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Izzy, Willy-Nilly
Cynthia Voigt
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Izzy, Willy-Nilly

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  2,995 Ratings  ·  197 Reviews
A car accident causes fifteen-year-old Izzy to lose one leg and face the need to start building a new life as an amputee.
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1986)
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(showing 1-30)
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Melissa McShane
I remember now what my original reaction to this book was, years ago when I first read it:


Thank you. Now I will continue with the review.

Cynthia Voigt’s great skill at characterization comes through beautifully in this book, which is one long character piece about a girl who makes a stupid decision like so many other people have, but is unlucky enough for that decision to horribly, irreparably change h
Mar 08, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
Izzy, Willy Nilly is pitch perfect emotionally. That's where I'd start. There's a lot more to say about this book: there's a lot of nuance, a lot just under the surface - and the reason it's all so powerful is because it feels so real. And it feels so real because it's pitch perfect emotionally.

This is a book that doesn't pull any punches. It's the story of the immediate aftermath of Izzy losing her leg in a car accident, and it's lonely and painful and exhausting. And difficult. Really, really
Apr 15, 2013 Dorothea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's always a bit strange re-reading a YA book that I first read in middle school or perhaps the first year of high school, because when I was 12-14, a 15-17-year-old character seemed so adult! Even more so when the character in question is conventionally attractive and popular -- all through my teens those characteristics seemed unattainably remote. So my old impression of Izzy, Willy-Nilly was of a tragedy befalling an exotic, sophisticated life. I don't think I related at all.

This is pretty f
Mar 06, 2015 Mireille rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(I read this book for the YA/MG book battle, and the following review is an excerpt from the post I wrote over there.)

Izzy, Willy-Nilly is an important book. Its depiction of a teenage girl coming to terms with being disabled for the rest of her life is realistic, touching, and the event is shown as heart-breaking but not life-destroying either. It also touches on important issues of racism/classism, without being in your face about it. Of course, all the ~issues~ wouldn’t matter if this was a b
I REALLY liked this. I liked seeing how Izzy dealt with anything and the vast spectrum of people and their reactions.

Mar 03, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Teen Book Club selection
Izzy wakes up in the hospital, groggy and confused. Finally she remembers what happened: she had gone to a party with her date Marco, and when the time came to leave he was drunk, but still attempted to drive her home. After they crashed into a tree, both of Izzy's legs are broken, and one of them has to be amputated.

At first Izzy avoids even thinking about her leg. She's a nice girl, and she doesn't want to cause anyone any trouble or make them feel uncomfortable around her. Too bad her friends
Meera K.
For Marco, Izzy's accident could ruin his life if she chose to tell. He would have a criminal record, no college acceptance, and most importantly, no girlfriend.
For Izzy's group of friends, her accident is a tragedy indeed, yet disgusting. Nobody wants a cripple around, and certainly being friends with one would lessen their status on the high school popularity pyramid.
For Izzy's family, Izzy's accident is horrible and embarrassing... but could be dealt with. Izzy was a nice girl, so she wouldn'
I'm a bit torn on this one. On the good side, Cynthia Voigt is extremely good at characterization. She writes in a compelling, interesting way; I am invested and interested in her characters.

Now for the complicated/I'm torn parts: On one hand it seemed a pretty realistic story about how someone might deal with suddenly becoming disabled. There was a lot of spewing of internalized ableism, she loses all her shallow "popular" friends, and has to make new ones. My problem with the book is that now
Jun 18, 2012 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok so this book is a little outdated for the YA market today, but it has such sentimental value I had to read it again.

Some good points are that Izzy is a genuine character. She offers no pretenses to having the right answers or being a model for how to be an amputee. She is just a girl who deals with this problem in her own way, even if in our times it may not be the best way.

This book deals with several underlying themes such as drunk driving, responsibility of the person driving, social sta
Dec 05, 2007 Magda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general, own
This is my second time reading this book. I remember Heather talking about reading it in junior high, but I only read it for the first time within the past year. I don't know that it would have helped with my own hospitalization when I was in high school, but it's funny and clear, and provides a good example of how to conduct oneself in that situation. It's still a sort of good advice, as the cold weather is keeping me creaking around.
Ms. Sorock
Jan 10, 2017 Ms. Sorock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was a teenager and still remember it! This book is about a teenage girl who gets into a horrible accident that completely changes her life. There are important lessons in this book about good making choices, but there are also a lot of lessons about friendship, survival, and other issues that teenagers face. Some students thought the title of the book was a little strange, but when students looked beyond that and read the book, they loved it!
Jan 09, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, edwards-award, blog
This book was originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing

Cynthia Voigt has been one of my favorite authors since I read her Tillerman Saga in elementary school. After those 7 books, I was eager to read more, because that's what you do with an author you love, right?! I read several more of her books before I lost interest in a lot of my old favorites in favor of Mary Higgins Clark and Agatha Christie. Real life drama, trials and pain didn't hold a candle to trying to fig
Kendra Merritt
Full Review:

Plot wise this book was a little slow. Not a lot happened. And yet, I loved it. I loved Izzy’s journey, her realizations. I loved the way she learned more about herself and her relationships with her family and friends through her trials than she ever had before. Sometimes it’s only through struggle that we can really know ourselves.

Cynthia Voigt did a fantastic job portraying Izzy. So many of her feelings and her reactions echoed my own. And
Oct 17, 2014 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Izzy's leg has been amputated below her knee and she must learn to cope and reevaluate her vision of herself, het friendships, and her priorities as she learns to walk again.

