Solace of the Road

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Title: Solace of the Road

Author: Siobhan Dowd

Summary: Holly has lived for the past seven years as a ‘care babe,’ in group homes and foster placements in England. When she moves in with a new set of potential foster parents right before her 15th birthday, all she can think about is running and finding her way back to where she was born, and where she knows that her mother is waiting for her: Ireland. One day when she is snooping in the new house, she finds a blond wig. When she puts it on, she is transformed from sad, lonely Holly into the free-spirited, wild girl she names Solace.

Becoming Solace is all the motivation Holly needs to make the break. Soon, armed with only a bit of money and a road map from London to the western coast, she is on her way. During her long, dangerous journey, she is forced to come to terms with the real nature of her mother’s disappearance.

Who will like this book?: This outstanding book is perfect for girls who feel like they are older than their years, fans of realistic fiction, and readers who enjoy stories about the lives of people in difficult family situations.

If you like this, try this: This, quite sadly, is the final book written by the late Siobhan Dowd. She was a masterful storyteller, and her previous books are highly recommended: The London Eye Mystery for middle grade readers, Bog Child, and  A Swift Pure Cry for mature readers.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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The King’s Rose

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Title: The King’s Rose

Author: Alisa M. Libby

Summary: It is not until she is sent back to Lambeth Palace, her childhood home, that Catherine Howard is informed of her impending future: she will be King Henry’s fifth wife just as soon as he can have his disastrous marriage to Anne of Cleves annulled. Even though she is just 15, Catherine has been well-coached in her duties – she must keep her royal husband’s focus on herself, and provide the old and ailing king with a male heir. While Henry lavishes his young wife with gifts, Catherine is haunted – not only by the memories of queens past (including her cunning cousin Anne Boleyn), but by her own dangerous past.

This fast-paced historical chronicles the life of the least-famous of Henry’s wives. It doesn’t shy away from describing the lengths Catherine went to in order to get pregnant, making this a book for mature readers. If you are in the market for a summer read, this is a book that will sweep you to a Tudor court full of intrigue, scandal, and romance.

 Who will like this book?: Mature teens who like historical fiction, particularly royal historicals and ‘princess’ books. Fans of doomed romance.

If you like this, try this: Another great choice for mature readers is The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. Younger readers might want to start with the Tudor books of Carolyn Meyer: Doomed Queen Anne (Anne Boleyn) and Beware, Princess Elizabeth (Elizabeth I), or Nine Days a Queen (Lady Jane Grey) by Ann Rinaldi.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Never Let Me Go

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Title: Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Summary: Set in a not-too-distant future England, students at Halisham live a typical boarding-school life: classes and friendships, romances and secrets. They are aware of the wider world around them, yet they are kept separate from it. The kids at Halisham already know their role in the future.

The students are clones, their sole purpose on the planet is to one day donate their organs to people until they are no longer viable. But when you can feel love, fear and rejection, can you truly be called something less than human? This is a powerful yet subtle book about memory and what it means to be alive.

Who will like this book?: People who like their stories with just a touch of fantasy (or just a touch of horror, depending on how you feel about clones.) If you like books that don’t spell it all out for you, but force you to come to your own conclusions, this is a good choice.

If you like this, try this: House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian