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.
Solace of the Road
In the darkness, I was falling backwards to where Id started my journey. The road Id taken disappeared from under my feet, the mountains and castles and hills and tarmac crumbled and I was at the beginning again, back to how I left the Home. And that was down to Miko.
Miko, I said out loud. Miko? Whereve you gone? And there he was, in my mind, smiling at me. Tall as a door, with a mean whisper of hair. He was looking down at me from the top of a hill, his guitar slung over his back. Hurry, hurry, Holly Hogan, he sang. It was the tune he made up for me, the time we all went to Devon. Before the road disappears beneath your feet. Then he shook his head and turned away and vanished.
Miko was my key worker at Templeton House. That meant I was his special concern. His name was short for Michael and pronounced My-co. He had a unicorn tattoo on his forearm and he could juggle anything: slices of toast, a jam jar and a ...
For a teen reader, this is the perfect road trip novel. What teen has not contemplated running away to live life on her own terms? ...Amid the gritty reality of modern life, child abuse, drug habits and lockdown as a disciplinary tool, Solace rises into a dream state where the magic charms of her wig and her Mam lead her ever closer to her goal.
(Reviewed by Judy Krueger).
Full Review (758 words).
Siobhan Dowd (pronounced Shivorn) was named one of the "top 100 Irish-Americans" for her global anti-censorship work with the writers' organization Dowd also co-founded the English PENs readers and writers program, which brings authors into underprivileged schools, prisons young offender institutions and community projects.
Her first book for young readers, A Swift Pure Cry, was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and the BookTrust Teenage Prize. She is also the author of The London Eye Mystery (2007), and Bog Child (2008).
Siobhan died on August 21, 2007, at the age of 47. She had been receiving treatment for advanced breast cancer for 3 years and, according to her website, "did not go gentle into that...
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