Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

How did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it: The cover piqued my interest, and I was really curious to see what a Young Adult book about Tiger Lily and Peter Pan would read like.

Summary: 

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.

Review:  It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Young Adult book that made me cry,* so please please please don’t be decieved by the summary that makes this book seem about as deep as a shallow pool. Tiger Lily is not a paranormal romance featuring Never Land as some kind of useless and flimsy backdrop to yet another tedious teen love triangle. Tiger Lily is a surprisingly moving read with hidden depths, vivid characters, a haunting world, and a wide range of love as well as other emotions.

Tiger Lily was a really fascinating and relatable main character that struggled with love and belonging as she was bullied and belittled by various members of her tribe. She was tough and afraid of being vulnerable in a way that was really wonderful and also made using Tinkerbell as a mostly silent observer/narrator a really great idea. Tiger Lily  maintained some really wonderful friendships too with both Pine Sap and Moon Eye, and I loved her relationship with her adopted shaman father, Tik Tok. Her romantic interest in Peter caused her to lose sight of things, but it happened in a very believable teenage way and in the end Tiger Lily really comes into her own.

Anderson weaves a really beautiful picture of a Never Land that never quite shows up in either the play, book, or movies about Peter Pan. The attention to detail was terrific and the fairy tale feel of this book made it almost impossible for me to put this book down. I also thought the worldbuilding here was fantastic. Not only was there a great sense of scene and scope, it was easy to get a sense of minor characters from the background information Anderson provided. I especially loved the sinister mermaids and Anderson’s take on Captain Hook and Smee as well as their occupations before coming to Never Land. And, as painful as the results were, I also liked that while the people and creatures of Never Land had to contend not only the constant hardships/conflicts provided by each other, the arrival of many people from more mundane lands caused worse problems.

In conclusion, a really lovely read that I’m hoping more people will pick up and enjoy. I would definitely recommend Tiger Lily to teens and fans of fairy tale re-workings, but I would not suggest this title to young readers because this is definitely a bit of a dark tale in certain respects.

How I would rate it: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Other Reviews:

*A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness also made me cry quite a bit.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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