Read Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio Online


Icy Sparks is the sad, funny and transcendent tale of a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950’s. Gwyn Hyman Rubio’s beautifully written first novel revolves around Icy Sparks, an unforgettable heroine in the tradition of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or Will Treed in Cold Sassy Tree. At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphIcy Sparks is the sad, funny and transcendent tale of a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950’s. Gwyn Hyman Rubio’s beautifully written first novel revolves around Icy Sparks, an unforgettable heroine in the tradition of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or Will Treed in Cold Sassy Tree. At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphaned as a baby but raised by adoring grandparents, begins to have strange experiences. Try as she might, her "secrets"—verbal croaks, groans, and physical spasms—keep afflicting her. As an adult, she will find out she has Tourette’s Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, but for years her behavior is the source of mystery, confusion, and deep humiliation.Narrated by a grown up Icy, the book chronicles a difficult, but ultimately hilarious and heartwarming journey, from her first spasms to her self-acceptance as a young woman. Curious about life beyond the hills, talented, and energetic, Icy learns to cut through all barriers—physical, mental, and spiritual—in order to find community and acceptance....

Title : Icy Sparks
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780142000205
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Icy Sparks Reviews

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2018-08-25 12:34

    Onvan : Icy Sparks - Nevisande : Gwyn Hyman Rubio - ISBN : 142000205 - ISBN13 : 9780142000205 - Dar 320 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 1998

  • Jeff-is
    2018-09-20 13:13

    Ugh. I just saw the book cover, and wanted to hurl. My sister told me to read it. Thats the last recommendation she ever gave... I killed her.

  • Jessica
    2018-09-09 11:19

    i thought this book would be interesting: a little girl growing up with Tourette's in 1950s Kentucky. i was so wrong. this book does a horrible job of getting inside a child's mind and does little to show us how her doctors at the institution came to understand enough about it to finally send her home. then it gets all Jesus-freak at the end. i have no idea why this is in Oprah's book club. no sir, i didn't like it.

  • Anna
    2018-08-30 08:06

    i read this in high school and used it as part of my research for a paper on tourette's. "but anna," you may be thinking, "this book has a publication date of 2001, and you are 26 years old. that math doesn't compute."yeah, well, books exist before oprah gets her hands on them. TAKE THAT, OPRAH! WHO SCOOPED YOU NOW, HUH??!?!? you think you're SOOOOOO cool with your show and your book club and your free iPods? well GUESS WHO READ THIS BOOK before you?????anyway, i remember liking it.

  • Aimee
    2018-08-29 09:32

    I didn't care for this book. It felt like one of those that you're supposed to like to seem smart of part of a certain crowd-ie oprah's book club. I got this from a thrift store, since normally O don't read the oprah books. Even with icy's "episodes" it was a lot of nothing that happened with a bunch of wildflower descriptions thrown in. I didn't really care about her as a character. I was also very annoyed that I read 275+- pages then it went very "God showed me the way" in the last 20-30 pages. I hate preachy books, even more so when it comes out of left field. The ending felt like a cop out. From the revival scene on, I completely disliked the story.

  • Jen
    2018-09-21 10:33

    Icy Sparks is Anne of Green Gables with Tourette Syndrome. I loved the character, but wasn't super crazy about the story. The book is divided into three parts. The first part was kind of painful because it shows her at 10 years old first beginning to manifest Tourette's, and becoming an outcast in her community--it's the 1950's in rural Kentucky and nobody had a clue about Tourette's. I really liked the second part, which induced me to keep reading the book (saying what it's about would be a spoiler), but the last part was a letdown.

  • Irishcoda
    2018-09-11 15:31

    Sometimes when I come to the end of a good book I feel a little sad because I've enjoyed the story so much and now it's come to an end. That's how I felt when I closed the book on Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio. I'd picked up the book because it was one of Oprah's selections and the book jacket sounded interesting--a little girl with a troubling affliction grows up in 1950s Kentucky. As one growing up with deaf parents, I felt very different from the others as a child. I would be able to relate to this character.Icy Sparks is going to be one of those memorable characters for me, like Scout Finch and Francie Nolan. Orphaned at a very young age, spunky Icy is raised by her loving grandparents. When she is about 10, she begins to struggle with a frightening condition--she'll get an urge to tic, pop her eyes, or croak. She tries really hard to hide what is happening to her but it all comes out in the presence of one very cruel teacher.Icy spends time in a mental institution which seems brutally cruel but, after all, this is the 1950s when people didn't understand about these kinds of things. They didn't accept people's differences as easily as they do today.Luckily, Icy is surrounded by enough love from her grandparents, her friend Miss Emily, her principal Mr. Wootten and the hospital aide Maizy that she isn't lost forever. She's got a gift that helps her deal with what's happening to her--a lovely singing voice.I thought this book was fantastic and definitely recommend it as an excellent read!

