Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published: 2012 by Harper Teen
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: 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 such a unique and enjoyable story. I had heard nothing but amazing things from fellow bloggers and despite being disappointed by the last Peter Pan retelling I decided to give Tiger Lily a try and was so glad I did. This book is beautiful, complex, and incredibly unique.

The first thing that makes the book unique is the format of the story. As we learn in the synopsis this is a book about Tiger Lily but it is told from Tinkerbell's perspective. I'm sure like me you are used to third-person narratives but usually when that happens our narrator is not part of the story, but not Tink. She is as much a part of the story as anyone else. This was a strange concept to get used to at first, but when I did get used to it, it was so interesting and enjoyable. Tink was great narrator. She tells us at the very beginning that her inability to communicate makes her more connected with the thoughts and feeling of others but she's not a totally silent observed. It gives her a kind of unreliable narrator kind of feel. But also with her as our narrator we were able to see the story from the outside and explore more of the world of Neverland rather than being only to see it from Tiger Lily's side.

But that world of Neverland is another one of the unique and enjoyable things about this book. Like all retellings we were given a different take on the all-too-familiar Peter Pan story. First with Tinkerbell as our narrator we got to learn so much more about the fairies and other magical creatures on the island. I really liked all that information and everything we learned about the island of Neverland. But Tiger Lily didn't begin where we come in to the classic tale. We were brought to this world many years before Wendy hit the scene and received a lot of background information. It was almost like a prequel where Jodi Lynn Anderson seemed to speculate what sort of actions could have led to the story as we know it. But she also changed that story a lot. This is a much darker and grittier take on Neverland. It's not the perfect magical paradise that we're used to. There's no flying and no happy ending. It's gritty and depressing.

Part of what made it gritty and depressing was the characters. Tiger Lily of course was a fantastic protagonist. She was tough and a kickass female heroine but she was also vulnerable, caring, and reckless. There was a big exploration in this book about traditional gender roles and many of the characters didn't quite fit into the box that others were trying to put them in. And like most YA it was a book about fitting in and finding your place. Tiger Lily didn't quite fit in, even with her own people and it made her easy to empathize with and want to succeed. I also really liked Tinkerbell for her feelings of being an outsider. So many of the secondary characters felt like outsiders too and they were all very interesting. Things did get a little political at times but I enjoyed that deeper aspect of the story.

Despite the fact that I did enjoy the story, I didn't quite fall head over heels for it and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it was because there isn't a lot of thrilling adventure until the very end. The plot was a little slow to pick up and it had a lot of character exposition and world-building at the very beginning. I would have liked a little more action but that's just a personal preference. A lot of people also talk about the romance of this book at to me it was such a minor thing. It was more about accepting and finding where you belong. If you like character-driven stories with beautiful writing then you will love this book. Despite the lack of action, the prose of Jodi Lynn Anderson's writing redeemed things a lot for me. It was poetic and haunting adding to the slightly depressing tone of the story.

I give Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson an 8.5 out of 10

This is definitely a book for people who love Peter Pan, retelling, or depressing stories about love. If you are looking for a unique read that will make you feel things that you didn't expect then check this book out. And just in case you are considering reading it, Amazon is currently having a sale where you can get the e-book for $1.99 so hurry and go get it!

If you have read Tiger Lily what are your thoughts? Leave me a comment so we can keep the conversation going and of course... HAPPY READING!


  1. Would love to read this!

    I love your blog so I nominated you for a Liebster award! Check out my post for more details if you're interested:

    1. You should check it out! I know Harper is doing a readalong right now so it may be the perfect time to check it out! And thanks for the nomination.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Tracy! I did a Leibster post awhile ago but I commented on your post.

  3. I absolutely loved Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson; it's one of my favourite books. I loved the writing as well, and I was very moved by the story because of it — I fell for Peter along with Tink and Tiger Lily, and I felt their pain. Your review is excellent; you got the book spot on. :)

    1. Thanks Julia! I really like it. I'm not sure I totally fell for Peter but I definitely fell for Tink, Tiger Lilly, and Tick Tock! The writing was definitely the best part, it was so gorgeous and it definitely made the story more moving!

  4. I've always thought the premise for this book was so interesting and captivating. I would love to read it, but keep forgetting to borrow it from the library!