Review: Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date ~ July 3, 2012
HarperTeen ~ HarperCollins
ISBN13: 9780062003256
ARC borrowed from Wendy @ A Cupcake and a Latte
Goodreads Synopsis:
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Tiger Lily promised a dark and tragic interpretation of a familiar children's story, one that would steal your breath away - and that was right. This book is exactly what it promised to be- a new, fresh take on an old story, a love story.

As fascinating a story as it is, I can also see how this introspective book wouldn't be for every reader- but it's sure to capture the hearts of many who enjoy a grand romance, and anything to do with Peter Pan.

  1. A thoughtful interpretation of Peter Pan:

    I enjoy the story of Peter Pan, but I thought it was fantastic how well Jodi Lynn put her own spin on this story; the majority of the "facts" and details remain the same (or if they are changed, there's a reasonable explanation for it) and I was constantly surprised at how she made such a classic story her own. It can be hard to rework familiar territory, but the effect ends up making Tiger Lily a masterpiece of retellings.
  2. Lovely storytelling:

    While at first I had some reservations with the story being narrated by Tinker Bell, I soon realized how effective it was being told from a third party. Part of what makes the story so poignant is that it's never really clear how the various characters truly feel about one another or their circumstances - and because it's told through Tinker Bell's eyes, it feels even more tragic because we get to see hints of the pain experienced by a number of characters rather than just Tiger Lily. Tinker Bell is remarkably unbiased (except when it comes to Tiger Lily, whom she clearly has strong ties to) and offers a different perspective on the events as well.
  3. A strong, unique Tiger Lily:

    This is not the helpless, fairly bland Native American princess we're used to (thanks, Disney). Tiger Lily is reimagined as we haven't seen her before, and she's fully brought to life with her own past and her own personality. And her relationship with Peter Pan is beautiful in its own right, so simple and just plain RIGHT. It's the way things change between them that's so heartbreaking, and how they both feel lost to do anything about it.
The one thing I was not expecting from this story was for the relationship between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan to be so pivotal, and even after reading most of it I didn't feel that should have had so much impact as it did. And the ending felt so rushed that it didn't feel wholly pulled together. I just had a hard time believing that this strong heroine would just sit back passively and watch while things happened around her, and then to react later on in such a strong, violent way. And honestly it was at that point that I began to lose my connection to Tiger Lily, because while I could understand her distress I couldn't fathom her rationale behind her choices.

And for a book that's promoted as a love story- well, I found the romance between Peter and Tiger Lily to be rather rushed. And I found where the book really shone, was in its portrayal of various other relationships and qthe idea of cultures clashing and transformation and feeling like a misfit. THAT, more than any love story, is what the book (even unconsciously) seems to be about. And that's what's so striking about it.

But all in all, this is a truly unique and stunning book that leaves a small mark on your heart. It's one that's unforgettable, partially because of how it makes you think differently about this familiar story and question characters like Pan, Wendy, Tiger Lily, and Tinker Bell to think of them in ways we've never seen before.

Purchase Links
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Rachel Naddeo said...

Great review! I am a huge fan of fairytale-themed novels and Tiger Lily is probably a must-read for me :). It was surely good to know that the romance was rather rushed but that there are other great positive things in this novel besides the relationship between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan.

Rachel @ Books to Consider

Small Review said...

Beautifully reviewed. :) You really echoed a lot of my feelings about the book, too.

"it feels even more tragic because we get to see hints of the pain experienced by a number of characters rather than just Tiger Lily"

I agree completely! At first I was unsure about the narrative style, but I agree that it allowed a peek into so many more characters this way. Tinkerbell was a sensitive narrator and I think that allowed for a broader understanding of the various characters than if it had been narrated by Tiger Lily.

"And for a book that's promoted as a love story- well, I found the romance between Peter and Tiger Lily to be rather rushed"

It did feel a little rushed and shallow. But, I do think the book is a love story, just not necessarily between Peter and Tiger Lily. Or, at least not ONLY between them. Love was such a central feature of the book—the love Tinkerbell had for Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, the love between Tiger Lily and the lost boys, her friend, her father. I think it was the cumulative effect of all of these "little love stories" that really made an emotional impact on me. Without them, I agree, I don't think the Tiger Lily/Peter romance was strong enough.

Anna @ Literary Exploration said...

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG I loved this book SO SO SO MUCH!!!! I don't think the romance was rushed at all though, I thought it was so great. I mean so much time goes by between each meeting and after all, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" right? Well... not really in the end <3 Either way, I'm glad you still loved this one :D Great review!

Anna @ Literary Exploration

Candace said...

Yeah, I think I agree that the end was rushed. And Tiger Lily's reaction seemed a bit much as well. I too liked that it was Tinker Bell narrating so that we saw more of what was going on. Fantastic and well thought out review!

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