  • Mckenzie
    2018-08-21 15:35

    Several times throughout this book I asked myself why I was still reading it, and after finishing it the only answer I have is "I was bored and kept hoping it would get better". It never really did. Don't get me wrong - if it was THAT horrible, I'm sure I would've given up - but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.The premise, that of a young girl growing up in Appalachia in the 50's with Tourette's syndrome, sounded interesting and promising, but the writing is...unskilled. The dialogue ranges between quaint and believable to "no one actually talks like that, ever". Gestures and body language are ALWAYS described in an awkward, baffling manner ('Miss Emily centered her hands on top of the table and pushed up' - what the hell is that illustrating?? No, she is not trying to lift the table in that scene, Miss Emily is just chatting). I also found the middle portion of the book, where Icy is institutionalized, to be annoyingly ham-handed. Why are several of the child patients given animal characteristics? Is it to match Icy's ~frog~ theme, and why? If there's supposed to be some symbolism in the autistic boy that headbutts like a bull and the crazy kid who thinks he's a bird (NOT an actual disorder or remotely believable just stop it), it isn't readily apparent and doesn't go anywhere. Also, in a book that's about outcasts and respecting people's differences, I thought it was interesting that the nice aide at the institution was beautiful and the mean aide was ugly. Very progressive.I think the final insult was finding that the climax of the book, and the solution to Icy's social problems, basically involved Icy FINDING JESUS PRAISE THE LORD and almost smacked of faith healing and just NO NO NO. So this entire book was a slow build meant to preach to the reader? Yeah, thanks.Pass on this one.

  • Sammy
    2018-08-29 08:16

    Good read. For the most part, this book was a very enthralling and entertaining read. The story itself and the writing both very fine. It's not a book, though, that's going to go down in history as one of my favorites, despite the fact I really did enjoy it.The main problem I had with the book was the characters themselves. They were likeable enough, but with the exceptional of Icy, most everyone she encountered seemed 2Demensional at most, they weren't flushed out enough for my taste. I'm not saying every character that appears on page needs to have a full history and story going on, but there were characters that played a huge part in Icy's life that didn't have enough to them. I didn't see it with Miss Emily or Icy's grandparents. Those three were central figures in Icy's life.Also the antagonists Icy encountered throughout her journey, like her teacher in the beginning and the one nurse at the hospital... they were just mean, there was nothing behind them pushing this meanness. Perhaps it was Rubio's way of letting us see this from young Icy's point of view. Adults don't need a reason to be mean, they just are mean! But if you're going to write in the perspective of a ten-year-old, keep it consistent.At times I felt Icy was not thinking nor acting her age, her views became suddenly too adult, her attitude to adult. When we jump forward a couple of years I at first thought Icy was 16 or 17, not 13. It's hard to write from the perspective of younger people, so I give Rubio major props for being able to capture any of those ages.So, basically, it was character that gave the book it's biggest flaws. But while reading it I really didn't mind. I was very interested in the subject matter, what was going on with Icy and what was going to happen. I was drawn to Icy and concerned for her a lot. Even though I knew what kind of disease Icy had, I wanted to hear the answers just as badly as she and her family did.I would recommend this book to read. Forget what I said about characters until after you read it, don't let it cloud a very entertaining read for you.

  • Ashley
    2018-08-26 12:23

    When I read the back of the book cover to Adam he gave a big dramatic sigh and declared, "You read the most depressing books in the world." A book about a young girl growing up with undiagnosed Tourettes Syndrome, a story where the heroine feels completely unable to adapt to the world around her, a girl with no mother, raised by her loving but confused grandparents, a child who's only friend is a 400 pound adult, a stint in a mental hospital where the main character struggles and still remains undiagnosed, WHAT ISN'T TO LOVE ADAM? I was so on board with this book, the style, the struggle of the main character, the way the reader begins to realize this book isn't simply talking about the pain of living with Tourettes but actually the difficulties each of us face attempting to fit into society, and then WHAM the ending. Ugg the ending. Maybe YOU will love the ending, but all I can tell you is that I rolled my eyes a LOT in the last 30 pages. Read it, then tell me if you rolled your eyes too.

