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Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

title: Solace of the Road
written by: Siobhan Dowd
genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
pages: 272
publication date: October 13th, 2009
publisher: David Fickling Books

Holly’s story will leave a lasting impression on all who travel with her.

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 blond locks she feels transformed. She’s not Holly anymore, she’s Solace: the girl with the slinkster walk and the supersharp 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.

Sometimes, as a reader, I just randomly pick up a book by an author I have never heard about before, and it is so good that the experience of reading it is life-changing. Solace of the Road was one of those books, and I am incredibly saddened by the fact that Siobhan Dowd will never write a single word again, no more masterpieces written by her I will be able to look forward to in the future.

Holly Hogan is forced to go into foster care by the government. She just wants to live with her mom in Ireland. She doesn't want other parents, doesn't want to live in England, doesn't like life, and wants to just be happy again. And a wig gives her the oppotunity to be someone else. Someone fashionable, the girl she always wanted to be. She calls her new self Solace, after a jumping horse she and her mother always bet on back when they lived together. Then Holly decides she wants to go back to her own family. She takes her wig and stuff, and starts her journey to the wonderful green fields of Ireland.

I really liked Holly. She wants to be someone else, just like about every teenager, and does that by wearing a wig, behaving like someone else and being who she wants to be. She is a great actress, and she plays her part perfectly. The book starts of with Holly on a pont to Ireland, trapped in someone else's car, so you already know that somehow she's going to be able to go all the way to Ireland. But how is she going to do that. What is going to happen to her? Who is she going to meet? And most important of them all, how will she be influenced by her journey?

The plot has many twists that were sometimes very unexpected, which I really liked. Some new characters that were introduced really fascinated me. Then there was the psychological aspect of this book. Holly had her anger issues. She had to control them. Also, she had normal teenager issues. She was looking for her real self, and for the place where she belonged. The author did a great job describing Holly's journey to her happiness, and I think that is what I liked best about this book.

This is not a paranormal romance book, neither is it urban fantasy, or any other genre that I most often read. But still, this book belongs to my all-time favorites. I will read all Siobhan Dowd's other books she has published. I am also really looking forward to Patrick Ness's 'A monster calls', which was based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd.

Solace of the Road is a book written for all audiences. It is a book I'd recommend to everyone my age and older, to my friends, my mom, and everyone who just loves books. I give this book 5 stars and if it were possible I'd give it many more.


In memory of Siobhan Dowd In September 2004, Dowd was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. In spite of this, she continued to write prolifically. Siobhan died in August 2007, aged 47. In the very last days before she died, Siobhan set up the Siobhan Dowd Trust. It was the final act of someone who had spent so much of her life working on behalf of others.

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