Icy Sparks

Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Author, Gwynn Rubio, Author
Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Author, Gwynn Rubio, Author Viking Books $24.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-670-87311-1
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-028014-2
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-20018-6
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4295-1423-1
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-14-200020-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56511-512-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-56511-513-2
Paperback - 472 pages - 978-0-7838-9510-9
Prebound-Other - 308 pages - 978-0-606-30503-7
Hardcover - 472 pages - 978-0-7838-9509-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-59895-539-2
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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. (Aug.)
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