This book was written almost 4 decades ago, so judging by today's standards is difficult. As a middle aged woman, I was taken back to a simpler times, before electronics and computers. Teens reading the book today should view this novel as a period piece, appropriate for its era when deciding whether to read this novel. Midd
Mar 09, 2009 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for every high school student. Izzy is a normal fifteen year old girl. When a popular senior ask her out, she is thrilled. Who wouldn’t be? Most people want to impress others, whether they admit it or not. Middle school and high school are the hardest times to stand up for yourself. Besides, it couldn’t happen to you, could it? So Izzy goes out on a date with this senior and has an okay time, but he drinks too much. She knows he is drunk and gets in his car a ...more
May 11, 2016 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so i found this one in the free book bin at my local 2nd and charles bookstore. there was a ton of awesome free books that day so i really scored. but anyway.... i heard the name of this book in passing many times over the years but i never really paid much mind to it or considered reading it or even looked up what it was about. so i took a chance. i had a hard time getting into it at first because the way the author starts it for a bit was kind of odd to me and kind of hard to follow. but once ...more
i read izzy willy-nilly back in HS and saw it at the library & decided to revisit it.

the book was pretty much as i remembered it. i still enjoyed reading it as an adult. it makes me realize that YA has come a long way - while this book can stand on its own in my memory as a book i enjoyed in HS, it's a differnet kind of writing from YA of today.

surprisingly, this book didn't seem as dated as i thought it might be, which is pretty cool considering it was published in 1986.

i think it's a gr
I may have been too generous with the two stars. Izzy is not a good role model whatsoever. She didn't stand up for herself... Ever. She is a soft and weak character. The whole book was a boring depressing read. I read it once as a preteen and I really don't plan on reading it again. Save yourself the trouble.
Apr 05, 2010 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for school and hated it. Izzy is a terrible role-model and is very stuck-up. This book was not well writen.
Nov 03, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
when visiting your parents, you should always reread your teenage books, to see what holds up. this one does.
Still keeping book secrets!
Feb 22, 2009 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educ-7701

I remember reading Izzy, Willi-Nilly during middle school. I had a friend that read a lot recommend it to me, so I decided to read it. I remember it being about a girl who lost her right leg in a car accident. Since it was almost 10 years ago, the basic storyline was the only thing I remembered. This time around I choose this book to read because I remember it being very interesting and thought it would fall under the category of “Being Different”. I knew I wanted to read it again because it was
Jun 25, 2015 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Izzy, Willy Nilly basically tells the story of a girl who loses part of her leg in an accident after going to a party on a date. It starts in the hospital and then follows her through her return home and then later to school. I personally liked how it followed her for a while and included her physical therapy. While she's going through all this, she's facing problems with questionable friends, internal struggles, an annoying little sister and fears of facing people again.

I actually liked this b
Angie Fehl
10th grader Isobel (Izzy), much to her surprise, gets asked out / invited to the HS post-football game party by Marco, a popular senior & notorious flirt. Izzy doesn't really have much interest in Marco himself, but likes the idea of being a sophmore going out with a senior, so she agrees to go to this party. It's at this party that Izzy soon sees that Marco is pretty much a jerk who can't hold his liquor. She decides she's not really interested in staying at the party, tries to get Marco to ...more

A Review of Izzy Willy-Nilly By, Cytnthia Volgt
It was just another party until Izzy found herself laying on in a hospital bed with just one leg. The novel Izzy Willy-Nilly tells the story about how one drunk driving incident can change someone's life forever.
The novel starts off at the hospital. The doctor is discussing that there is a strong possibility that they will have to remove Izzy's leg. How did this happen? Fifteen year old Izzy just got invited to a senior party by Marco Griggers. To
Aug 28, 2016 Marna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my depressing favorites (books I would read over and over - for whatever reason - on nights when I couldn't sleep, which was most nights, as I had pretty severe insomnia) but I reread it pretty recently, and actually noticed something new.

The part where she talks about never being able to get married, I had always fully agreed with her, having my own reasons for assuming I, too, would never be able to find anyone but this time, I read it and was like,

'Wait - that's crazy - she ha
Julia Terhune
Dec 06, 2016 Julia Terhune rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Izzy, Willy-Nilly starts out in a hospital. Izzy or Isobella wakes up after a car crash in her sophomore year. The news when she wakes is that she will have to lose her leg from below her knee down. Up to this point Izzy is a popular cheerleader. All of this changes after the amputation. Her once friends abandon her, Izzy learns how to deal with her new reality, and an unexpected girl comes to her aide. By the end of the book Izzy learns what is really important in relation to friends, family, h ...more
The book Izzy, Willy Nilly by Cynthia Voigt is a book about a girl named Izzy whose life has changed forever. This all started when Izzy went to a party and met her crush named Marco. Marco had decided to give Izzy a ride home. Unfortunately he was drunk. Izzy thought it wasn't a good idea, but Marco insisted. As he was driving, the car crashed into a tree causing a horrible accident. Marco didn't suffer an accident although, Izzy did. As she was in the hospital she was confused and didn't know ...more
Oct 21, 2007 iamtedae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of realistic triumph over adversity
Shelves: memorable
I had to read this book in junior high, and found it boring and depressing, despite its Newbery Medal-Winning Author. Quite possibly they required it as a way of discouraging underage drinking, or driving while under the influence at any age rather than its real value as a novel, but it's a little hard to guess at now. I say that unless the teenager is more than the usual in maturity and perception, they're going to have the same reaction I did: boring! depressing! Those young people who do have ...more
May 02, 2010 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction, yaclass
Whether or not teens will relate to this book will all depend on the teen that reads it. On the one hand this book would be “good for” teens to read so that they have an understanding of what it’s like to feel physically abnormal and to face life-changing challenges. On the other hand, what teen doesn’t know what it feels like to feel physically abnormal and to face life-changing challenges? The novel focuses on Izzy, who just-so-happens to be in the passenger seat of a popular drunk kid when he ...more
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

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