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Extended Audio Sample Icy Sparks Audiobook, by Gwyn Hyman Rubio Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.49 out of 53.49 out of 53.49 out of 53.49 out of 53.49 out of 5 3.49 (35 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gwyn Hyman Rubio Narrator: Kate Miller Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2002 ISBN: 9781598872255
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Set 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction
  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pammy | 2/17/2014

    " It was a fascinating read about the medical inadequacies of rural America in the '50's, when dealing with Tourette Syndrome. However, the last few chapters with the "Praise Jesus" message just came out of nowhere...and should have stayed there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 2/13/2014

    " Great read! Alternately funny and sad, with a whole lot of life's lessons mixed in. I felt like I really got to know Icy, the main character. Lots of wit and wisdom throughout. Highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ali Crain | 2/9/2014

    " Amazing book. Read it soon after it came out and heard the author speak at event in our community. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie Lynch | 2/2/2014

    " I'll admit that I only wanted to read this book because I think Tourette's Syndrome is really interesting. And that's pretty much why I liked it, too. It's not a really incredible story, but it was moving in that it showed how the disease took so much away from a sweet young girl. Not a feel good story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 1/28/2014

    " I did like this book. It was a quick read, and I fell in love with Icy. But, I think there was too much emphasis put on the fact that she was suffering from this condition before anyone had an actual diagnosis for it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Genoa | 1/22/2014

    " i liked this book like some parts i couldnt really get out of my mind but other then that it was ok "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheree Sponsler | 1/19/2014

    " Somewhat confusing. But amusing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 1/7/2014

    " This is an interesting look into the life of someone living with tourette's syndrome. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Monica | 12/18/2013

    " pffffftttttt. I think Grace lent this to me. Grace has every oprah book. This one she could do without. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 12/15/2013

    " A very interested book about a girl who suffers from terrets (sp.) syndrome. She is confused about what is wrong with her and they have yet been unable to diagnose her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 12/12/2013

    " Great novel about a girl who develops Tourette's in rural Kentucky in the 1950s. I'll probably pick it for Ink Drinkers when it's my turn again, Katrina, so you might want to wait to read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 12/11/2013

    " Overall, I really liked it - I thought the end wrapped up way too fast though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 9/2/2013

    " Had me going until the last 30 pages when I was smacked in the face with God this and God that. Could have had a better ending... The author took the easy way out I think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christi | 5/7/2013

    " I enjoyed this book -- young girl in Kentucky with undiagnosed Tourette's syndrome. Her character was enjoyable although it's maddening to view such disorders though the lens of time -- Very good characters although the plot was thin toward the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 2/1/2013

    " A story about a young girl with Tourette's syndrome, before anyone knew about that diagnosis. I think the point of the novel was to remind us that we all have good and bad and that we need to accept ourselves and others as the imperfect beings that we are. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 12/20/2012

    " I had a student so similar to Icy that this book just ended up allowing me some huge understanding of how and why this student operated the way he did in my classroom. This book is well-written and thoughtful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maggie | 12/9/2012

    " This book was very awesome! I couldn't put it down! However, parts of it made me sad, there weren't enough happiness moments. The end, the reason only three stars, turns out to be a proclamation of love for Jesus and that is just wrong. Although this is stupid, the rest of the book is well worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teri | 10/28/2012

    " Well written story of a young girl with Tourettes Syndrome. A good story of facing lifes challenges and perservering. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 10/16/2012

    " Hmmmm...not a bad book but, in the words of Heather Jaynes, "it was not my favorite". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 10/1/2012

    " Once you read this book, you will never forget it. Whenever I see a person reading this, I tell them how good & wonderful it is. It is so,so good. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 KarenW | 9/8/2012

    " I did not care for this book at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 5/23/2012

    " great book. Hard to put down. You feel Icy's pain, her embarrasment, her anger. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leeanne | 7/17/2011

    " Well deserving of being an Oprah's Book Club choice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marsha Barnes kerr | 7/1/2011

    " I read this book A LONG time ago and completely LOVED it!! I grabbed it off the shelf at the airport as I was getting ready for a LONG flight to Cali. Finished it before I got home and that's way fast for me. I highly recommend it!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 5/15/2011

    " It was an interesting story. At times, though certainly not all of the time, it would have a paragraph or two that would be beautiful and heart-breaking. I very much enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peggy | 5/5/2011

    " strange & sad, but all was explained in the end when Icy finally got a diagnosis (as an adult): 'Tourette Syndrome'. That information would surely have helped her while she was growing up.

    "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin | 5/1/2011

    " This is why one should not pick up books at a yard sale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carmen | 4/28/2011

    " This book is about a 10 year old girl growing up in rural Kentucky in the 1950s with Tourette Syndrome. She lives with her grandparents since her parents are deceased. I was really loving this book until the last few chapters, they didn't seem to go with the rest of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marge | 4/1/2011

    " The character was very interesting. Her growing up was complicated by having Tourettes Syndrome. The story itself was a bit lame. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 3/25/2011

    " Very well written book about the struggles of one young lady with Tourette's syndrome in a time when no one knew what it was. Very poignant stories that truly brought the character to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 3/18/2011

    " An interesting look at Tourette's during a time when little was known about the disorder. Very descriptive, use of language to convey images and sounds was wonderful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/15/2011

    " Sweet coming of age story. We all have struggles. Can our struggles be for good? Do any of us really fit in? Is it what we see or something else? I loved Icy and her quirkiness. I love rural Kentucky in the 50's. A feel good book. Rubio is a gifted writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 3/1/2011

    " This was an old Oprah selection. It was a very sweet and endearing book about a child with Tourettes. I would recommend it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Olivia | 2/24/2011

    " this book, like many, many other pop-fiction books, started out really well and just completely fizzled out. I don't recommend it...it was pretty disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teri | 2/9/2011

    " I read this book several years ago, and I really enjoyed it. The author has a wonderful way with words and a compassion for the subject matter. "

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About the Author

Gwyn Hyman Rubio, best known for her novel Icy Sparks, has been nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award and was 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. A graduate from Florida State, she spent several years as a teacher in Costa Rica through the Peace Corps. Upon her return, she realized her passion for writing and was quickly accepted into the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She now lives in Versailles, Kentucky, and writes full time.