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Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt
1986
280 pages
Teen/Young Adult

This story begins as Izzy wakes up in the hospital after an accident. She learns that her leg is going to be amputated. Izzy is a popular 16-year-old Minnesota high school student, mediocre at academics, concerned with boys and her friends. She has caring middle-class parents and three siblings. This detailed, character-driven book is an excellent exploration of the internal changes Izzy experiences after losing her leg.

There is a realistic description of depression while she is in the hospital, lonely and bored. Izzy loses most of her old friends, who are uncomfortable with her disability, but gains a friend in Rosamunde, a smart black girl that she knows from Latin club. Izzy never uses the words privilege but I could see her learning about different kinds of privilege and marked categories, as she learns about class and race. The book covers the time through the first few weeks when Izzy returns to school.

As with other books by Voigt, the characters are very well-drawn, and the beauty of this book is in the intricate details of the relationships between the characters and the way the people change over time. I really enjoyed it.

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