  • Laura
    2018-09-08 10:16

    3.5 stars rounded to 4 stars. Thought provoking but somewhat repetitive on the issues addressed. I would think this would be appropriate for a tween. First book I've ever read that character has Tourette syndrome so that was interesting.

  • Edwina Callan
    2018-09-14 07:14

    As the mother of a child that has Tourette's Syndrome, I was appalled by the stereotypical portrayal of the main character. Complex vocal and motor tics, such as those described in this book, are the rarest symptoms of this disorder and yet I've heard it called "The Cussing Disease" because it is always shown at the absolute worst end of the spectrum in print and media.Believe me, if my son starts spewing out cuss words then it isn't because of his Tourette's.

  • Yzobelle
    2018-09-11 11:22

    It could have been better. The build up of characters and plot was going well at the beginning. It started to decline and get all muddled up when Icy was at the institution. The characters, events, and relationships became so weak and confusing. There was no clear explanation as to what finally made them decide to send Icy home, no clear diagnosis or even a prognosis of what Icy had, and there was no resolution to Wilma's case. (The revelation of the Tourette Syndrome came at the epilogue.) The last part became even worse, with the idea of religion too injected that it was like bringing all its readers into some fanatic devotion meeting of some sort. I wonder what happened to the author?! It could have been a good story. She had good characters to work on, her writing style was potential, with natural humor ... but something seemed to have gone amiss along the way. Could she have been in a hurry to wrap up the book and turn it in to the publisher without giving it a second read? Or did she get bored with Icy that she wanted to just end it and start a new writing project?Can anybody tell me how this book got Oprah Book Club label?

  • Suzanne
    2018-09-19 09:07

    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.

  • Robin
    2018-09-21 14:32

    A story about Icy Sparks. She is a girl with golden yellow hair, raised in the 1950s, and an orphan child brought up by her grandparents (her mother and father died not too long after she was born). Icy suffers from tourettes (which she doesn't find out until later in life) and has fits of croaks, curses, and arm flailings. She befriends Miss Emily (an older woman and an outcast who weighs over 300 pounds) to find a common bond. Icy's 4th grade year is miserable because of a teacher who constantly picks on her and unrellenting peers. Her behavior isolates her from other students at school with urges that cannot be controlled. Mr Wooten (her principal) puts her in a classroom alone, separating her from the rest of her class. After a fit of rage when Mr Wooten tries to rearrage the classroom after Icy catagorizes items by colors, she is sent to an institution for help.In the institution she doesn't fit in and isn't like other patients. Some of the nurses befriend her and she finds out one of the nurses mistreats her patients badly. Icy tries to control her tics and urges by the doctor's advice. When she nears the end of her stay the entire faculty puts on a Christmas show. She discovers she has a voice that can move an audience. A gift she realizes she hasn't discovered until this time.Back at home she is miserable. Afraid to go out into the public because of her spells. Has a romance with a former grade school student which ends on a sour note. Nothing goes her way.**Spoiler**Towards the end of the book she is forced to attend church by her Grandmother. At first she is freaked out by its members speaking in tongues and having outbursts. She discovers this is what she needs to cure her. She starts singing again and realizes her voice is a gift to God. With her gift she joins as many church choirs as she can and discovers her tourettes really was a blessing in disguise.

