Jessamy "Jess" Harrison is an eight year old caught between two worlds. Born to a British father and a Nigerian mother, she has forever felt like she doesn't belong. Jessamy is precocious but has difficulty getting along in school; she throws tantrums seemingly at random and makes life a challenge for her parents. Believing that a change from her English environment might be the perfect antidote to Jess's troubles, her parents whisk her off to Nigeria to visit relatives.
But Jessamy's plight is only beginning when she meets Titiola, or TillyTilly, who happens to be invisible to everyone else but perfectly real to Jess. Gradually, Tilly's presence in Jessamy's life becomes more and more disturbing; she appears out of nowhere, makes fearful things happen to those who give Jess trouble. One day TillyTilly informs Jess that she, Jess, had had a twin who was stillborn. Tilly, it seems, may have come from the Spirit World to be the sister that Jess never had - no matter the means.
The Icarus Girl is a haunting tale about doubles - both in a real and spiritual sense. With genuineness, grace and confidence, Helen Oyeyemi brings us into Jessamy's world and makes the fantastic seductively tangible.