Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

Holly has finally had it. After years in foster care and a seemingly ill-fitting final placement she’s decided to run away to Ireland to reunite with her mother. A blond wig, some money, and a sexy new dress are all Holly needs to start her new life on the Road.

That sort of makes the book sound trite, which it isn’t in the least. Even though it is a wig that gives Holly the impetus to run way (when she puts it on she becomes Solace a brash, brave woman). This is a road trip book and so because of that does follow some of the same conventions. Holly meets a bevy of people who help her in a variety of ways which serve to help her on her personal journey. From a shop girl who gives her a sandwich, to a vegan truck driver who shows compassion, to a man with an eye-patch who picks her up at the bar. We aren’t short of characters that pop in and out of the narrative. My one worry was that something really bad was going to happen to Holly, because, well, Holly doesn’t always make the best decisions. Luckily, Holly gets out of scrapes and bad things that happen could always have been much worse (cue me sighing in relief).

Essentially, the closer Holly gets to her destination the more actual memories of her mother bubble up. From the beginning you can just tell that whatever happened was Not Good.

It is a dark novel, but I didn’t feel overpowered by sadness as I read. Even though I must admit I was scared it was all going to end very badly for Holly. Simply said, this was a beautifully written novel. I read it in one day, which is totally unusual for me lately. I could see this one being a Printz contender.

Book Source: Review Copy

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