Icy Sparks

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Icy Sparks

by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Penguin Books | March 8, 2001 | Trade Paperback

3.4737 out of 5 rating. 19 Reviews
A New York Times Notable Book and the March 2001 selection of Oprah''s Book Club® !

Icy Sparks is the sad, funny and transcendent tale of a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950's. Gwyn Hyman Rubio's beautifully written first novel revolves around Icy Sparks, an unforgettable heroine in the tradition of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or Will Treed in Cold Sassy Tree. At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphaned as a baby but raised by adoring grandparents, begins to have strange experiences. Try as she might, her "secrets"-verbal croaks, groans, and physical spasms-keep afflicting her. As an adult, she will find out she has Tourette's Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, but for years her behavior is the source of mystery, confusion, and deep humiliation.

Narrated by a grown up Icy, the book chronicles a difficult, but ultimately hilarious and heartwarming journey, from her first spasms to her self-acceptance as a young woman. Curious about life beyond the hills, talented, and energetic, Icy learns to cut through all barriers-physical, mental, and spiritual-in order to find community and acceptance.

Along her journey, Icy faces the jeers of her classmates as well as the malevolence of her often-ignorant teachers-including Mrs. Stilton, one of the most evil fourth grade teachers ever created by a writer. Called willful by her teachers and "Frog Child" by her schoolmates, she is exiled from the schoolroom and sent to a children's asylum where it is hoped that the roots of her mysterious behavior can be discovered. Here Icy learns about difference-her own and those who are even more scarred than she. Yet, it isn't until Icy returns home that she really begins to flower, especially through her friendship with the eccentric and obese Miss Emily, who knows first-hand how it feels to be an outcast in this tightly knit Appalachian community. Under Miss Emily's tutelage, Icy learns about life's struggles and rewards, survives her first comical and heartbreaking misadventure with romance, discovers the healing power of her voice when she sings, and ultimately-takes her first steps back into the world.

Gwyn Hyman Rubio's Icy Sparks is a fresh, original, and completely redeeming novel about learning to overcome others' ignorance and celebrate the differences that make each of us unique.







Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 Pages, 4.72 × 7.48 × 0.79 in

Published: March 8, 2001

Publisher: Penguin Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0142000205

ISBN - 13: 9780142000205

Found in: Fiction and Literature
Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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– More About This Product –

Icy Sparks

Icy Sparks

by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 Pages, 4.72 × 7.48 × 0.79 in

Published: March 8, 2001

Publisher: Penguin Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0142000205

ISBN - 13: 9780142000205

Read from the Book

Chapter One On June tenth, I turned ten. The Saturday after my birthday, the eye blinking and popping began. We were eating breakfast. Matanni was sitting across from me; Patanni was at the head of the table. To this day, I can remember my first urge--so intense it was, like an itch needing to be scratched. I could feel little invisible rubber bands fastened to my eyelids, pulled tight through my brain, and attached to the back of my head. Every few seconds, a crank behind my skull turned slowly. With each turn, the rubber bands yanked harder, and the space inside my head grew smaller. My grandmother was studying me, making sure my face had been washed, my hair combed and fastened on each side with the blue barrettes she had bought me for my birthday. While Matanni studied me, I stared straight ahead and glued my eyes, growing tighter with each second, on the brown fuzz above her lip. "Icy," she said, sipping her coffee, "what are you staring at?" "Them hairs above your lip," I blurted, extending my arm and pointing at her face. "They''re turning gray," I said, jiggling my arm at her nose, "right there." Patanni, spooning sugar over his oatmeal, snatched up his head and turned toward me. "Calling attention to a person''s weakness ain''t nice," he said. "B-but Patanni ..." I stammered, aware only of the pressure squeezing my head and the space inside it constricting. My grandfather laid his spoon beside his bowl. "Apologize, Icy," he demanded. "Tell Matanni you''re sorry." "Bu
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From the Publisher

A New York Times Notable Book and the March 2001 selection of Oprah''s Book Club® !

Icy Sparks is the sad, funny and transcendent tale of a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950's. Gwyn Hyman Rubio's beautifully written first novel revolves around Icy Sparks, an unforgettable heroine in the tradition of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or Will Treed in Cold Sassy Tree. At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphaned as a baby but raised by adoring grandparents, begins to have strange experiences. Try as she might, her "secrets"-verbal croaks, groans, and physical spasms-keep afflicting her. As an adult, she will find out she has Tourette's Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, but for years her behavior is the source of mystery, confusion, and deep humiliation.

Narrated by a grown up Icy, the book chronicles a difficult, but ultimately hilarious and heartwarming journey, from her first spasms to her self-acceptance as a young woman. Curious about life beyond the hills, talented, and energetic, Icy learns to cut through all barriers-physical, mental, and spiritual-in order to find community and acceptance.

