Trapeze
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  180 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Lizzie discovers a letter from her first love Roman, dated twelve years previously. It turns her life upside down. Roman was also her best friend and when her Grandfather Hubble dies twelve years ago. Roman ups and leaves never to be seen again. So, when Lizzie receives the letter, she decides to go on a search to find what happened to Roman, with her now best friend Priscilla.
The journey takes them over the country and deals with subjects of mental health, drugs, to love and loss. Lizzie
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just finished it and oh, this was a journey. I cried, I was melancholic, I was happy. I loved how it deals with mental health so it's not a light read but it's still positive.
Rachel Gilbey
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very impressive debut novel, that delves into mental health and some other issues, while also being a journey of trying to rediscover yourself.

It's the story of Lizzie and Roman who were incredibly close when they were teens, until Roman just disappeared out of her life 13 years ago.

She has had no clue where he is, but out of the blue she recieves a letter that leads her to search for him.

Within this search as readers we are treated to chapters dealing with events 13 years ago, which were
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lizzie James is happy. She has a steady office job (with a steady stream of tray bakes), has had the same best friend since secondary school, and she sees her family every Thursday night for take-away and TV. On the whole she's happy. Or somewhere close to it, anyway. Until a letter arrives one day from her best friend, Roman. A letter dated 12 years ago, the exact day he went missing. Who sent her the letter, and what happened to Roman?

SUCH A GOOD BOOK! I honestly could not put this book down I
Victoria Wilks
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful book to start the year off with. It's impossible to not fall in love with the characters, and the story is beautiful and inspiring from start to finish.
Victoria Bird
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There was so much to love about this book, from the intriguing premise to the warmth and sensitivity of Lia's writing, which reminded me of Jojo Moyes. As an 80s kid, I loved the 90s references and the laugh-out-loud humour throughout. The characters were hugely relatable and I found myself willing Lizzie on, on her own personal journey, as well as in pursuit of answers regarding her friend, Roman. The denouement, although not what I expected, was beautiful, honest, real and will stay with me ...more
Karen Whittard
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An unforgettable really charming and absolutely beautiful book that I completely adored. I couldn’t put it. Down and I love everything about this book.
Claire Sweeney
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
See this review and more at

‘Lizzie James is happy.

She has a steady office job (with a steady stream of snacks), has had the same best friend since school, and she sees her family every Thursday night for take-away and trashy TV. Lizzie likes her uncomplicated life.

Then a letter arrives one day from her first love, Roman. A letter dated the day he disappeared, 12 years before. As Lizzie uncovers the secrets of the letter, she discovers what really happened the
Gem ~ Bee
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this touching and funny novel quite different to what I expected, I suppose I thought it would be a HEA/romance book but actually it's very poignant, very funny and an accurate portrayal of being a young adult, making mistakes and going through life-changing circumstances.
It covers many gritty topics such as loss, grief, mental illness/breakdowns with accuracy and sensitivity, whilst maintaining the feel-good light-hearted fun of true friendships and the ups and downs of families.
Laura Danks
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly emotional story with characters who jump off the page. Well written with a strong voice carrying difficult themes and strong emotions all the way to the end. This is a fantastic debut from a fantastic author.
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sit down, ladies and gents, because it’s time to crack open the tissues.
This book was so lovely, and so, so heartbreaking (props to Lia Louis for walking that line so effortlessly!), and once I’d put it down, I had to sit in a dark room for a bit and digest what I’d read.
Right. Let’s get down to business. The story itself is about Lizzie James, and about a letter from a mysterious man named Roman that pops up years after they’ve last spoken, which sends her searching for answers about her past.
Kirsty Stanley
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel hit the sweet spot for me with a tender YA style first love and a gradual unpicking of a mystery later in life.

Lizzie thinks she’s moved on and moved past what happened when Roman disappeared but the delivery of his twelve year old letter opens those wounds and there’s only one way to heal them. She needs the truth.

Her best friend Priscilla has been with her since school, through her time at The Grove (the mental health unit where she met Roman), the year he left and now she’s
Isabella May
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent debut!

Written with verve, tenderness, wit and charm, I absolutely loved this book. The mystery dangles before the reader like not so much a carrot... but a carrot cake, making for an unputdownable read. Louis is very much an author to watch!
Lucy Mitchell
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this on NetGalley and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It’s a fabulous book about Lizzie’s life changing friendship with Roman and her quest to find him again years later. A beautiful read x

Many thanks to NetGalley and Orion/Trapeze for the opportunity to read this charming book in return for an honest review.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and the characters so much. The story was well written and I can't put it down. An unforgettable journey.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absorbing book where Lizzie receives a letter from her friend Roman dated 12 years earlier. It follows her search for him and the reasoning behind this letter.
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
A true heartwarming read. It’s an amazing debut novel, in fact I couldn’t believe it was a debut book. The characters are so well written and relatable, you really go on Lizzie’s journey with her. An emotional read. I will definitely be reading more by Lia.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Shalini | Book Rambler
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Lizzie and her quest to find what happened to her friend Roman who disappeared one day.

