Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The Skinny: We all know the story of Peter Pan. Second star to the right and straight on til morning. But before there was Wendy, before there was adventures, there was Tiger Lily. The teenage adopted daughter of her village’s medicine man, Tiger Lily has grown up hearing the stories of the wild, feared Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. But when she meets him, Peter is unlike anything she has ever seen. Exciting and impetuous, she suddenly finds herself fallen under his spell… and in love. She knows she risks everything by being with him, and struggles to stay away, despite the consequences.
Told through the eyes of a certain fairy, Tiger Lily is the story behind Neverland, behind what we all once knew.
BFF?: While I genuinely loved Tiger Lily, I honestly am not sure I’d want to be her BFF. She’s so… cold. But in an understandable way. So the questionable BFF aside, Tiger Lily was all the things I really want my main character to be. She’s hesitant, considering… she looks at situations before rushing into them. She argues with her heart, with what’s right and what will make her happy. Tiger Lily is fiercely loyal, even when those she’s loyal to don’t deserve it. She feels deeply, despite not being quick to feel. I think, in the end, I would want Tiger Lily as a friend, even a best friend, but not the kind you sit up all night and gossip with. She’s the kind of friend who you can sit by in silence and feel more comforted by that than all the hugs in the world.
Funny Tiger Lily story: Apparently when I was a really little girl I used to do this thing where I’d cross my arms and turn my nose up in a “hmph!” way whenever my mom would tell me to do something. This action came out of nowhere, I apparently just started doing it. It drove my mom CRAZY and she couldn’t figure out why. One day, we were watching Peter Pan (which was my FAVORITE movie) and the scene where Captain Hook has captured Tiger Lily and is asking her where Peter Pan’s hideout is came up. Tiger Lily turns her nose up at Hook and I imitated her doing this. It dawned on my mom that I was imitating Tiger Lily whenever she’d ask me to do something. To this day, my mom still tells this story.
Readability: This was honestly a very lovely read, but wasn’t nearly as actiony as I was hoping. It was more of a slow build, deeper and beautiful. I loved seeing everything unfold from Tinkerbell’s view and having her tell the story of Tiger Lily and Peter.
Crush Level: 4
I truly do not want to think of Peter in a crush level kind of way. Because you know… childhood favorite. But I genuinely loved him as a love interest. He was so awkwardly cute and boyish around Tiger Lily. Although he’s this larger than life character, he was so genuinely real it made my heart pitter patter. Of course, in the end, he ruined it by going with Wendy – and that’s not a spoiler, you knew it was coming – but for a little while, he was really sweet.
As I mentioned above, Peter Pan was my favorite movie as a child. Still is, actually. I love the story, of ordinary kids going off to a magical world with a magical boy, learning that never growing up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… fighting pirates and Indians, seeing mermaids and fairies… flying… I heart Neverland!
While I sort of hate what Disney has turned our favorite fairy into, Tinker Bell was such a great character in Peter Pan. She was sassy – yes, sassy is my new favorite word – and since she’s only big enough to have one emotion at a time, I love the emotional roller coaster Tinker Bell is constantly on. In Tiger Lily she’s a fantastic narrator, silently watching the story unfold but still having feelings all her own. And she’s just so darn cute at times!
Commencement Speech: I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting to read Tiger Lily. After seeing the pretty cover, all the fantastic reviews, having a slightly unhealthy love for all things Peter Pan, my expectations were astronomically high. And this is the part that slightly dampers those expectations. The book didn’t really meet them. But in the BEST of ways. I was expecting heartache, tears, fist-shaking at the unfairness of Wendy Darling showing up and being all pretty and not Tiger Lily. I was prepared to mourn the sadness at the end when Tiger Lily gets left alone. What I was not expecting was to feel relieved, triumphant, happy for Tiger Lily and completely satisfied with the ending. Although yes, Tiger Lily and Peter’s love is passionate, I think it’s like a firework. Beautiful, but gone as soon as it explodes. Everything about their relationship didn’t sit well with me… it didn’t feel right, despite how wonderful it was. I wanted Tiger Lily to become her own woman, to be happy in her own skin… I wanted her to be the Tiger Lily I knew she could be. And huzzah! Happy ending! Sorry.. that might have been spoilery… my bad. Overall, I’m so happy I bought this book. I’m so happy that I own it and have read it and can add it to my Peter Pan favorites.
Yearbook Quote: “Tiger Lily, do you think magic exists if it can be explained? I can explain why I loved you, I can explain the theory of evolution that tells me why mermaids live in Neverland and nowhere else. But it still feels like magic.”
Superlatives – Most likely to make you want to crow
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