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Extended Audio Sample Icy Sparks, by Gwyn Hyman Rubio Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (17,984 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gwyn Hyman Rubio Narrator: Kate Mille Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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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.