The Country of Ice Cream Star

The Country of Ice Cream Star

by Sandra Newman


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In the aftermath of a devastating plague, a fearless young heroine embarks on a dangerous and surprising journey to save her world in this brilliantly inventive dystopian thriller, told in bold and fierce language, from a remarkable literary talent.

My name be Ice Cream Fifteen Star and this be the tale of how I bring the cure to all the Nighted States . . .

In the ruins of a future America, fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star and her nomadic tribe live off of the detritus of a crumbled civilization. Theirs is a world of children; before reaching the age of twenty, they all die of a mysterious disease they call Posies—a plague that has killed for generations. There is no medicine, no treatment; only the mysterious rumor of a cure.

When her brother begins showing signs of the disease, Ice Cream Star sets off on a bold journey to find this cure. Led by a stranger, a captured prisoner named Pasha who becomes her devoted protector and friend, Ice Cream Star plunges into the unknown, risking her freedom and ultimately her life. Traveling hundreds of miles across treacherous, unfamiliar territory, she will experience love, heartbreak, cruelty, terror, and betrayal, fighting with her whole heart and soul to protect the only world she has ever known.

Guardian First Book Award finalist Sandra Newman delivers an extraordinary post-apocalyptic literary epic as imaginative as The Passage and as linguistically ambitious as Cloud Atlas. Like Hushpuppy in The Beasts of the Southern Wild grown to adolescence in a landscape as dangerously unpredictable as that of Ready Player One, The Country of Ice Cream Star is a breathtaking work from a writer of rare and unconventional talent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062227119
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/24/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 752,449
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sandra Newman is the author of The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done, which was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. She is also the author of the novel Cake; the memoir, Changeling; How Not to Write a Novel, an irreverent how-to guide with Howard Mittelmark; and The Western Lit Survival Kit. She lives in New York.

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The Country of Ice Cream Star 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is mesmerizing. It might take a couple of page to "click" with the language but it's an engrossing read. The main character is 15 year old Ice Cream Star who's brother appears to be dying. She leaves in search of a cure for him and discovers a world far beyond her understanding. A beautiful coming of age novel unlike any other I've read. Highly recommended. 
bacalaokaren More than 1 year ago
Fascinating book. I absolutely loved it. The language is what makes it and keeps it real. The characters are so fully developed and they stay true to their characters through the entire novel. They are living in a world of devastation and the language and barriers therewith reflect this. The point being ... they are LIVING/SURVIVING and that is what this tale is about. There is so much devotion and conviction coming from each one of them in their own way that brings the story together and keeps it together. The reviewers that can't get past the language sound like my kids that won't eat their vegetables! Maybe if you give it a try, try it again and stick with it, you will be surprised you like it more than you would've thought! It could be a slow read at first - but you catch on and appreciate the language, the characters, the settings, the book as a whole and know it couldn't be written any other way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took a few chapters to understand the setting. After I got into it, I couldn't put it down! The writing style is unique and the story is very believable and relevant. I highly recommend this book!
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
The Country of Ice Cream Star came to me almost by accident. The library on post hosted an event around Valentine's Day called Blind Date with a Book. I chose one based on nothing more than a genre and a vague blurb. And it was unlike anything I've ever read. It is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian, young adult novel set in the future. It takes place in the remains of what was once the United States. But disease and war has left the country decimated. The overwhelming population is black or Hispanic, and even this population is left with a crippling disease that leaves what's left of the country run by children. The story was fantastic, filled with sometimes subtle messages about society and values. Faith, or the lack of it, plays a huge role in how new micro-societies have been formed and how they are run. There are shreds of recognizable faith from our own reality, but it has been changed by the experiences these children have gone through and by time. Race, too, plays a pivotal role. It highlights how assumptions about race can evolve into entire belief systems. But the most distinctive aspect of this book is the patois. This is what made the book almost magical to me. The book was written in an evolved version of street language, peppered liberally with Russian and French derivations. Not just the dialogue, but the entire book. From a technical standpoint, this awes me because of the sheer creativity it takes to undertake such a thing, and to do it successfully. And this is not a short book. As a linguist, this got my juices flowing. Is it difficult to read? Yes, it can be. Having the language background that I do probably helped a little because I recognized a lot of the root words as French and Russian and could translate those easily. Sometimes it was the evolved English that gave me the most trouble, words that had developed over fictional time to be used in different ways, in different forms and contexts. Nouns that are now verbs. Verbs that have become nouns. Even familiar places are made unfamiliar with the new language. This patois is something that I've seen turn many readers away, but I urge you to give this a shot. It probably does take a great deal more concentration to read it, but the story is well worth it. And the concept is just so unique that the experience is fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
imbrium More than 1 year ago
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DigitalTempest More than 1 year ago
Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. Real talk, you're either going to enjoy this book or you're going to hate it. I know that can be said of any book, but this is one of these books that you're going to stick with to the end or you're going to quit out of frustration. The frustration doesn't arise so much from the story itself rather than the language it's written in. Newman has taken AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and tweaked it even more with various dialects like Louisiana French (Cajun/Creole), even scatterings of Spanish, to give these characters a very nuanced patois. It'll either click with you or it won't. If English isn't your native language (and even if it is your first language but you have a tough time catching patois from any locale whether it's Southern or from regions up North), I definitely recommend reading the book over listening to it because the language can be quite difficult to grasp by listening to it. I was able to settle into a comfortable understanding of the language. As a Southerner, I hear similar dialect on a daily basis, especially since I live in this strange nook of the Southern US where I hear Spanish, Louisiana Regional French, and of course AAVE. I can also point out what I think are some other dialects she's borrowed from, but with less certainty than the ones mentioned. I also had the print book on hand as well to reference if something seemed a little confusing, but I rarely had to use it other than to make sure how certain things were spelled and there's another non-English dialect spoken (I'd tell you which, but that would be a spoiler supreme).I think there'd be an interesting case for HOW and WHY language evolved in this particular way for these characters. Lisa Renee Pitts was excellent, but this definitely isn't a book I can recommend for everyone even with its interesting concepts. This book is painful, joyful, ugly, beautiful--so many incongruous things, if you can stick with the journey. This book isn't without its problem, the most polarizing of these problems probably being the dialect. Suspension of belief might come into play for some when readers learn more about what's really happening in their world. I felt like the middle of the novel was a bit weaker and strange compared to its beginning and end, but that doesn't mean everyone will see it that way. However, this is an emotional, raw journey that forces a girl, who's already experienced so much, to shoulder even more of a burden and put her faith in people she doesn't wholly trust. She's also thrust into a world that is harder for her to negotiate her terms in, and she has to figure out how to make this work. It makes you wonder if this is the last we've seen of Ice Cream Fifteen Star. However, if it is, at least the readers can decide what to take from this ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with UNREADABLE . why the author felt a made up language would make this a better story I don't understand. I had to return this one. I cant recommend it at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The idea sounds interesting and I tried to like it but the made up language was super distracting. The kids have a bizarre way of speaking that makes no sense if you think about how kids learn language. It was just too much and I couldn't bear to finish it.