Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman RubioIcy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Icy Sparks

byGwyn Hyman RubioRead byKate Miller

Audio Book (CD) | April 4, 2001

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An Oprah's Book Club selectionSet in Appalachia during the late 1950s, this acclaimed first novel chronicles a young girl's heartbreaking battle with Tourette's syndrome.Ten-year-old Icy Sparks already has one strike against her: She's an orphan. Life becomes even more difficult when Icy develops strange symptoms: violent tics, inexplicable convulsions, sudden outbursts, and uncontrollable cursing that accompany her rare neurological disorder. Her affliction goes undiagnosed until adulthood, but the all-too-visible signs are the source of endless mystery and hilarity as everyone around offers an opinion about what's troubling the girl. Eventually Icy finds solace in the company of Miss Emily, who knows what it's like to be an outcast in this tightly knit community.Narrated by a now-grown Icy, this novel shimmers with warmth and humor as it recounts a young girl's painful journey to womanhood. A funny, sad, and transcendent story, Icy Sparks introduces a fresh new Southern voice.
GWYN HYMAN RUBIO has been nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award and is 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.Kate Miller is a stage, film, television and voice-over actress. She is perhaps best known as the voice of "Debbie...
Title:Icy SparksFormat:Audio Book (CD)Dimensions:1 pages, 5.72 × 4.8 × 0.97 inPublished:April 4, 2001Publisher:Highbridge CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1565115139

