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Solace of the Road

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  1,201 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 5th 2009 by David Fickling Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Sep 12, 2016 Catie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
3 1/2 stars

This book is beautifully written, emotionally honest, and kept me riveted through many hot, humid, should-have-been-unbearable walks. I loved so many things about it and I would recommend it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately I think this is just one of those cases of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

This is a very quiet, understated story that is nonetheless powerful. Holly is a “care-babe” – raised in the foster care system in England ever since she and her mam got separated when she was very yo
"Your name's made out of cloud, Holly."

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Ms Dowd’s books sure do play havoc on my body clock. 3am. 3AM!

High Points.
Holly. Slace. Blonde wigs. Thule. Fiona. Vegan truckers. Grace. Trim. Rosabel. Slim-slam glamour girls. Mogits. The Titanic. “Walking out into a night sky, thumb out and fag in hand”. Ferries. Wales. Curry and chips. Araf. The kind of days that pull you out to play. Nameless boys on motorbikes. Miracles. Scenic routes. Baby Guiness. Strawberry birthday ca
4.5 stars
“I was in the middle of a field in Wales with a storm growling in the sky and the cops after me. And all I had to help was a thieving glamour girl who only existed inside my own cracked head.”
Having seen many fall into clichéd or melodramatic territory, I tend to be wary of books with plotlines that centre around a character taking a (literal) journey of self-discovery. The usual formula (teen has issues, teen hits road, teen has quirky interludes, teen has epiphany – all set to a ve
Cross-posted with my tumblr.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if all the YA heroes and heroines got together to discuss the times they saved the world?

Jace&Clary: "We stopped our dad from starting a demon apocalypse and then got together."

Edward&Bella: "We stopped a vampire war after we made a demon baby parasite."

Bethany&Xavier: "We tripled the visits to our local church!"

Everyone else: *blank stare* "Dude, that is so lame."

Seriously, our reality has been put in danger so man
May 07, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now, when I was researching possible books for my travel month (I say month, but I realise this month is over-running somewhat. Let's pretend no one else has noticed), I soon cottoned onto the fact that finding a comprehensive list of YA travel fiction was going to be a pretty tough task. But I do not give up easily, oh no. I managed to track down a list of road trip-themed YA on Goodreads (close enough), but was slightly disappointed to find most of these were set in the good old US of A. Not t ...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Solace of the Road is not a plot heavy book. It's a character driven story where the reader uncovers the history of 14-year-old Holly Hogan. It starts when Holly receives a foster placement after living most of her life in a care home. She doesn't really want a new home or new parents, and she constantly complains about her foster parents Fiona and Ray. All she wants is to go back home to Ireland and the mother she left behind.

During an argument between Fiona and Ray, something snaps in Holly. A
May 26, 2012 Isamlq rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

And I was Solace. Solace of the road, walking into a night sky, thumb out and fag in hand…

There’s both a literal and figurative journey in this one for a girl who takes on a personality so different from her own. Holly, her story is sad but not completely tragic. Sad because she’s in foster care and does all these stupid things, but not completely tragic because not once does she get bogged down by what she doesn’t have. She’s always looking forward and thinking about how to get where she
May 04, 2016 Felicity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because I'd always wanted to read some Siobhan Dowd and the fact that any proceeds go to a charity to provide disadvantaged children with books also encouraged me to buy it.

Holly has been in care for a while and finally gets a new placement. The problem is she still can't stop thinking about her mum and finding her. So she decides to run away and name herself Solace.

This book started slow at first but became more engaging. Holly was a very interesting and well drawn character
Dec 02, 2009 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This posthumously published novel of a British author is a tale framed by the event of 15-year-old Holly being locked in the car of a couple she doesn't know who are making the crossing of the Irish Sea from Wales to Ireland. Why and how she is in that car and on that ferry and trying to make that journey is what the book is about. She wants to find her Irish mother, lost to her for almost ten years in the scuffle of a domestic dispute with a good-for-nothing boyfriend. The journey away from her ...more
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
This review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies

Oh man. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd was such an emotional roller coaster. Why has it taken me so long to pick up another book by this amazing author?! Siobhan Dowd writes so beautifully and with such emotion. I am in awe of her and also hugely saddened that she is no longer with us.