Along her journey, Icy faces the jeers of her classmates as well as the malevolence of her often-ignorant teachers-including Mrs. Stilton, one of the most evil fourth grade teachers ever created by a writer. Called willful by her teachers and "Frog Child" by her schoolmates, she is exiled from the schoolroom and sent to a children's asylum where it is hoped that the roots of her mysterious behavior can be discovered. Here Icy learns about difference-her own and those who are even more scarred than she. Yet, it isn't until Icy returns home that she really begins to flower, especially through her friendship with the eccentric and obese Miss Emily, who knows first-hand how it feels to be an outcast in this tightly knit Appalachian community. Under Miss Emily's tutelage, Icy learns about life's struggles and rewards, survives her first comical and heartbreaking misadventure with romance, discovers the healing power of her voice when she sings, and ultimately-takes her first steps back into the world.

Gwyn Hyman Rubio's Icy Sparks is a fresh, original, and completely redeeming novel about learning to overcome others' ignorance and celebrate the differences that make each of us unique.







From the Jacket

A New York Times Notable Book and the March 2001 selection of Oprah's Book Club® !

Icy Sparks is the sad, funny and transcendent tale of a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950's. Gwyn Hyman Rubio's beautifully written first novel revolves around Icy Sparks, an unforgettable heroine in the tradition of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or Will Treed in Cold Sassy Tree. At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphaned as a baby but raised by adoring grandparents, begins to have strange experiences. Try as she might, her "secrets"-verbal croaks, groans, and physical spasms-keep afflicting her. As an adult, she will find out she has Tourette's Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, but for years her behavior is the source of mystery, confusion, and deep humiliation.

Narrated by a grown up Icy, the book chronicles a difficult, but ultimately hilarious and heartwarming journey, from her first spasms to her self-acceptance as a young woman. Curious about life beyond the hills, talented, and energetic, Icy learns to cut through all barriers-physical, mental, and spiritual-in order to find community and acceptance.

Along her journey, Icy faces the jeers of her classmates as well as the malevolence of her often-ignorant teachers-including Mrs. Stilton, one of the most evil fourth grade teachers ever created by a writer. Called willful by her teachers and "Frog Child" by her schoolmates, she is exiled from the schoolroom and sent to a children's asylum where it is hoped that the roots of her mysterious behavior can be discovered. Here Icy learns about difference-her own and those who are even more scarred than she. Yet, it isn't until Icy returns home that she really begins to flower, especially through her friendship with the eccentric and obese Miss Emily, who knows first-hand how it feels to be an outcast in this tightly knit Appalachian community. Under Miss Emily's tutelage, Icy learns about life's struggles and rewards, survives her first comical and heartbreaking misadventure with romance, discovers the healing power of her voice when she sings, and ultimately-takes her first steps back into the world.

Gwyn Hyman Rubio's Icy Sparks is a fresh, original, and completely redeeming novel about learning to overcome others' ignorance and celebrate the differences that make each of us unique.

About the Author

Gwyn Hyman Rubio has been nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award and anthologized in Above Ground: Stories About Life and Death by New Southern Writers. She is also a winner of the Cecil Hackney Award as well as a recipient of grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

From Our Editors

Life is hard enough for an orphan living in 1950's rural Kentucky without the added burden of having an undiagnosed condition that causes facial ticks and uncontrollable swearing. Gwyn Hyman Rubio's touching novel recounts the life of Icy Sparks as she finds comfort with the community's outcast and makes the difficult journey from adolescence to womanhood.

Editorial Reviews

"Vivid and unforgettable...brimming with love and hope." -- The New York Times Book Review " Gwyn Hyman Rubio ''s plucky, imperfect heroine Icy Sparks throws herself into life with a ferocity that cannot be denied." -- The San Diego Union Tribune “What a grand person Icy Sparks is! What a wonderful book her story makes! The pages of this novel almost turn themselves as the narrative glides gracefully from sorrow to sorrow, from joy to joy. Gwyn Hyman Rubio is a marvelous writer. Too grateful to envy, I admire and applaud her triumph and hope that everyone will share it with me.” -- Fred Chappell , author of Moments of Light “Icy Sparks speaks to us in an entirely new voice, painfully wise and wonderfully peculiar. In her original first novel, Gwyn Rudio makes us see that the tics and noises her remarkable heroine can’t suppress are the pure expressions of a brave and lively spirit.” -- Francine Prose , author of Hunters and Gathers “Gwyn Hyman Rubio twists together her dark and comic visions to create a world so marvelous and strange that it takes one’s breath. Her subject is the entanglements or order and disorder in a rural Kentucky setting of the 1950’s, and she turns them upside down in a way that challenges our own definitions of where and how we live. She is an extraordinary writer.” -- Stephen Dobyns , author of The Church of the Dead Girls “Icy Sparks is a work of imagination, about being different in a world
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Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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