Review of Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

tiger lily

Title: Tiger Lily

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Genre: Teen Fiction, Fairy Tale Retelling

Rating: 4.5 Thumbs up!

“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.”

Synopsis from Goodreads

Note: I have not read the original Peter Pan, so most of my comparisons are made with the movie in mind

This is the first re-telling of a classic fairy tale I have ever read. Let’s just say I’m a big Disney/fairy tale fan, so I was prepared to be disappointed. Though I was pleasantly surprised with Tiger Lily; the new insight and perspective it gave was refreshing, intriguing and opened my mind like nothing else has before. I seriously cannot stop thinking about how we can twist fairy tales! I think there was a cartoon on TV once called twisted fairy tales? Hmm, might look that one up.

Anyway, Peter Pan is a favorite of mine. I love the concept of a hidden island, fairies and pirates, never growing old and living young forever. J Anderson has managed to retell this story in a slightly darker, morbid light with less magic and more behind the scenes action. I thought this would turn me off, but it hasn’t. It actually made me see the story differently in that it seemed more adult and less childlike, which made it more intriguing and less simplistic. I will admit that I haven’t read the original Peter Pan story, which may also be a little more adult than the movie (which I am basing my comparisons on), though Tiger Lily has made me see the movie differently too, because it had given reason behind the actions and thoughts of the characters.

The plot is very simple. It focuses on Tiger Lily, one of the natives of Neverland and is told from the perspective of Tinkerbell. It shows how Peter Pan had loved before Wendy, and how that love changed his approach and feelings of Wendy. We also gain more insight into Tinkerbell, which I love. Overall the story is filled with first love, heartbreak and jealousy, revenge and forgiveness. It also explores all the different kinds of love there is through the different personalities of the characters.

The main character, Tiger Lily, is one of the more strange and subdued type of characters. We are used to the main characters being exciting, a little special and having some spunk. Tiger Lily is quiet, though dangerous and inquisitive. I think Anderson took on a challenge when deciding that Tiger Lily  should star in this version of Peter Pan, because her personality is odd and hard to explain, though it is done well and gives Tiger Lily extreme depth – we are able to understand nearly all her actions, motives and behaviors eventually.

Now Peter Pan would be a challenge for everyone. He is a strange mix of young boy and adult, wise and childish, naïve though strong and understanding, halfway between “girls have cooties” to master at romance. I think the Anderson has done well in creating a balance in his character and actions that matches who he is.

Another good thing about this book, is that it made me cry. We all know a book is good if it can make you cry (that’s how I rate a book anyway; tears = one whole rating). It was the ending. I won’t ruin it for everyone, but it keeps with the theme of being heartbreaking, as with the movie. However, if it ended that way in the movie, we would probably be jumping with joy. I’ll just leave you with that to ponder over. Anyway, it has a very deserving 4 (and a half) thumbs up, and I would most definitely recommend it to any fairy tale lover!

4 thumbs up

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