Solace of the Road (Hardcover)

By Siobhan Dowd

David Fickling Books, 9780375849718, 272pp.

Publication Date: October 13, 2009

Winter 2009 Kids' List

“In Solace of the Road, Siobhan Dowd uses a shifting chronology to tell the story of Holly, a 14-year-old runaway girl who is angry at everyone. Using a blond wig she has stolen from her foster mother, she creates a new persona -- Solace, an older, braver, wilder version of herself -- as she searches for the mother who abandoned her. The novel deals with Holly's search in an unsentimental, authentic manner -- a solid story told in Dowd's seemingly effortlessly fresh language.”
— Kat Goddard, The Bookloft, Great Barrington, MA
View the List


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.

About the Author

Siobhan Dowd lived in Oxford with her husband, Geoff, before tragically dying from cancer in August 2007, aged 47. She was both an extraordinary writer and an extraordinary person. Her first novel, "A Swift Pure Cry, "was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her second novel, "The London Eye Mystery," received five starred reviews.

Praise For Solace of the Road

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2009:
"A last gift from Dowd."

Starred Review, Booklist, October 1, 2009:
"With rare, raw honesty, Dowd writes about the legacy of abandonment, memory's comforting tricks, and the painful, believable ways that love heals."