I have a soft spot for author Siobhan Dowd. First of all, she's Irish, and that right there is about the best thing you can be in my book. Reading books that are set in Ireland and revolve around Irish characters is awesome for me because I've been to many of the places to which they refer. I've been to Ireland three times, and spent 16 days driving around the country on my last visit. Some of my family is originally from Ireland, but I don't personally know anyone currently living in the country; it's just always been a special part of who I am. The other reason that I have a soft spot for Ms. Dowd is because I read about her death right as I was finishing reading her first teen novel. I can't say that her books are my favorite, but I can say that I would never tire of reading her words, and she's an author to respect and appreciate.
Holly Hogan hates being at Templeton House, a place for kids without families. But she soon discovers that she's not a fan of living in a "real home" with Ray and Fiona Aldridge in London either. The home she does like is the one with her Mam in Ireland, so she's on a mission to get back there, convinced she'll be able to find her mother and live happily ever after. Of course, no one can know that she's running away or she'll be put back in isolation at the Home. So, with a blonde wig she finds at Fiona's, she becomes Solace and she sets out on the road.
Nothing is quite as it seems in Holly's world, and being Solace makes her stronger and smarter and more confident, but never for long. Over the course of her travels, she meets a variety of strangers, and she discovers the truth about her Mam and herself. This is a true coming-of-age story, and while the ending is happy, it is also real in a way that allows readers to respect the struggles and pain that sometimes propels us to get to the end of the road.
Recommended to all readers, notably those who like adventure with a touch of melancholy.
Call number: YA DOWD
reviewed by kate the librarian
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