By Gwyn Hyman Rubio
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140280142, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 1999
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Rural Kentucky in the 1950s is not an easy place to grow up in, and it's especially hard for 10-year-old Icy Sparks, an orphan who lives with her grandparents. Life becomes even more difficult for Icy when the violent tics and uncontrollable cursing begin. Icy's adolescence is marred by the humiliation brought on by her mysterious condition, and its all-too-visible symptoms are the source of endless hilarity as everyone around her offers an opinion about what's troubling the girl. Eventually, Icy finds solace in the company of an obese woman who knows what it's like to be an outcast in this tightly knit Appalachian community. Narrated by a now-grown Icy, this first novel shimmers with warmth and humor as it recounts a young girl's painful and poignant journey to womanhood -- and the many lives she touches and enriches along the way.