“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you've ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win.”
Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: Young Adult, Fairytale Retelling
Publisher: Harper Collin's Children's Books
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
Rating: 4 Stars
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.
What you see is certainly not what you get with this unique twist on the classic fairytale, Peter Pan. Told from the perspective of the girl with the raven feathers in her hair, Tiger Lily is the gritty, raw, real side of Neverland. This book tells a story of first loves and painful heartbreak, and shows there is so much more to fear than growing old and dying.
I truly sympathized with Tiger Lily's character. Believed to be cursed, she is cast out by her fellow tribesmen; always on the outskirts and never fully trusted, even by her friends. Quiet and strangely intense, she is feared by all who surround her. Only Tinkerbell, her always vigilant companion, understands her longing to be accepted. Therefore, it only makes sense that she would fall for the boy lurking just beyond the shadows, equally as lonely as she.
The relationship between Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily really changed my opinion of the jealous, catty pixie we are shown in the Disney film. Despite being unable to speak to one another, their relationship still spoke volumes to me. Tinkerbell was so fiercely loyal and protective of her self-appointed charge; it gives you an entirely new perspective as to why she was so hateful towards Wendy in the original fairytale.
This is not the Peter Pan in your bedtime stories. This Peter is broken, and wild, and far from innocent. And you just can't help but fall a little bit in love with him, the very same way Tiger Lily did. I enjoyed watching their friendship unfold, as unlikely as it was, into bittersweet romance and eventually, heartbreak. These two are a perfect example of how the best of intentions can go horribly, horribly wrong.
Anderson keeps our attention with unique twists and compelling explanations for some of this classic's most iconic characters. Captain Hook isn't so much a villain as a sad, tired old man who was unable to slow time. Angry at the world, he turns his rage to the only outlet he knows: Peter Pan. Meanwhile, Smee isn't the bumbling, yet lovable first mate we know him to be. Each character was complex and entirely human in ways that truly astounded me.
A lot of what I get from Tiger Lily is the idea that there is a definite grey area when it comes to "good" and "bad". Everyone is a set of circumstances. The point is that anyone is capable of anything, but we so badly want to believe that the bad things in our life aren't our fault and the good things are, and we want to believe that it’s the other way around when it comes to other people.
The story is told from the POV of Tinkerbell, which I found to be interesting, if not entirely successful. While this style of writing gives us a wider scope into the world of Neverland, I feel like we lose so much more of Tiger Lily's thoughts and feelings than if the story had been told from her perspective.
Honestly, this was not what I expected to read when I picked up Tiger Lily, but I'm not disappointed. Not in the least. Jodi Lynn Anderson has managed to take one of my favorite fairytales and flip it on its head, and the story that she has created still has me reeling, even to this day.