Last year I read A Swift Pure Cry and almost didn't have the words to describe the feelings that I felt when reading and because of that, I put off
Jan 28, 2012 Caitriona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenage-years
This was the first book I read of Siobhan's, and as soon as I finished it all I could think was "I HAVE TO READ MORE!". But then I found out that she'd died of cancer, and had only written four books, and I was sad. She was a true writing talent, and 'Solace' is one of my all-time favourite books.
I love Holly Hogan. Even though self-described 'bad girls' in books get on my wick pretty quickly, you could see Holly's vulnerability and true kind-heartedness a mile away. All she wanted was to get ba
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

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 fin
Oct 11, 2009 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I’m not sure how to approach this review. I’m sad because, to my knowledge, this is Siobhan Dowd’s last book. Both Bog Child and Solace of the Road have been published posthumously, and I feel that although I still have a few books of hers to read that were published prior to these two, I am already internally mourning over the loss of such a great writer.

Dowd seems always able to find the perfect balance between telling the character’s story in an engaging way and bringing the reader
Sep 11, 2011 Marleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holly Hogan is nearly 15 years old and fed up with her life. After spending years in care she is now living with foster parents who she assumes don’t really care for her.
When she finds a blond wig she hides it and on the day before her 15th birthday she puts on the wig, applies some lipstick and runs away.
She’s transformed herself into Solace, a 17 year old beauty with slim-slam hips who knows what she wants and has the courage to go and get it. As Solace, Holly is determined to make her way fro
Robin Stevens
May 09, 2016 Robin Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful, vividly-written window into the life of a girl in care that's also an ode to Oxford and a beautiful road-trip novel about the kindness of strangers. Absolutely fantastic start to finish.

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
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 bi ...more
Nov 08, 2014 Ilse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own

Holly woont in een pleeggezin bij Fiona en Ray. Het is al het zoveelste pleeggezin waarin ze terechtkomt en eigenlijk is ze er nu wel klaar mee. Dan wil ze liever bij haar beste vrienden, Grace en Trim blijven, die nog in Templeton House wonen. Ze wil niet in een gezin met vreemde HOZA’s. (Want dat is waarmee de wereld vol zit volgens Holly, met Hopeloze Oude Zakken.) Maar wat Holly het allerliefste wil, is terug naar Ierland. Naar haar moeder.

Lees de hele recensie op
Dec 05, 2014 NebraskaIcebergs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Solace of the Road is the second novel I’ve read by Irish author, Siobhan Dowd. In telling the story of a foster kid, Dowd in many way ways treads on familiar ground. At the same time, Dowd has incorporated enough twists to make this a memorable story. She has also created an original character, for whom we deeply feel.

Fourteen-year-old Holly is in foster care. Daily she thinks of running away. Miles away in Ireland is her mom, the perfect guardian. Through no fault of either of them, the two go
Holly Hogan was a young girl when her mother abandoned her in their London apartment and she has been in the care of social services ever since, mostly living in group homes. At 14, Holly was offered a foster home placement, but things don't go well there. Holly wants to find her mother, who she believes is in Ireland. She puts on a blonde wig, takes on a new persona - Solace - and hits the road.

