I have this deep and abiding love for Cynthia Voigt. She's written a lot of books & 12 of her books are ones that I'm in LOVE with and honestly coI have this deep and abiding love for Cynthia Voigt. She's written a lot of books & 12 of her books are ones that I'm in LOVE with and honestly consider to be favorites. That's a LOT coming from one author. But it seems like every time I try to read one of her other books, I'm not as in love with the story or the characters or the writing. I'm not sure if that's because I'm older now or if the ones I've read and loved really are just better.
This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't much of a thing either. I feel like very little actually happened and very little was learned, even though Brann learned a lot. I just wasn't really sure how he made his mental leaps and while I appreciated him learning and realizing that he dad IS someone worth respecting, it was overall a little lackluster for me....more
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 figure out the mystery before someone else died. However, as I've gotten older, I find myself drawn more and more to those stories I loved when I was younger- stories of people facing terrible obstacles and learning to overcome.
Izzy, willy-nilly by Cynthia Voigt is a novel I skipped over as a kid that I now wish I had not. It was painful, gritty, realistic and honest. How is it all of those things you ask? Because of Izzy (Isobel). Izzy is a great character. Although the book begins with her in the hospital after her car accident, we learn through interactions with other characters and Izzy's own thoughts that before the accident she was a nice, well-liked, intelligent person. She was one of three sophomores on the cheerleading squad and learning Latin, she gets along well with almost everyone and has a lot of friends. So really, she was your average high schooler. Can I just add that I loved that Voigt gave us a genuine person for a cheerleader, and not those flat, stereotypical, petty awful girls most stories seem to portray cheerleaders as?! (Sometimes, a cheerleader is just a normal person too...)
Anyway, back to Izzy. She accepts an offer for a date to a party from a senior she isn't interested in simply because he's a senior, and really, how cool is that?! Turns out, when said senior is over-confident in his driving abilities while under the influence, not so cool at all. Before I get into the real meat of Izzy's struggles, I want to address one more thing- At the party, when she asks her date to take her home (she's conscious of her curfew!) she notices that he's a little bit drunk. Another senior (one she actually has a crush on) offers to take her home. Her date takes issue with that, and, not wanting to seem any lamer than she already does for needing to make it home for curfew, she blows it off as no big deal. She acts like everything will be fine, and leaves with a boy, knowing that he is too drunk to be a safe driver. Turns out- he drove the car into a tree. What bad things have happened to you because you wanted to 'save face' and what bad things have you managed to avoid?
Izzy wakes up in the hospital, broken. They try to stabilize her leg, but as another fever comes on, and the infection spreads, they are forced to amputate her right leg, removing everything just below the knee. A previously active, healthy, lovely young girl is suddenly rendered basically immobile and completely unable to do many of the activities that previously felt completely natural. At first, she doesn't realize just how serious things are. And then, she uses her walker for the first time. Izzy slips into a deep depression she tries desperately to hide from those close to her. Her family tries to be supportive and they are there for her, but they don't know how exactly to treat her. Her mother tries to act as if Izzy will go right back into the life she left behind- all her same friends, all the boys calling, everything. It's hard for Izzy, because she knows that nothing is ever going to be the same again. Already her friends are drifting off. None of them really know how to talk to her anymore, and it's obvious every time they talk to her, or come to see her that they are deeply uncomfortable with the situation, until, for the most part, they just stop coming. Enter Rosamunde. Rosamunde is a girl in Izzy's grade who doesn't seem to care what other people think. She dresses to be comfortable, and speaks exactly what she's thinking. There is very little guess work involved in a conversation with Rosamunde and this comes as a relief to Izzy. Everyone steps lightly around her, careful to avoid any subject that might upset her or make her aware of her new disability. Instead of tiptoeing around, Rosamunde laughs at the line of left shoes, all lined up together in Izzy's closet, missing their mates.
Izzy has never had to struggle with self image before. She really had everything going for her. Popularity, a loving family, an active and healthy body, etc. Right after the accident, she isn't truly capable of dealing with these changes, because anything related to this has always been so far out of her realm of experience. I don't know how Voigt manages it, with this and every other book I've read, but Izzy was so real. Her voice was powerful and authentic. I felt almost voyeuristic watching her suffer at night when no one was around, suffering in silence with all the lights turned off, so no one would suspect she was still awake. Because her suffering was so realistic, it was incredibly empowering to watch as slowly, day by day, she faced awkward situations and learned how to deal with them. Rosamunde was there for her the whole time, sticking around to push, pull and prod her into life again, and sticking around long enough to help her up when she's down.
I don't know how I would handle something as devastating as loosing a limb. It changes every part of your life and is something that never 'goes away.' It's always there, and will always remain a part of you that you need to learn to live with and accept. While I definitely hope that I am never forced to deal with something as traumatic as losing a limb, I hope that I handle it as well as Izzy. It isn't easy for her, and it takes a long time to get there, but Izzy learns how to accept her new life. And, once she stops thinking of herself in terms of 'crippled' she finds that it's easier for others to overlook that as well....more
I wasn't overly impressed with this book. There wasn't really anything wrong with it, but it didn't really feel like much of anything. The relationshiI wasn't overly impressed with this book. There wasn't really anything wrong with it, but it didn't really feel like much of anything. The relationship between Buddy and Skye was annoying, because Skye was obnoxious, and Buddy was a total wuss who never had anything original to say. Everything he said or did started with someone else's thoughts first. I felt like nothing was really developed throughout the book. The story was here and there, but never really developed. There was no depth to anything, it all just sort of hung out there on the surface. ...more