ISBN - 13:9781565115132


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Icy Sparks Over the years I have read this book at least a dozen times. Each time I take something different away from it. I will probably read it a dozen more times.
Date published: 2017-07-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching Based on a character who is behaviorally disadvantaged, we see how hard life can sometimes be. Especially for the kid who is always picked on for being different. Narrated by a grown Icy Sparks, we learn of her journey for friendship, companionship and happiness. This novel will touch your heart to the very bottom.
Date published: 2010-03-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Cheesy with a capital C This book started off promising. I liked it immediately; but as it went on, it got ridiculous and very UNBELIEVABLE and I couldn't wait for it to just END. I was so bored of reading it. I didn't care about Icy or anyone she met along the way. It didn't deliver what it promised. I usually find Oprah's books to be exceptional..it's one of the things that drew me to this book...that and the interesting subject matter. But it was CHEESY if I may use that term and I was thoroughly disappointed.
Date published: 2007-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from captured the time period very well The book was laugh out loud funny in spots and cry to break your heart sad in others. I loved it, it captured the time period very well. I recommend it to everyone who asks about it. I have no frame of reference in my own life for Tourrette's but it seemed to capture it very well. It also captured the fact that there was no name for Tourette's during the time period that this book was written. Surprising book!
Date published: 2006-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very enjoyable I read this book for my grade 12 ISU, and I must admit that at first I couldn't get into it. But after about 100 pages I really started to enjoy it. The ending was also very satisfying and amazing. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good read! But just remember, it takes a couple chapters to get into it...;)
Date published: 2004-11-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unrealistic Because I am heavily involved in the field of mental health, I find that books the likes of Icy Sparks are often informative, while being enjoyable, and less like work. This, however, was a wavering disappointment. Perhaps the book would have been better if the author had done some research and realized that less than 2% of those with tourettes syndrome have audible ticks, or perhaps if she had known that, of this 2%, less than 4% slur curse words at random. However, I doubt, still, that this would have done much for the already faltering novel. I was also slightly put off by the religious implication at the end of the book. Not only did this seem out of place, but it appeared to be a quick, happy way to end an already meaningless novel. Perhaps the author ran out of ideas, perhaps she simply got bored of writing, either way, why subject faithful readers to such a mockery? Truly a dissappointment.
Date published: 2003-09-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Soulful The writer gives a description of the life of a little girl with terrets and what she has to go through on a daily basis. This story will warm your heart and soul. recommended
Date published: 2002-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Stays with you When I first saw this book, I was hesitant to buy it because of the Oprah's Choice label, usually given to such deeply bad books as She's Come Undone . After reading the first chapter, however, I was willing to take a gamble. I'm glad I did. The book reads easily and with feeling. The author seemed to struggle a bit with cliche and decidedly bad descriptions of going through puberty, but the rest of the book was brilliant and heartfelt. The story of a young, quirky, loveable little girl with a neurological illness is fresh and well-paced. I was reminded of Anne of Green Gables by the main character, Icy Sparks. I've read some reviews which call this book boring. Perhaps these people could make use of Ritalin for their attention spans. I'm often easily bored if books don't move along, for example I was a bit bored by Anne of Green Gables. And I read this book from beginning to end without being bored once. The story and the characters stay with you long after you have closed the book,
Date published: 2002-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Icy Sparks Gwyn Hyman Rubio takes the readers breath away with the vivacious, spirited and dynamic Icy Sparks. Icy Sparks is an amibitious young girl that faces Tourette's Syndrome a neurological disorder with courage and determination, a true survivor of ridicule and segregation. Icy Sparks is the new millenium's pure example of heroism.
Date published: 2001-05-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Icy Schmecks of boringness Oprah's certification used to mean to me that I could read the book and be guranteed a good read. I am always hoping for another "She's Come Undone" but was sorely dissapointed with this story. It's starts off smoothly, albeit slowly, and you become entranced with Icy and what will happen next, when nothing does you sit there at the last page and say "that's it?!" As an avid reader since the time I was 5, this book did not entertain me at all, nor did I find it at all insightful, it was plain and bland. The only reason I finished it is that I never start something and not finish it, a good rule for Ms. Rubio to learn as well.
Date published: 2001-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thankyou Within the first few pages of Icy Sparks I knew the author was talking about Tourettes Syndrome. She was descibing my son! The further I read about the difficulty Icy had coping with her condition and how she felt going through it, the more I began to realize how lucky we were. My son was diagnosed in the 1980's some 30 years later when this disorder had become more known. So many of Gwyn Hyman Rubio's descriptions were right on the money. I felt I was inside Icy's head and feeling what she was feeling. How cruel those around us can be. Thank you Ms. Rubio for opening the doors for others to understand this disorder. I applaude you as a parent of a Tourettes child.
Date published: 2001-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent!!! This simply told story is that of a complex set of characters... Well written and a great read... highly reccomended!!!
Date published: 2001-05-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Icy Blah! Overall, this book did not impress me. I found that the character portrayal of Icy was inconsistent throughout the novel. A 10-11 year old Icy used some very advanced, sometimes poetic analogies that most adults would not think of using. Then a few pages later she would be speaking like a hill-billy! I also found the ending very inconsistent with the rest of the novel and it did not give me any sense of closure. I think it is wonderful that the author has chosen to write about a disorder that requires more awareness in our society. However this particular story left much to be desired.
Date published: 2001-04-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Corageous Story Icy Sparks is a young girl inflicted with the scary, and often misunderstood disease of Tourettes Syndrome. The reader will follow Icy during the trials and transistions in her life, the tics, and uncontrollable cursing as she comes to terms with her disorder. The novel is set in the 1950's, an era that was not understanding nor tolerant to differences. Icy faced community and peer rejection in her small southern community. The rejection that Icy experiences is unforgettable and her strength over adversity is courageous. This novel will evoke many feelings inside the reader and it is likely a very good representation of the time and the response to differences. I appalued Gwyn Hyman Rubio for bringing the issue of Tourettes Syndrome to the forefront!
Date published: 2001-04-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Icy Sparks One quiet evening I sat inside this Chapters store and picked up the newly released copy of Oprah's most recent selection, I found the introductory pages to be rather interesting, and purchased the book. It's kind of a simple tale of the maturation years of a young girl being raised by her grandparents following the death of both of her natural parents. School days are particularily difficult as Icy seems to spark the worst in people, - and of herself. Eventually she is taken by the Principal's recommendation and support to an institution where Icy doesn't fit in very well. She is average and normal on most days which weighs heavily upon her as she fails to see why she has been brought to this "hospital". She never receives a diagnosis, but ends up being released. Abruptly we are brought to her return to her home where years have passed. We drift to a religious storyline which in no way follows the life and tale of the story, but it's there! Surprisingly enough we are at the end of the book and havn't had a chance to discover Icy's medical condition, nor her acceptance/denial thereof. I found this rather odd considering so much detail in the story is representative of behavioural condition, she obviously has. The ending clearly jumps around not really completing any thought process at all. I would certainly choose any number of others over this.
Date published: 2001-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Anything but Icy I frequently buy Oprah recommended novels. Some I have liked and some I have not. I liked this one. Icy is anything but...this is a lovely, simply written coming-of-age book about a young girl growing up in the 50s who goes through all the growing pains of the young but has an added element-Tourette's Syndrome. She's a warm, spirited girl lucky enough to have people who love her for herself. You will too. Find yourself a quiet spot, a comfy place, a pot of tea and this book. You'll enjoy it.
Date published: 2001-04-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Surprise surprise I'm so shocked, I just about dropped a load in my Dockers. Oprah has suggested a book about a young girl coming of age while facing adversity. I didn't see that one coming. Really, I didn't.
Date published: 2001-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I laughed and cried I really enjoyed reading this novel. Very descriptived in Icy's behavior that she displayed at her most stressful times. I had to laugh at some of the situations she found herself in but felt so badly for her also. I wished there had been more about her life in between birthdays. It sounds like all she did was study and walked in the woods. I loved her grandparents and their unconditional love they show'd her as they suffered just about as much as she did. I hope this author writes more books I look forward to reading them.
Date published: 2001-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Road Goes Both Ways I found this to be a very moving and yet simplistic story of a young girl growing up in Kentucky in the 50's. In spite of a serious health ailment which isn't readily diagnosed, Icy Sparks proves to be very strong and full of spirit. The writing is excellent and you feel all the emotions that Icy feels. I found once I started reading the book I could not put it down. It is a piece of writing that continually draws you back to it because you keep rooting for "Icy Sparks". I look forward to more books written by this author.
Date published: 2001-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Gem of many sorts I have always bypassed Oprah's recommended books based on two factors: the fact that most of the stories take place decades ago and they all seem to be too emotionally intense. This one, however caught my eye. Icy Sparks is unlike any book I have ever read - it is a simple yet detailed account of a sassy little girl who grows up with Tourettes' Syndrome. With the characters' personalities, the slang and the scenery, you really get swept up, up and away into the 50's... you feel as though you are right there through it all. Although this book deals with a serious epidemic, it is fairly lighthearted and humorous - just plain good reading. From now on, I will definately take a second look at Oprah's picks because this one is truly a gem.
Date published: 2001-03-15

