Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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.

Hardcover, 292 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by HarperTeen 
(info grabbed from GoodReads)

Tiger Lily was enchanting, brilliant, and all those wonderful things you want in a story, but it was slooooow.  It is not a fast paced adventure, it is not a heart flipping romance.  Tiger Lily's tale is, in many ways, heart wrenching and realistic.  The world does not always deal out a charmed life or a happy ending, and Tiger Lily is no exception in the world of Neverland.  These are all things not so often seen in YA -- usually good conquers evil and true love wins above all odds in this genre.  I don't remember what expectations I had for the book, but Tiger Lily surpassed and differed from it at the same time; Tiger Lily is not your typical YA retelling. 

I was very surprised to find that Tiger Lily was actually told from the eyes of the most famous pixie of all time: Tinkerbell.  In this version (and most versions) Tinkerbell cannot talk, but she has a lot of voice for a mute faerie.  I thought an interesting choice of narrator and was pretty geeked over it.  For me, however, the reflective voice of Tinkerbell was more somber than I was expecting, and, at times, was off-putting.  It also would occasionally become confusing as it was easy to forget who was narrating.  But overall, I think Tinkerbell telling the story is part of what made Tiger Lily so special.  Through Tinkerbell’s eyes we could see different sides and objective views of the main characters.

It was wickedly more sophisticated than I was expecting.  There is no absurd happy ending or insta-love.  Actually, there isn’t a whole lot of happy period - there was an overwhelming amount of sadness lingering throughout the air of Neverland.  It was depressing and without hope since most of us know who Peter Pan eventually ends up with, which is stated on the cover: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . . 

In addition to Jodi Lynn Anderson’s sad Neverland, her version of Peter was simply of a young and magnetic boy.  No flying.  Just leader of the Lost Boys.  This lack of magic added to the somber realism of the author’s version of Neverland.  However, the book is worth reading for this very different world of Neverland. 

I found that because of the book's more relaxed story telling it was harder to get into.  Some books you almost literally feel yourself fall into effortlessly, with others it may be a dive.  With Tiger Lily, at times I felt I was struggling to break the surface and descend into the story.  I think this is one of those books that if and when you decide to read it, make sure you have nothing to do for the day and won't be interrupted.  Just curl up in a chair with a blanket, maybe its raining/snowing outside, and turn off your phone.  Probably would make for an extremely peaceful afternoon.

Final Thought: 4 out of 5 un-flying toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads.

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