  • Karen Klein
    2018-08-26 09:30

    Wonderful read! I picked this book up from my local library for $0.25 after briefly scanning the back cover. I thought that it would be interesting to read because my son was diagnosed with transient tic disorder (similar to Tourrettes) when he was about 4. I know that this book is fiction, but as I was reading about Icy Sparks (the main character) and how she described what she felt prior to her "fits" and extreme anger, I wondered whether or not my son felt the same way before each tic episode.Icy is a smart, feisty girl and a fantastic character. She's a young girl being raised by her grandparents in a small Appalachian mountain town in the 50's. At the time, no one truly understood her disorder and she was taken out of school and placed in a facility for a period of time. Even after she was released and returned home, she still remained isolated, with only her grandparents and Ms. Emily (an obese older woman) who was also shunned by the people in town. The author tries to show that prejudice is found everywhere, even in a small mountain "hick" town. As Icy grows and matures into a teenager, and then a young woman, she begins to realize that being different doesn't matter because God has created everyone in His image; she also discovers that she is able to sing beautifully. The ending is a positive one, where Icy goes off to college, becomes a therapist and uses her singing talents to help other children. It's a wonderful book - you cry with Icy, get angry with her and for her and just want to reach into the book and give her a big hug. My son, who's 22 now, also got a great big hug! Just a small note....I truly believe that books come to you when you need them - I received an answer to prayers and a message from the Lord! :) I just love when that happens!

  • Gail Poag Smith
    2018-09-18 14:31

    I really enjoyed this story, set in the 1950s, of a young girl with Tourette's. Of course, at that time not much was known about the syndrome and her grandparents, who were raising her, and her school officials were at at a loss to know what to do.Narrated by the girl, Icy, she doesn't have a clue what is going on and in spite of all her efforts finds she is increasingly unable to control her actions and speech.This story reminded me so much of an author I know who had similar experiences growing up in the 1970s. Jonathan Friesen managed to become a school teacher and now writes amazing award-winning books, including "Jerk, Cailifornia." That book was the ALA Schnieder Family award winner for best book of the year with a character with a disability.Back to Icy Sparks, what I most appreciated about this book is the fact that instead of the usual tragedy of mean-spirited and horrible treatment of someone who is "different," Icy, at least from the adults in her life, is treated with kindness and undying attempts to help her and find a solution for her problems. Through an odd sort of characters, including another obeses "outcast," Icy continues to be loved and educated and even treated in a mental facility. That is so unusual in most of these types of stories, in my experience.I also feel that this would be a good book for an older teen, if the can handle the language. It's not particually bad and is always used in conjunction with Tourette's, but the themes and hopeful outlook would be positive influences in most anyone's life.

  • Maria
    2018-08-21 10:15

    Ordinarily, I hate all literature, fiction, or story-telling about Appalachia. HATE. And I mean that as forcefully as the all caps implies. Silas House? So twee and building stereotypes that some of us would rather not have to fight against on a daily basis. Jesse Stuart? Please spare me.But this book, while set in eastern Kentucky, isn't really about Appalachia. It's about a girl who happens to grow up in an isolated community, surrounded by mountains. But she's a special girl -- and she's got a secret. Her secret makes her good at keeping the secrets of others, even when it's to her detriment. Not only is she special, but she's special in a way that makes her alone. No one understands her and she doesn't even understand herself. Who in this world hasn't felt like he or she has been on the outside looking in? Gwyn Rubio does a good job of creating a sympathetic character without pretensions. Icy may suffer from Tourette Syndrome in an age before it was really understood, but this book is a work of fiction, well-written and entertaining, without the seeming agenda of educating the audience. How refreshing!If you want a fast read about a smart kid who is a misfit and doesn't really understand what's wrong with her, this book is a good option. If you teach high school, I can easily see this being on a reading list where kids get to choose what they read.

  • Marissa
    2018-09-20 11:09

    Granted, I listened to it and the narrator was okay until the end when Icy, the main character, finds God and there is all kinds of singing. Well, the singing just about sent me over the edge. "Amazing Grace" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in a bad hillbilly accented voice was almost more than I could handle. I found myself finishing the book out of anger: "Damnit--I've lasted this long. I have to finish it." So I slogged through and finished the damned thing.Icy is the main character, growing up in 1950s Kentucky, with Tourettes. (sp?) Great premise. Not a great read because the story is fragmented. It jumps from her childhood to college in a way that lacks flow, and I felt that the illness was not developed as much as it should be. By the end, Icy is a pain in the ass (not that I wasn't as a teenager), and I had no interest in what happened to her.As you can see from my reading, I would say that this is not a good use of your time--for the beach or anywhere. Sorry Oprah, I don't agree with this one!

