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Infinite Satellite

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Solace of the Road - Siobhan Dowd This slim book takes a while to get through due to its slow pacing and lack of action.

Holly/Solace's voice is melodious and well-written, and through all of her reflections, the reader gains a good sense of her character. However, I didn't feel her character matched up well with the plot. She's a very tough-exterior, soft-interior kind of girl, and I felt like she seemed more the type of person who would have settled resentfully into her foster home, maybe gotten into some light trouble, and then gotten her act together, than the runaway type. Of course, in this case, running away didn't take much pluck. Solace is able to make ends meet for herself quite neatly. She finds plenty of helpful people who are willing to assist her in her travels, even a vegan trucker who comes up with an impromptu birthday cake for her. I felt she was in trouble when she went home with a guy from a nightclub, but she quickly got out of danger when he realized she was underage and kicked her out of his apartment. Basically, she has a much easier time of it than you'd expect a naive 14-year-old on the lam would. When the truth about Holly's sad past eventually comes out, it doesn't have the expected impact. Compared to the struggles depicted in books like Punkzilla, Holly had a fairly easy go of it. That's not to say that I think the harder-hitting books are better, but because they are so much harder-hitting, the shock value of tamer books like Solace of the Road is lost.

Finally, the ending wrapped up far too neatly and sweetly. I didn't exactly feel it was a happy one, though, because while Holly's foster family seemed nice enough, they were bland, cliched and undeveloped. I didn't believe for a second that they'd be able to handle her issues in the long run, and I felt Holly was going to have to watch herself very closely to keep from hurting these nice marshmallow parents the government handed her to.

Recommend to: Age 14+, girls