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Icy Sparks

by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

from the back cover ... Icy is an orphan who is raised by her grandparents. Life becomes even more difficult for Icy when violent tics and uncontrollable cursing begin-symptoms brought on by a troubling affliction that goes undiagnosed until her adulthood, Icy's adolescence is marred by the humiliation of her illness, and 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 tightly knit community. Narrated by a now-grown Icy, this 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.

The Woodman's Daughter

by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Rubio's follow-up to her Oprah-anointed debut novel, Icy Sparks (1998), is set in rural post-Civil War Georgia. Fifteen-year-old Dalia Miller is the center of an unhappy household that includes her alcoholic father, Monroe; her distant mother, Violet; and her blind younger sister, Nellie Ann. Monroe is proud of his turpentine business and the group of workers that labor and live in his woods, but his wife and daughters find him coarse and unbearable when he drinks. An honorable but flawed man, Monroe tries to make amends to his family for a mistake made long ago. When Dalia discovers what this mistake is, her ambivalence toward her father turns to hate, and her actions further splinter the family. Eventually, Dalia finds herself alone and all but penniless, and she believes the only solution to her situation is to find a wealthy man to marry, though this does not lead to either the happiness or the stability she craves. Anchored by several complex, intricately drawn characters, Rubio's novel paints a rich portrait of the late-nineteenth-century South. Synopsis by Kristine Huntley. Copyright © American Library Association.

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