The story is told entirely from Lizzie's perspective and we get a glimpse of her teenage years with Roman along with the ongoing search for Roman. Somewhere close to Happy covers mental health topics like anxiety,depression and drug use.

Overall,I liked the story-it was one with a bittersweet ending. The only reason why I am not giving 5 stars us because of that ending .I felt that I went
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lizzie won me over as a heroine. Lia Louis had me truly believing in the characters and throws the reader into that feeling of teenage angst and first love so convincingly that it almost had me falling for Roman myself. I’m sure many of us wonder what it would be like to go back and find that first meaningful relationship and in my view, the whole plot was handled perfectly. When I had finished, it was one of those books I wanted to talk about. The story was carefully woven between the past and ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolute treasure of a book!....Could not put it down! heart warming and just one that will stay with me!

I love Lia Louis writing style, flows nicely and really gets you immersed in to the lives of everyone in the book!

Can we stop a moment and adore Hubble.... ( hearts) what a dear dear grandad he was.

Very well written with the mental health side of it, i think quite a few people will read this and be able to relate to it very well, and the special friendship with Roman.

I won't dissect the
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lizzie' world is shaken to the core the day she receives a letter from her childhood friend and first love, Roman Meyers. The problem is that the letter is dated 12 years ago, when Roman mysteriously disappeared from her life, but it has only just been posted.

Roman...the faithful friend who could see the real Lizzie, behind the anxiety and depression she felt after the break-up of her parents' marriage.
The friend who said he would never leave her, despite his own troubles.
The friend who was
Jessica M
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it

Somewhere Close to Happy by Lia Louis explores a past love, a childhood destroyed by mystery, and the lasting, crippling effects of mental health.

The story is mainly about Lizzie’s relationship with her childhood best friend Roman, who disappeared twelve years earlier. When Lizzie receives a letter dated shortly before he disappeared, she decides to start searching for Roman. Her close friend Priscilla is on hand to help her as well, and clue by clue, the two find out
Hayley (Backpacking Bookworm)
Lizzie met Roman back when they were teenagers in a place called The Grove. Struggling with their mental health, they struck up a strong friendship, supporting each other through every difficult patch. Then out of the blue, Roman disappears, leaving Lizzie heartbroken. 12 years later, her life is quiet, predictable, but stable. That is until a letter from Roman arrives, dated around the time he disappeared apologising to Lizzie and dredging up memories she'd cleared from her mind. She wants to ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
If you're reading this before picking up this book, consider yourself lucky, because you've just won 4 hours of your life. I cannot say it in any easy way: STAY AWAY FROM THIS BOOK. It really shows that writing a book does not make you an author.

I want to say what is wrong with the book, but I don't know where to start. It says "the heart warming laugh out loud debut of the year" and it is none of that (except for the debut, but can't be of the year or the year should be sad for itself). It's
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you for net galley for sending me the copy to read for a truthful review.
When I first started I thought it would be a run of the mill story however it is sensitively written about topics such as drug use and depression. Having worked in similar environment the author did an admirable and poignant story.
The story developes and unfolds as the narrator looks back over twelve years prior once she receives a letter from her first love who just ups and leaves her without explanation when they
Alison Cairns
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lizzie James has a settled life at the age of 27, and is happy with her family and her best friend, Priscilla. As we see, this hasn't always been the case, and Lizzie has had mental health problems for years. As a teenager she ettended a unit for troubled teens, and here she met Roman, who was the only one who understood her, and they became a form of mutual support. The mental health issues in the book are handled sensitively, even when we see how family members didn't always understand. The ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lizzie and Roman met when they were in their teens. Then Roman disappeared and 12 years later a letter is sent to Lizzie. It has been posted recently but written just before Roman left.

Lizzie is she is forced to confront the past and what happened all those years ago.

I wanted to like this book more, I really did. But I felt it was slow moving in some chapters.
I would have liked more time getting to know the other characters. Lizzie's Mom and Dad, her beloved Grandad Hubble who was so caring. Her
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lizzie lives a humdrum lifestyle doing a boring job until one day she receives a letter dated from 20 years ago written by her closest friend Roman, who disappeared without a trace. Together with her best friend Priscilla, Lizzie embarks on a road trip to find Rowan, no matter what obstacles are placed in her way.

Throughout the present day narrative the reader is taken back via flashbacks to the time when Lizzie and Rowan were as close as two people can be, supporting each other through their
A Book Lover's Emporium Book Blog
This story had great potential, it is well written and had an interesting storyline. The plot is intriguing and quite different from what I was expecting; the search for Roman had me intrigued.

The characters are interesting, if somewhat annoying at times. I like Roman best of all and I wanted him to be found and for him to be happy. The characters are well developed and you certainly felt for them.

For me, though it just missed the mark. There was too much going backwards and forward, although I
Ginni Brinkley
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great debut novel

I must admit I didn’t laugh out loud, as the strap line suggested I would. I was, however, immersed in the story of Lizzie, who receives a letter from her old best friend out of the blue, twelve years after his abrupt disappearance from her life at a time when she was already in terrible turmoil. The book carefully unwraps the past, interspersed with Lizzie’s attempts to find her lost friend. The story kept me interested, with a cast of (mostly) sympathetic characters plus an
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