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Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

Solace of the Road

by Siobhan Dowd

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I liked this book, but agree with one reviewer that it was hard to like the character of Holly. She was very selfish. It ended a bit differently than I expected, I kept thinking she'd find her mom but that she wouldn't want anything to do with her or they'd even start another life together. Liked all the different slang that UK kids use compared to Americans. Sad to hear this author died so soon, she was very good and will be visiting more of her work! ( )
  briannad84 | Dec 13, 2013 |
I was really looking forward to this book. I really liked the premise and I thought it would be something I could enjoy. I wasn't that impressed with it, though. I just couldn't bring myself to like Holly which made it hard to like the book in general. She really didn't come across as a nice person and I found it hard to sympathize with her. I could understand somewhat her reasons for the thoughts she had but it didn't make me find her interesting. Some parts of the book did make me a laugh a bit but overall it was pretty underwhelming. It was easy to read though and did keep me interested enough to read on to the end so it wasn't all bad. ( )
  nicola26 | Mar 30, 2013 |
I had a hard time getting into this books, while I could feel for Holly I couldn't get over the constant feeling of danger her roadtrip brought me. I was entirely to scared for her the entire time to enjoy reading her story. Young girls roaming around the UK with no money and no sense - eek! ( )
  francescadefreitas | Apr 15, 2011 |
"Solace of the Road" by Siobhan Dowd was a very enticing read. This story is about a 15-year-old girl on the run and her struggles through life. The story begins with a problem the main character faces and the rest of the book goes on to tell about the events that led her to it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because the author gave you a hint as to what was going to happen in the future. Each chapter revealed a little information each time, exposing the truths behind the character's past. This kept my attention and made me want to keep reading to find out the secrets. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspensful adventures. ( )
  ahsreads | Feb 17, 2011 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Life has not been exactly fair to Holly. She has grown up in a series of group and foster homes surrounded by social workers who say they care, but it certainly doesn't feel like they do.

As the story begins, Holly is headed toward a new home. A childless couple arranges for a few test visits and then decide they are willing to offer Holly a place in their lives. It should be the answer to Holly's dream, but her sights are set on finding her Irish mam and not relying on the kindness of strangers.

Maybe it's the constant disappointments over the years and the repeated caregivers who have abandoned Holly. Whatever the reasons, she doesn't feel that she can go through it again. After a short stay with the new couple and one heated outburst, Holly decides it's time to leave.

She stumbles across a blond wig that adds several years to her own almost fifteen, and when she looks in the mirror, she reinvents herself with a new name - Solace. Solace has the courage and the calm attitude needed to strike out and find her mam.

The journey takes Solace (Holly) into a world of roadside diners, truck drivers, and adventure spiced with bits of humor and potential danger. She's a girl in search of her past and, hopefully, a future filled with a promise of real family and real love.

Siobhan Dowd, author of several other award-winning YA books, tragically died of cancer at age 47. SOLACE OF THE ROAD features her typical Irish flare with colorful characters leading less-than-perfect lives. She captures the loneliness and desperation of Solace as she searches for what most of us take for granted.

American readers may find SOLACE OF THE ROAD a challenging read due to its definite Irish/British dialect and tone, but once they are caught up in the story, they will find it a rewarding read. Dowd's exceptional talent will be missed. ( )
1 vote | GeniusJen | Jan 26, 2010 |
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Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2009 (Vol. 77, No. 17))
Holly, a 15-year-old ward of the state, is placed with foster parents who, though they try very hard, can't break through the barrier she has constructed around herself, mostly to forget her early life with her uninterested mother. After she discovers a blond wig that seems to add years to her age, Holly hits the road, bravely reinventing herself as Solace, a young woman with an attitude. Her destination, across England and Wales, is Ireland, where her mother must surely be. Experiences along the way help her rediscover lost memories. Holly's character is fully developed and bright with a quirky humor. Holly's insights and observations are completely plausible, as is her voyage of discovery, described in lovely, pitch-perfect language. A last gift from Dowd.
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If I was where I would be,
Then I would be where I am not.
Here I am where I must be,
Where I would be, I cannot.

from 'Katie Cruel', a traditional song
For Anna
First words
I breezed down the line of cars, so cool you'd never have known I was looking for a way to board the boat.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Memories of Mum are the only thing that make Holly Hogan happy. She hates her foster family with their too-nice ways and their false sympathy. And she hates her life, her stupid school and the way everyone is always on at her. Then she finds the wig, and everything changes. Wearing the long, flowing blonde locks she feels transformed. She's not Holly any more, she's Solace: the girl with the slinkster walk and the super-sharp talk. She's older, more confident - the kind of girl who can walk right out of her humdrum life, hitch to Ireland and find her mum. The kind of girl who can face the world head on.

So begins a bittersweet, and sometimes hilarious journey as Solace swaggers and Holly tiptoes across England and through memory, discovering her true self, and unlocking the secrets of her past.

SOLACE OF THE ROAD is a wonderful novel from one of the UK's most talented new writers for teenagers. Holly's story will leave a lasting impression on all who travel with her. (Random House website)
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While running away from a London foster home just before her fifteenth birthday, Holly has ample time to consider her years of residential care and her early life with her Irish mother, whom she is now trying to reach.

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