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Izzy, Willy-Nilly

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  3,156 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
One moment can change a life forever.
Fifteen-year-old Izzy has it all -- a loving family, terrific friends, a place on the cheerleading squad. But her comfortable world crumbles when a date with a senior ends in a car crash and she loses her right leg.
Suddenly nothing is the same. The simplest tasks become enormous challenges. Her friends don't seem to know how to act
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Simon Pulse (first published January 1st 1986)
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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
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
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 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
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
(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.

Feb 28, 2011 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.
Nov 13, 2010 rated it liked it
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'
Oct 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, general
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
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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!
Oct 31, 2014 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.
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edwards-award, blog, own
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
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Amy's Book Reviews
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dated and even uncomfortable in a lot of ways, this is a strong, compelling account of grief, loss, and coming to grips with a physical disability. It's not a happy book, though it's a hopeful one. I was struck by how far we've come in the way we think societally about disability, and also how far we have to go in how we individually react to someone with a disability.
May 01, 2016 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
Jun 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011, re-read
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 rated it did not like it
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.
Still keeping book secrets!
Anna Hepworth
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: before-2013, library
It is many years since I've read anything by Voigt, and while I recognise the name of the award winning book mentioned on the cover as one that I've read, I've no memory at all. This one is about 15 year old Izzy, who is allowed to go to a party with older kids from school, and who stuffs up the judgement call as to whether or not to let her date (who has been drinking, but she doesn't know how much) drive her home. One car accident later, and Izzy's whole life changes. The story doesn't glamori ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is extraordinarily marvelous and breathtaking. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading in general because I feel as if this book can be appropriate for most ages. Although the story starts off with a very dreadful tragedy, it gives hope. Hope to people who are inadequate or lost in some point in their lives. Izzy-Willy-Nilly is the most compelling novel that I’ve ever read so far.Not all problems are resolved by the end of the book ,but by then Izzy is left equipped and is m ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I recently bought this as a gift and re-read it to see if it was still relevant- it was. While the perspective is somewhat able-ist I also think it is authentic to Izzy as a person, and ultimately her views evolve much as current discourse has. The other themes of friendship, popularity, loyalty, growing up, and consequences are still powerful. I remember the impact this story had on me as a young reader and hope it continues to resonate for future generations.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really good read in terms of character changes. I would definitely recommend it for a intense somewhat sad book about true friendship.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
" Izzy, Willy-Nilly" was a very good book. Although, the beginning was a little too slow for me.
Maddy Gutacker
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I hat to read this for school and it was good but not my favorite.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. I felt like i was in the book, and i witnessed everything that happened in the book. I totally recommend this book!
Elisa Vangelisti
Aug 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abbandonato
Mi era piaciuto molto la prima volta che l’ho letto, ma la rilettura non regge alla prova del tempo. Bei messaggi, adatto agli adolescenti, scritto bene e con senso logico.
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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