Editorial Reviews

The diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome isn't mentioned until the last pages of Rubio's sensitive portrayal of a young girl with the disease. Instead, Rubio lets Icy Sparks tell her own story of growing up during the 1950s in a small Kentucky town where her uncontrollable outbursts make her an object of fright and scorn. "The Saturday after my [10th] birthday, the eye blinking and poppings began.... I could feel little invisible rubber bands fastened to my eyelids, pulled tight through my brain and attached to the back of my head," says Icy, who thinks of herself as the "frog child from Icy Creek." Orphaned and cared for by her loving grandparents, Icy weathers the taunts of a mean schoolteacher and, later, a crush on a boy that ends in disappointment. But she also finds real friendship with the enormously fat Miss Emily, who offers kindness and camaraderie. Rubio captures Icy's feelings of isolation and brings poignancy and drama to Icy's childhood experiences, to her temporary confinement in a mental institution and to her reluctant introduction?thanks to Miss Emily and Icy's grandmother?to the Pentecostal church through which she discovers her singing talent. If Rubio sometimes loses track of Icy's voice, indulges in unconvincing magical realism and takes unearned poetic license with the speech of her Appalachian grandparents ("'Your skin was as cold as fresh springwater, slippery and strangely soothing to touch'"), her first novel is remarkable for its often funny portrayal of a child's fears, loves and struggles with an affliction she doesn't know isn't her fault. Agent, Susan Golomb; editor, Jane von Mehren.