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Solace of the Road

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,428 ratings  ·  201 reviews
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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by David Fickling Books
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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,428 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. S♥lace. 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 c
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it

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
Fox Lake District Library
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, sad
This has honestly 100% been on my "To Read" shelf here on Goodreads for nine years. Siobhan Dowd tragically passed away in 2007. This was one of two novels she had completed at the time of her death, and was published posthumously.

Sadly this is my final Siobhan Dowd book, as I've read all her other novels. I put it off for so long, because I knew there wouldn't be anymore after this. Like her others, it's about a young person going through a terrible time in her life, uncovering truths about he
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Solace of the Road was an o.k. read. It wasn't one that drew me in, cover to cover, in one sitting.

I wonder if Siobhan wrote this based on someone she knew. I think it is hard to capture and write a fiction novel on a kid in foster care, if you haven't exactly had a similar experience. Like, I can see what she was trying to do, but it wasn't quite... there.

Anyway, I wasn't sure if Siobhan wanted us to think Solace was a bad-ass, or if Solace wanted us to view her as a bad-ass... if that makes se
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
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sep 11, 2011 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
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
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
Robin Stevens
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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!*
Jan 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
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...
Isabella Mancini
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The book Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd, to say the least, was an interesting book. The plot and main character, Holly Hogan, took some unexpected turns as a young teen that made the book seem inappropriate for a younger audience. This book was about the travels of a teen who was 14 and then 15. However, she acted as a 17 year old with the help of a wig. She longed to reach Ireland to be back with her mother, but she was stuck at a residential home. So, she ran away and had to go through som ...more
Katy Kurtzner
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Solace of the Road by Siobhan Down is an intriguing book centered around 14 year old Holly Hogan and her journey to find her mam. Holly is a child who grew up in a home for children who did not have parents. Her entire life she has grown up with key workers and social workers. She has felt that she was removed from her mam at a young age against her wishes and hates living with social workers. When she is placed with a foster family, her rebel life allows her to feel out of place and she does no

Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had to return the book on June 13 because I was going to my daughter's graduation and then to visit my mom for 2 weeks. Requested the book from the library and picked it up on7/14.

Dowd was such a gifted writer. I am sad that there are no more books to be written by her.

Holly is a teen in the foster system. She gets placed in a home with Fiona and Ray. The book starts when Holly is running away. The story is told in flashback style.

Holly is trying to go to Ireland to reunite with her mum. We f
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Devastating exploration of a young vulnerable foster girl. Solace's thoughts and actions ping-pong back and forth in an excellent reinvention of the fight-or-flight brain activity of a child that grows up in a dangerous environment. While this book is not a page turner per se, we do learn important things about Solace as the story develops and I knew I was going to stick with it because I had to find out what would happen to this young girl.
Joe Kessler
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A heartbreaking little novel about a troubled girl who runs away from her foster home, donning a wig and creating a brave new identity for herself as she attempts to travel across England and find her mother in Ireland. With her past trauma gradually coming to light (and readers worrying about all the dangers that the teenaged heroine only sporadically picks up on), it's overall a rather bittersweet journey.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
well-written; author captures the emotions and angst of 15-year-old "Solace." Had just finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and it was somewhat reminiscent of that book; similar theme. A satisfying ending.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book. Liked the storyline but had a surprising end.
I enjoyed this, but I thought it played down the dangers of running away from home.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this Siobhan Dowd novel - so full of everything relatable and an amazing plotline - from Holly Hogan, to Solace, Mammy and Denny Boy and all the others inbetween. Superb.
Ashlee Marie
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cutthroat-2018
Reminded me a bit of "Ginny Moon." A great story of a child in the foster system deciding which path her life should take.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about a young girl coming of age and dealing with her mother. Set in England.
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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
“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.” 2 likes
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