Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (July 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062003259
ISBN-13: 978-0062003256
Series: No
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Cover: I'm not sure what type of cover would fit this novel. I'm not sure if this is the one though. I think there should have been elements of a crow here since that plays a symbolic part. Regardless, I would have picked this one up because I'd recognize the name from Peter Pan. And I'd have been right to grab it too!
First Sentence: She stands on the cliffs, near the old crumbling stone house.

Mini-Review: Completely unforgettable.

15 year old Tiger Lily, proud and fierce, wild and misunderstood, doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the 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, big-hearted but hard to reach, 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 the haunted, hunted, courageous boy who loves her. When - as a punishment for her rebellious ways - 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.

I had a lot of expectations when I picked up this book because the story of Peter Pan is one tale that I keep close to my heart. But this novel blew every single one of them out of the water in the best possible way. Bittersweet and wild, Tiger Lily has everything in a story that will make it stick to your heart like drying mud.

Being a huge fan of the Peter Pan fairytale, I wasn't sure how a Tiger Lily and Peter Pan love story was going to work. I mean, it's always been Peter and Wendy. They're perfect for each other. Now, I've always liked Tiger Lily but not as a love interest for Peter. What Anderson did was completely recreate Tiger Lily into this complex girl that you can't help but love. Tiger Lily's cold exterior is formed from years of teasing and a quiet but unyielding persistence to get through it. As her legend in the little Indian community grows, so does her solitude and her restless feet. At first, I wasn't sure it was possible to like such a cold and calculating character. Tiger Lily cared deeply for certain people though she would never admit to anyone--including herself. But as she ventures out more and lets her curious feet explore, you start to see cracks in that venire. And because she is so calm and strong, it feels special. You feel special for starting to see how deeply she cares, how trapped she is in her body and routines and before you know it, you care so much for the girl with the raven feathers in her hair that you ache when she aches.

But Anderson doesn't stop with just recreating Tiger Lily. She breathes new life into every well known character. You know Captain Hook? The guy who is scared of crocs and seems completely okay with his hook of a hand? Yeah, not in this version. He's an extremely intelligent man when he's sober and a roaring angry and paranoid guy when he's drunk. The Lost Boys as a group of cuddling little kids who are just looking for a mom? Well yeah, sort of. But they are also known to be the most vicious and terrifying people on the island of Neverland. Whether this is just a rumor will be up to you to discover. And then there is the man himself, Peter Pan. As Tiger Lily grew close to him, I held my breath because I felt like I was standing next to a legend. How Anderson was able to create and animate such a complex character who is simultaneously so full of life and completely empty at the same time will never cease to amaze me. The care with which the author took to make all of these well known characters seem just enough like their legendary counterparts while making them something completely new is one of the best parts about this novel.

Going beyond the recreation of beloved characters, the author is also able to explain away all the problems that go along with putting a fictional land where people don't grow old in the real world. People just don't grow old on Neverland and the Englanders that come to the island just have an "aging disease". I liked thinking of this story in two ways--part old world exploration story and part magic fairytale. It sounds odd but the two blend almost effortlessly.

I think the blending of these two works so well because of the prose. The story is told with the storybook-esque narrative. We are told things are going to happen before they do but by the time the events fold out, it still comes as a surprise. The simple narrative combined with beautiful prose and a sort of jovial "I-told-you-so" that one finds in fairytales makes Tiger Lily unique onto it's own and so very special. I was all ready to dive into Tiger Lily's consciousness so it was a complete surprise when Tink ended up taking the story over. I liked that we got to see her feelings and thoughts about what was going on and she was the perfect narrator since she couldn't speak to the other characters and interfere with how the story was going to play out. We saw how all sides were crashing into the conclusion and how it all would end but we could do nothing (besides the odd bite and ear pull) to stop it.

Tiger Lily is as bittersweet for me as the tale of Peter and Wendy. Their love is doomed from the beginning yet you still see them running in head first though you know what's coming. Watching Tiger Lily grow, come to terms with what love means (not just with Peter but with the other members of her tribe too) and having her heart broken will tear you up in the best way possible. This story grips onto those things you loved as a child, those ideas that you still hold sacred today and shreds them so it can makes something all new. I have a hard time finding words for how much this book affected me. All I can say is it's getting a special place in my bookshelf just like it carved a special place in my heart.


Favorite Lines:
The forest would eat him alive, even his bones.
--Pg. 7 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
They'd brought their language with them and given it out as a gift...
--Pg. 10 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
"But you have to be careful who you meet," he said, stroking a pipe thoughtfully. "You can't unmeet them."
--Pg. 11 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
She guarded herself like a secret.
--Pg. 21 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
If there had been one symbol to define the mind and hearts of London of that time, it would have been a question mark.
--Pg. 59 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
"You're just a piece of yourself right now that you don't like."
--Pg. 69 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I liked the way they looked together. They both kept one ear on each other, an one on the forest around them. And yet, there was something almost peaceful about them standing there. Maybe the way he seemed to vibrate made her stillness less glaring, and Peter seemed calmer.
--Pg. 86 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
His [Peter's] mouth settled firmly in a frown. "But you'll be back. I know you will. You won't be able to let us go now."
--Pg. 103 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
It was her freedom and silence sewn into a dress.
--Pg. 157 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
But sometimes, when she sat there watching him, she recognized that he was wearing someone else's face.
--Pg. 229 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson
...This is the picture that is most stamped into my soul. It's the two of them, jumbled up and broken apart into confused pieces, and not really understanding themselves, what they are doing.
--Pg. 278 of an ARC of "Tiger Lily" by Jodi Lynn Anderson


  1. I loved this book too. Jodi Lynn Anderson has completely changed the way I view the characters. Each character has his/her own flaws, and even the ones I want to hate are compelling and endearing in their own way.

  2. What a wonderful review. I don't know how I missed this book. Never even heard of it. Now it's moving to the top of the TBR pile. I love the Peter Pan story as well and can't wait to his another side of his world.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. Wow this one sounds like such an amazing book. I also have some misgivings with a Peter/Tiger Lily romance but it sounds like Jodi Lynn Anderson really did a good job making it work. Plus those quotes are GORGEOUS. I am definitely excited to get my hands on this one. :)

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick

  4. Oh my gosh I want to read this one so, so bad. I know you love fairytale retellings so I'm really glad you liked it. Can't wait to read it for myself. Great review!

  5. Amazing review. I seriously want to read this book so bad, I've heard nothing but good things about it and you've just made me want it even more! Again amazing review! I can't wait to read this book.

  6. I have this and totally need to read...good review!

  7. The issue for me with romance and the Peter Pan story is that Peter is "the boy who never grew up." Part of growing up is the opportunity for romantic adventures as well as, er, adventurous ones. I definitely want to read Tiger Lily, but it's a concept that's only going to work for me if the original story is tweaked a bit.

  8. OMG! How have I never read an actual summary for this novel? I know to never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes I can't help it. >< I love Peter Pan so I'll definitely have to check this out ASAP.

    Great review! Glad you loved it!

  9. I'm actually really excited for this one after reading your review! It was already on my "watching" shelf on goodreads, but I wasn't like chomping at the bit to read it. HOwever, you are the second blog that I follow closely to absolutely love it. So this has definitely moved up on my priority list.

  10. This is such a lovely review, Amber! I adored it as well, and you did a perfect job pointing out how brilliantly the characters were written and portrayed! And I especially like how you pointed out that it has a part fairytale- part old world/historical feel to it because that's EXACTLY what it's like. Such a great review :)

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  11. I am going to have to read this!


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