Published by HarperTeen on July 3rd 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
In this stunning re-imagining of J. M. Barrie's beloved classic Peter Pan, New York Times bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson expertly weaves a gripping tale of love, loss, and adventure.
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair… Tiger Lily. When fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan deep in the forbidden woods of Neverland, the two form a bond that's impossible to break, but also impossible to hold on to. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. However, when Wendy Darling, a girl who is everything Tiger Lily is not, arrives on the island, Tiger Lily discovers how far she is willing to go to keep Peter with her, and in Neverland.
Told from the perspective of tiny, fairy-sized Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily is the breathtaking story of budding romance, letting go and the pains of growing up.
Tiger Lily is a brilliantly imagined alternative twist to the Peter Pan tale. The novel takes you on a dazzling journey of friendship, captivating first love, and to the pits of writhing jealousy and hollowing loneliness.
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.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when I realized this novel was going to be narrated by Tinker Bell, one of the most misunderstood Disney characters ever. Told from the perspective of a mute, mind-reading, and insect-sized fairy, Tiger Lily was a unique novel from the very first page.
The storyline uncovers the life and love of Tiger Lily, a character I’ve previously known from my childhood as “Wendy Darling’s rival” – but what if it had been the other way round?
Tiger Lily is a wild wind among an Indian tribe in Neverland. She is a fierce, headstrong but flawed character, which I immediately took a liking to. Orphaned, found under a tiger lily, and raised by a shaman called Tik Tok, Tiger Lily does not quite fit in. To my astonishment, she is portrayed as feared and often mistreated, as she is fast, and strong, and she hunts. In other words, she’s hardly the stereotype of a girl. In YA literature, the strong heroines are often presented as admired and well liked, which is only half the truth. Tiger Lily is a take on the draw-back of not conforming to society’s expectations of a girl. Incredibly relatable and realistically portrayed, Tiger Lily grew on me with her balancing act between strength and weakness.
There was a beast in there. But there was also a girl who was afraid of being a beast, and who wondered if other people had beasts in their hearts too. There was strength, but there was also just the determination to look strong. She guarded herself like a secret.
The storyline recounts Tiger Lily’s rescue of a ship-wrecked Englishman, her encounter with the notorious Peter Pan and his fearsome Lost Boys, and the blossoming love between her and Peter. With her betrothal to another man but her secret love for Peter, Tiger Lily’s fates collide and the leading of a double life begins. With the entrance of Wendy Darling – a cheerful girl with tons of charm and flattery at her disposal – Tiger Lily learns how deep exactly the depth of jealousy reaches.
The love story in Tiger Lily is nerve-wracking and heartbreaking, and yet what truly broke me was Tik Tok’s storyline. With the arrival of the Englishman, the personal misery of the shaman commences, and it wrecked me every step of the way. Tik Tok’s ordeal is the best example I can give of how many subplots are packed into this novel, exploring themes of colonization, exclusion, identity and ‘otherness’. I am white and I believe in God, but I am ashamed of some of Europe’s dark history. I am ashamed of how, today still, we exploit the resources of other continents, export our ways of living, and push our beliefs on people with differing ones. And therefore, at its core, Tiger Lily was about a tragedy in more than one way.
Jodi Lynn Anderson takes you back to Neverland, not changing much but still adding a great deal to the tale as we know it. With her mesmerizing writing style, Anderson constructs a vivid world, engaging characters, and a plot that is gripping in spite of its seemingly slow-going pace. She created a story in which Tiger Lily is a spitfire, Peter Pan is a challenging yet insecure lost boy, Wendy Darling is a vain porcelain doll, Hook is a drunk, Smee is a creep, and mermaids can be cold-hearted killers.
Tiger Lily consists of three love stories: A doomed one, a tragic one, and a whole-hearted one. It is a tale of the greedy and savage ways of the heart, and how it can sometimes be misguided by its own yearnings. Highly recommended.