  • ehnonymus
    2018-09-13 07:08

    by far one of the worst books i have ever read. i often snag novels from the high school library when i am bored at work and since there isn't much to choose from i picked up icy sparks, mistakenly believing that a book on the oprah book club list must have some merit (after all, books i have loved for a very long time often end up on her list- east of eden, for instance). anyway, i was instantly disappointed and i think it was only horrified disbelief that kept me going. i kept thinking that there HAD to be a point in there somewhere. but no, it is just a disorganized and poorly written tale about a girl who has tourette's and finds jesus. half of the time it doesn't even make sense. i can't stand oprah, but seriously, there's no way that she actually read this and found it worthy to be on her list; she needs to fire some of her book-reading lackeys.

  • Taylor
    2018-08-23 09:06

    I REALLY liked the first half of this book. The experience of a young girl with Tourrette's was fascinating and plausible. The author's poor conveyance of dialect was distracting but forgivable, mostly due to the overaching sparkle of the main character's wit. Ten-year-old Icy is precocious and interesting, if a little too perceptive and articulate to be believed.However, her transformation upon returning home (I'm being vague to avoid spoilers) defies her character and any patience the reader might have with the writing flaws. After that point, my rating quickly spiraled downward.I'd recommend the first half of this book to anyone who is interested in what those with Tourette's experience. Aside from that, I would suggest skipping it.

  • Natalie
    2018-09-12 07:05

    One of the best pieces of odd story-telling I've read in a long time. Take a little girl in the country who's trying to fit in as best as she can. Add the fact that she has Torette's Syndrome (sp?), and you have fodder for a painfully funny yet touching comedy.Little Icy finds comfort in the form of an adult, Miss Emily, a grossly obese woman who runs the local seed corn mill where they have tea parties with Miss Emily's cats. What you end up with is unusually unique story-telling style that is hard to find in NYC's "push the plot points" style fiction. It's one of those remarkable novels that you're shocked and pleasantly surprised to find that some big NYC editor had the foresight to discover this.It's a fabulous journey into life of the non-ordinary.

  • Ashley
    2018-09-07 07:34

    This was a book club selection and I had the hardest time reading this book. It literally took me WEEKS to read. Ugh.I found the author annoying and the character she created. For instance, I understand that the girl had tourettes but the way she would describe it bothered me. How does one pop out their eyes? Did she actually say the word croak or did she make a sound like a frog? There are too many things I did not care for in this book or that I felt the author did a good job writing on and I feel like I just wasted too many weeks on this book.

  • Anna
    2018-09-07 09:13

    I did not like this as well as I thought I should have. The characters are interesting and complete people both the bad and the good. The story is involving. Perhaps it is because I didn't really like Icy and that left me feeling ambivalent about it.

  • Debbie
    2018-08-25 14:15

    Hill kid in 50s Kentucky with Tourette's syndrome. Gotta figure this will have some lessons in it somewhere! Is that a twitch or just a southern church service?? :-)

  • Becky
    2018-09-06 07:11

    Wow I LOVED this book! I usually am in the zone when reading, but this was next level entrancement. Ok...but WTF was up with the ending? Was this book in the hands of a Christian publishing company or something? It was left a bad taste in my mouth. The rest of the book was amazing though and I highly recommend!

  • Judy
    2018-09-09 15:06

    rating: 3.5Growing up with Tourette syndrome is tough and frightening for anyone. At least in this day and age, it's likely to be diagnosed more promptly than it was in the 1950s in rural Kentucky, which is the setting for this story.

  • Karenita
    2018-09-12 13:15

    Unusual topic. An intelligent, sweet, poetic child in the 50's deals with the repetitive verbal and "croaks" mannerisms of Tourette's Syndrome. Icy lives an isolated, alienated, life in rural Kentucky. Her grandparents and an older, obese mentor, give Icy the positive outlook and support she needs to understand the world she lives in. It is said that a person only needs one adult to love us unconditionally and we can develop the resilience to overcome adversity. Great read.

  • Kiel
    2018-09-01 07:08

    I fell in love with Icy and just wanted to jump into the pages, give her a hug, and tell her that I would be her friend. My only criticism is that the ending was a bit slow and drawn out. Aside from that, I really enjoyed it.

  • Michele Fay
    2018-08-28 11:15

    Almost a five star, I would say. What is it about southern writers? And why do I love to read books that have poverty stricken, Appalachian settings? I don't know, but this one has an interesting slant, as it focuses on a girl with Tourette's Syndrome, that does not get diagnosed until she is grown. Throw that on top of poverty, and you get,'ll see.