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Icy Sparks

Icy Sparks

(1998)
A novel by

 
Awards
Oprah's Book Club Best Book (nominee)
The eponymous heroine of Gwyn Rubio's Icy Sparks is only 10 years old the first time it happens. The sudden itching, the pressure squeezing her skull, and the "little invisible rubber bands" attached to her eyelids are all symptoms of Tourette's syndrome. At this point, of course, Icy doesn't yet have a name for these unsettling impulses. But whenever they become too much to resist, she runs down to her grandparents' root cellar, and there she gives in, croaking, jerking, cursing, and popping her eyes. Nicknamed the "frog child" by her classmates, Icy soon becomes "a little girl who had to keep all of her compulsions inside." Only a brief confinement at the Bluegrass State Hospital persuades her that there are actually children more "different" than she.

As a first novel about growing up poor, orphaned, and prone to fits in a small Appalachian town, Icy Sparks tells a fascinating story. By the time the epilogue rolls around, Icy has prevailed over her disorder and become a therapist: "Children silent as stone sing for me. Children who cannot speak create music for me." For readers familiar with this particular brand of coming-of-age novel--affliction fiction?--Icy's triumph should come as no great surprise. That's one problem. Another is Rubio's tendency to lapse into overheated prose: this is a novel in which the characters would sooner yell, pout, whine, moan, or sass a sentence than simply say it. But the real drawback to Icy Sparks is that some of the characters--especially the bad ones--are drawn with very broad strokes indeed, and the moral principles tend to be equally elementary: embrace your difference, none of us is alone, and so on. When Icy gets saved at a tent revival, even Jesus takes on the accents of a self-help guru: "You must love yourself!" With insights like these, this is one Southern novel that's more Wally Lamb than Harper Lee. --Mary ParkIn the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Cape Ann, a funny, sad, wise, and redeeming first novel about a young girl's battle with a troubling affliction. Rural Kentucky in the 1950s is not an easy place to grow up in, and it's especially hard for 10-year-old Icy Sparks, an orphan who lives with her grandparents. Life becomes even more difficult for Icy when the violent tics and uncontrollable cursing begin. Icy's adolescence is marred by the humiliation brought on by her mysterious condition, and its all-too-visible symptoms are the source of endless hilarity as everyone around her offers an opinion about what's troubling the girl. Eventually, Icy finds solace in the company of an obese woman who knows what it's like to be an outcast in this tightly knit Appalachian community. Narrated by a now-grown Icy, this first novel shimmers with warmth and humor as it recounts a young girl's painful and poignant journey to womanhood--and the many lives she touches and enriches along the way.

--Icy Sparks was a New York Times Editor's Choice

"Awesomely intelligent . . . Robinson's accurate but unstuffy writing has done much to popularize wine and make it accessible to new drinkers." --The Guardian (London)

 
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Used availability for Gwyn Hyman Rubio's Icy Sparks


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

April 2004 : USA Turtleback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-606-30503-3 / 978-0-606-30503-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

November 2001 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club) (Thorndike Core)
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-7838-9509-7 / 978-0-7838-9509-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

March 2001 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-670-03049-X / 978-0-670-03049-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Availability: Amazon   

March 2001 : USA Library Binding
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club (Prebound))
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 1-4176-4842-2 / 978-1-4176-4842-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: San Val
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

1998 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman RUBIO
ISBN: 0-7394-1766-5 / 978-0-7394-1766-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

October 2002 : USA Paperback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club) (Thorndike Paperback Bestsellers)
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-7838-9510-0 / 978-0-7838-9510-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

2002 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-14-300071-3 / 978-0-14-300071-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

March 2001 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-14-200020-5 / 978-0-14-200020-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

June 2001 : USA Paperback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-670-89668-3 / 978-0-670-89668-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Penguin Group Australia
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

April 1999 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-14-028014-6 / 978-0-14-028014-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

July 1998 : USA Paperback
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-670-87311-X / 978-0-670-87311-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

Audio Editions

April 2001 : USA Audio CD
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 1-56511-513-9 / 978-1-56511-513-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: HighBridge Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

April 2001 : USA Audio CD
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 1-56511-512-0 / 978-1-56511-512-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Highbridge Co
Availability: Amazon CA   

2001 : USA Audio Cassette
Title: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 0-7887-9926-6 / 978-0-7887-9926-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Recorded Books
Availability: Amazon   

2001 : USA Audio CD
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
ISBN: 1-4025-2908-2 / 978-1-4025-2908-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Availability: Amazon   

Kindle Editions

March 2001 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
thumbTitle: Icy Sparks (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


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