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.
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).
Readers will root for her to find her balance and arrive safely at the right destination. Ages 14–up.
Starred Review. 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. Ages 12+
School Library Journal
Starred Review. Readers will keenly feel Holly's hurt, rage, confusion, sorrow, humor, and hunger for a sense of home, a sense of peace.
The Guardian (UK)
Tenderly unrolled at a jaunty pace, Solace's journey is full of apparent risks, but she is resourceful and resilient and the travelling helps her to let go of some of the anger of her past and give a more positive sense of the future.
The Independent (UK)
Creating the characters Holly meets in just a few words, quickly conjuring up the urban scenery, expertly flitting between past and present, Siobhan Dowd meets every challenge with the authority of a born writer taken from us too soon.
The Times (UK)
This page-turner invests mundane experience and everyday language with the resonance of poetry ..... This, and the thought that there was no more of Dowd's work to read, brought a lump to the throat. Ages 12+.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by maria solace of the road I think Holly has a childish mind still wanting to be a kid but, yet she matures along the way she finds the real truth in life is the past and sometimes it's good to let go' so she goes on run away journey on a trip to find her long lost Mother.... Read More
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 good night."
Before she died she set up the Siobhan Dowd Trust to provide books and support for public and state school libraries in economically...
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