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Icy Sparks | [Gwyn Hyman Rubio]

Icy Sparks

A funny, sad, and transcendent story of a young girl growing up in Appalachia. The New York Times Book Review called this Oprah Book Club selection "vivid and unforgettable."
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Publisher's Summary

Rural Kentucky in the 1950s is not an easy place to grow up, and it's especially hard for 10-year-old Icy Sparks, an orphan suffering from undiagnosed Tourette Syndrome, who lives with her grandparents. Icy's adolescence is marred by the humiliation of her illness. Its all-too-visible signs are the source of endless mystery and hilarity as everyone around her offers an opinion about what's troubling the girl. Eventually, Icy finds solace in the company of Miss Emily, an obese woman who knows what it's like to be an outcast in this tight-knit community. Narrated by now-grown Icy, this novel shimmers with warmth and humor as it recounts a young girl's painful and poignant journey into womanhood - and the many lives she touches and enriches along the way.

Check out more selections from Oprah's Book Club.

©1998 Gwyn Hyman Rubio; (P)2001 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

  • An Oprah Book Club Selection

"Vivid and unforgettable...brimming with love and hope." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Richly inspired." (Time Out New York)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (158 )
5 star
 (45)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
 (36)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
3.8 (48 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (16)
3 star
 (13)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.0 (47 )
5 star
 (19)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (13)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 03-28-03
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 03-28-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
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    3
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    "Icy made me warm."

    I really enjoyed this book. At first I almost gave up on it, but I'm glad I didn't. It made me laugh, cry, and sing. My eyes were opened to Tourette Syndrome and how diagnosed people suffer from the public's ignorance.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fran Silt, CO, USA 12-22-02
    Fran Silt, CO, USA 12-22-02 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Icy Sparks"

    Superb narration, excellent descriptive scenes and truly Southern flavor

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek Union, KY, United States 05-18-07
    Derek Union, KY, United States 05-18-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
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    61
    22
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    "Superb"

    Living in Kentucky I can almost feel Icy's story more than just listen to it. It was so well written and excellently read. The story deserves 5 stars, but the narration only 3. Most of the songs used in this book are beloved hymns and she just made up tunes for them (or maybe made up one tune and used it over and over) and it truly took away from the feel of the scenes where the author used music to help impart the perfect atmosphere to tell her story. Her use of so many songs shows that they are integral to who Icy was. I hope the author does not listen to the narrator's rendition. I had to turn down the sound and sing like Icy would have done it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audrey Hustisford, WI, USA 01-23-08
    Audrey Hustisford, WI, USA 01-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    12
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "kind of annoying"

    Maybe this book would have been a better read than listen. I got very aggravated with the narrator singing all of the songs to the same melody, and there are alot of songs in this book. The author focused less on the main character's battling of Terett's Syndrome and more on everyone finding religeon. It bored me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara Rosemount, MN, United States 08-24-09
    Sara Rosemount, MN, United States 08-24-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    91
    28
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    1
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    Overall
    "Eh...."

    This was ok, I wasn't completely into it, but it was still good, it did keep me wondering what was going to happen. The narrator was very irritating, she could change her voice ok, but kept saying the 'I said', 'P.V. said'...after 5 times in a row it got irritating. I don't regret getting it, it was a good story, just narrator did it injustice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Hope, AR, USA 02-26-04
    Kathleen Hope, AR, USA 02-26-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    1
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    Overall
    "great story,,,but"

    The story was really good, but it is a shame the narrator didn't take the time to familiarize herself with the tunes to the simple hymns used. If she didn't know them, she should have just recited them, or skipped them altogether. For those of us who have heard and sung these songs, listening to her monotone, tuneless 'melodies' she used for them was like listening to fingernails raking over a chalk board. Thank goodness the good outweighed the bad about this book.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DSG100 Destin, FL 10-21-14
    DSG100 Destin, FL 10-21-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "SKIP THIS"
    What disappointed you about Icy Sparks?

    The author barely touched on the issue of Turrets. The book is abridged. The end of it is all proselytizing and gospel songs - I had to hold the headphones away from my ears because the singing was so bad, so long, and all the songs were sung in its entirety. Pure hell, ironically.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Whatever my book club chooses (turns out it was 11/22/63 - awesome!)


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator should not have sung the songs or a singer should have been hired.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Icy Sparks?

    The entire ending from the revival on.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. A. McClaugherty Alliance, OH 08-13-12
    C. A. McClaugherty Alliance, OH 08-13-12 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Touching story; worth the listen"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Icy without a doubt


    What aspect of Kate Miller’s performance would you have changed?

    Her characters were strong and identifiable. The sing song of the hymns was distracting if you expected to hear the familiar tunes


    Any additional comments?

    I have recommended this to my family and friends

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandi 06-11-12
    Brandi 06-11-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed, quick listen"
    What did you like best about Icy Sparks? What did you like least?

    The build up on her romantic feelings for the young man and the relief of her choice. The religous views were over the top but made sense in the end. I don't believe in god but a good author can keep my attention. This and The Shack are good reads even if you're not spiritual so to speak.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sabina Shelbyville, KY, United States 06-26-10
    Sabina Shelbyville, KY, United States 06-26-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    27
    3
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    FOLLOWING
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    Overall
    "Very touching story"

    I really enjoyed the story. Not a big fan of the narrator. Her accent is nothing like a true Eastern Ky accent. She did not know the tune of many of the songs she sang also. A bit distracting.
    Makes me wish I would have read the book instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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