Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release: July 3rd 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, YA


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.


You know, if there is one thing I love more than anything in YA literature, it is — now, hold onto something — couples that don't last. Yes, you heard me right. I have always had a problem with those sappy romances where the hero and heroine fall in love, and it's essentially their first love ever, and then they're also the ones they end up with, because of course your first love is going to be your one true love forever and ever. 

Which it is not. At least, very rarely. I love the concept of a girl choosing the second guy in the love triangle over the first for once, or them just not ending up with anyone in the end; maybe it's just because that is something unique, something that doesn't happen very often, but I think the main reason why I'm so into that is because it's simply realistic and healthy. To portray anything else, making young people believe that they'll stay with their high school sweetheart is just ... inaccurate. It's an important, and maybe even harsh to some, lesson to learn and one that is taught so seldom in YA lit, and probably the thing I liked best about Tiger Lily.

Aside from that beautiful ending, however, the whole book starts to pale a little in comparison. I mean, I found the whole thing good, and I enjoyed it immensely, but at times I did feel myself getting bored, simply because there really wasn't much happening. In essence, the whole plot is just Tiger Lily sneaking away whenever she can to go meet with Peter and the lost boys and then doing some fun stuff together, most of that fun stuff was never even elaborated on or described in any great detail. As you can imagine, reading about the same problems (Tiger Lily not being able to get away for days at a time, worrying about Peter, vice versa Peter always being unsure about Tiger Lily's feelings for him, etc.) got old after a little while and really tedious after a while more. Towards the end, I was almost not even interested enough anymore to care about how Wendy is going to factor in and I just wanted to know how it's gonna end already.

The characters themselves were brilliant, though. Everyone, Jodi Lynn Anderson really deserves a slow clap because she managed to flesh out and develop these characters as if she wrote a full-fledged 500 whopper, in just barely 300 pages. I'm seriously impressed, dude. I liked the characterizations of the characters, they felt unique enough to pass as Anderson's own doing, but also true enough in personality and attitude to their original book counterparts that I could accept this book as a retelling in spirit. The characters, especially Tiger Lily and Tik Tok, were one of a kind and stuck with me, and by creating them, Anderson also implies some criticism on modern day gender roles and labels, and how we force them upon people while they are wholly unnecessary. It was great, let me tell you.

The writing style was also haunting and alluring, with the narrative being extremely unique and unexpected. It was 3rd person, but it wasn't. It was 1st person, but it wasn't. I almost don't want to say it, because discovering how Anderson decided to do her narrative was part of discovering the beauty of this book, but I'm just going to: The book is told by Tinker Bell, who takes the role of the outside spectator, not participating in what's happening for the most part which is why this reads like good ol' 3rd person narrator, but Tinker Bell occasionally interrupts that and throws in her own thoughts and feelings on the matter. I just ... it was ingenious. I loved it.

All in all, I will say that I expected a bit more from Tiger Lily, which doesn't mean that I didn't fully enjoy it, but just that, after all the glowing reviews, I thought there'd be more tangible plot and stuff to it. I'm still satisfied and content, because the characters did up most of the novel with their complexity, but, you know... still. However, it's obviously a novel I'd definitely recommend you to read.

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