This seemed like just another YA problem novel when I started reading it, but I persevered because th
I thought this book was really good as it was a worthwhile read.This book was gripping from start to finish. This book was about a girl named Holly Hogan who was in a children's home where she was cared for and had lots of friends. She was in and out of care a lot but just couldn't seem to find the right the right fit she either got really mean people or people with children, which she hated because they always sided with the children.Holly Hogan knows that she can't stay at the home for much lo ...more
Keith  Blodgett
Oct 13, 2016 Keith Blodgett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the author
I struggled with this one, I truly did. I think the hardest part was I just didn't like Holly. I understand she's had a troubled youth, we find out just how bad towards the end of the book. But I didn't like her. She constantly lied and often for no reason at all. The person she became, Solace, after finding a wig in her foster care family's house was an even worse person. I've read stories about the American foster care and adoption system and from what I've read in this book the Brits have thi ...more
Sep 16, 2016 Abigail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why would you leave your rich adopted family? Just when she thought this would be a good place to stay and to grown with the family everything go opposite. The girl named Holly has gotten in trouble and now has been living in an orphanage for a while now. She has recently gotten adopted by the Aldridge's. Holly was not excited to leave the Templeton house at all. She stays with them on the weekends for now. In the next couple of weeks she will move in with them. Fiona the lady that had adopted h ...more
Daisy Beth
Jul 02, 2014 Daisy Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The saddest, funniest, sharpest mix of Maximum Ride and Tracy Beaker, Solace of the Road is a stunningly well-written book by one of my top favourite authors, Siobhan Dowd. This novel, set mainly in London, tells the story of Holly, a fourteen-year -old girl who has spent most of her life in care. She dreams of escape, of travelling to Ireland- where she's sure her mother will be waiting for her with open arms.
The most heartbreaking thing about Holly's story is that we know, from flashes of Hol
Nov 07, 2010 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ...not really sure...
The character just didn't capture me. There was no emotional investment. What, oh, she's going to screw up her life, well too bad, la de da.

Hmmm, come to think of it, this may say more about MY state of mind than the author's ability to write...
Aug 09, 2010 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Claire by: Lisa
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 righ ...more
Apr 12, 2010 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solace of the Road is a bitter-sweet story about Holly Hogan, a fourteen year old girl who has been living in a residential care home. She has locked away much of her past in her mind and has a very childlike fantastist way of interpreting the world. Many of the things that Holly thinks she wants are false and an illusion. It is her dream of finding her mother and returning to Ireland that spurs her to adopt the role of Solace. Whereas Holly is a girl who is restrained by her life as a care-babe ...more
Jan 07, 2011 Timmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started to read this novel on Thursday morning; I wish I had begun sooner. The book kept me awake and enthralled most of the time! If I did not have to work, sleep, and eat, I would have spent my whole time reading this book.

When I first read the synopsis on the book, I thought it would be an average, okay book. Since these were my first thoughts on the book, I picked one other book from the YALSA list in case it was a flop. Luckily, it was very tantalizing.

The book was a very quick read. Th
Nov 16, 2009 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Siobhan Dowd is one of my new favorite authors ("London Eye Mystery" and "Bog Child"). Sadly, her death from breast cancer limits what is available to read by her. I still need to read "A Swift Pure Cry."

"Solace of the Road" is a dark, sad, complex book for patient readers. As with her other books, patience yields great rewards! In "Solace of the Road," 14 year old Holly Hogan is a part of the foster care system. At the beginning of the book, she is in a group home and has been offered a placem
Shellie Rich
I think that Dowd had an amazing gift in voice and I would have loved to see how she developed the rest of her talents. She did a better job of building characters in this book than she did in Bog Child; Holly was such a nuanced girl - tough but with such innocence, too. Maybe that is a little cliched, but I think its accurate for a lot of kids who have grown up in less ideal circumstances.
One thing that was weird about this book, though, was that sort of spent half of the book waiting for a sh
Mar 14, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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Siobhan Dowd was born to Irish parents and brought up in London. She spent much of her youth visiting the family cottage in Aglish, County Waterford and later the family home in Wicklow Town.
She attended a Catholic grammar school in south London and then gained a degree in Classics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. After a short stint in publishing, she joined the writer's organization PEN
More about Siobhan Dowd...

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“And drawers started opening in my brain, drawers I hadn't opened in years, and I was slamming them shut again but bits of memory kept coming, a voice here, a scream there.” 1 likes
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