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June 2000
Icy Sparks
by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

When Icy Sparks was published in 1998, the New York Times Book Review called it “vivid and unforgettable” and praised author Gwyn Hyman Rubio as “a writer of uncommonly warm and tender vision.” The novel, Rubio’s first, centers on Tourette’s syndrome and its effects on a young girl growing up in Eastern Kentucky in the 1950s. Narrated by its now-grown protagonist, the story begins as Icy, a 10-year-old orphan living with devoted grandparents, experiences the first symptoms of the neurological disorder, which is characterized by involuntary jerking and, rarely, cursing. Soon her bizarre outbursts make her an outcast at school and in her community. The book traces how Icy and those who love her learn to accept and understand her condition. In the process, Icy herself becomes a woman of unusual compassion and ability.


Card catalog listing from the Library of Congress

Blurbs from the book cover

Oprah’s Book Club selection—announced March 8, 2001

Amazon.com description page with reviews by Kentucky readers

Transcript of bookclub@ket program



Gwyn Hyman Rubio

bookclub interview with Gwyn Rubio (May 26, 2000)

Short bio from Penguin


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