Top positive review
Icy Sparks' Authenticity Is The Soul of Its Truth
on August 16, 1999
Icy Sparks is as unique as the place in which she lives, but unlike many of her fictional peers, she is cut of whole cloth and presented as a lovable, incorrigible, searching young girl, rather than as a predictable stereotype. So many books set in specific and unique places such as Appalachia have been written by "outsiders" who rely too much on images perpetrated by filmmakers, writers, and publishers with little or no firsthand experience of the place. The fact that Icy Sparks' creator lives in the very region (eastern Kentucky) in which the book is set lends authenticity and value to the content. Icy is not a stereotype at all, and neither are her neighbors and family and friends. She is as universally unique as is each and every reader who will encounter her. In segments where the story could have dissolved into cliche, Rubio has beautifully avoided the temptation. A good example is the tent revival scene. It would have been easy to choose to let this character with Tourette Syndrome blend and fade into a noisy background of the religiously possessed who speak in unknown tongues and contort their bodies in fits of worshipful zeal. Instead, Rubio has demonstrated a writer's maturity and excellence in chosing to allow Icy to find her own way into, through, and out the other side of the experience. The irony of how Icy uses her discoveries and the truths she recognizes along the way are testaments to this remarkable book's strengths and beauty. Highly recommended.