Book Review: Icy Sparks By Gwyn Hyman Rubio

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Icy Sparks is a story about outcasts. About not fitting in, being different.

The story begins with an adult Icy Sparks recounting her life as a young girl in the mountains of Kentucky in the 1950’s. She lives with her grandparents after the  deaths of her parents.

Her mother, we don’t really know too much about besides what her parents (Icy’s grandma and grandpa) tell her. Her father we know had some peculiar mannerisms, namely  his eyes popping and other tics, though Icy nor anyone else in her mountain town knew what actually ailed him.

Icy soon finds herself facing some of these tics herself. Besides the eye popping are jerks (as she calls them) along with outbursts and cursing. With not a single person close to her knowing what this is or how to deal with it, this poor girl goes through the hell of mistreatment at school and being ostracized by her peers as well as the folks in town, eventually landing in a hospital.

This was a hard one to read as much as it was interesting. Icy has her grandparents and her grown friend Miss Emily, who is also an outcast due to her being grossly overweight, but the small town  50’s mentality keeps Icy alone in a position she can’t understand. Yet, she pushes through with a mostly positive attitude. I think her life was harder for me to handle than it was for her. This is a story full of death, secrets, unresolved animosity and so many other very upsetting emotions. A reader would be hard pressed to not relate to some of what Icy goes through on a smaller scale. One also feels for her on a very human level.

I gave this three stars on Goodreads. Here’s why.

The characters were well written and likable, yet it was difficult at times for me to figure out what the author wanted the reader to focus on. There was focus on lying, abuse at the hands of a couple of adults in a place of power, strange friendships, seemingly useless and confusing medical treatment and finally religion. Some of the parts of this telling seemed like they were just fillers to get to the end, but they don’t seem to be necessary to the whole of the story.

Though I did find out what happened to Icy, what the actual cause of her symptoms was, I felt like in the last few pages the answer was quickly thrown together to simply to end the story. Perhaps, I missed something or I’m too thick to see what the author was doing, but I felt the resolution was hasty.

In the end, it was an interesting read and I would be curious to see what others thought about this book.

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