Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: YA, fairy retellings, fantasy, romance
Publication Date: July 3, 2012 (expected)
Summary: 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.
☆: 4/5 – a wonderful retelling of “Peter Pan”!
Review: In both the original and Disney versions of “Peter Pan”, we don’t see much of Tiger Lily. We only see her as the one who betrays Peter and Wendy with the mermaids and, eventually, Hook and Smee. I always had a problem with that, seeing as she was the only person of color there and it seemed like she got the raw end of the deal. But with “Tiger Lily”, Jodi Lynn Anderson gives us a wonderful new look on the Pan narrative – and not through Tiger Lily’s eyes, but Tinkerbell’s on Neverland, the Lost Boys, and Tiger Lily as that partially antagonistic character. If you’re looking for a great new retelling this year, you have to give “Tiger Lily” a try.
What I really like about this retelling is that we’re given the theory that Neverland and North America are possibly the same place – that pre-Spain and England conquests, it really was this place where no one truly grew old, there were mermaids in the water, and faeries lived in the jungle. Of course, North America (and in specific, probably Florida or the Gulf Coast with its mention of jungles and swamps) is never explicitly named, but Englanders at that point in history were going to the New World, which was happening at the time. I thought that was an incredibly awesome idea – before Europeans and their religious notions came to the New World, it literally was the Fountain of Youth, Neverland. And Anderson really builds up this world where everything is possible really well – I felt utterly anchored in Tiger Lily’s world – even with the threat of pirates and Peter Pan as vengeful spirit, and mermaids eating people, I really enjoyed her village, and her (mis)adventures therein.
The characters also were very filled out – even down to Smee and Hook, everyone who played even a minor roll got a very full character. Anderson does this extremely well, and with few words, she’s able to firmly nail down who each character really was, and that really really impressed me. It’s hard to fill out a minor character with so few words, yet Anderson was able to do it really well with pretty much every minor character she had in the book. With the major characters, she took more time, but was able to fill them out just as well.
My only issue, hence bringing down my rating, was the pacing. At first it really kind of dragged – we have Tink trying to narrate both her own origins and that of Tiger Lily’s childhood at the same time – no easy feat, and while Anderson manages to get the words clear, the pace kind of got screwed up in the process. Until Tiger Lily has her first encounter with Peter Pan, things kind of plod along, and I wish this hadn’t been the case. Once the pacing problem ceased, the arcs executed more or less flawlessly and everything improved immensely afterward.
Otherwise? I really really enjoyed this one, and I think any “Peter Pan” fan is going to love it (especially with how Tiger Lily and Tink dealt with Wendy! SO AWESOME). I know I did. Its commentaries on the European Expansion, the idea of growing up, and one’s teenage years are wonderful, and really should be read. “Tiger Lily” is out from HarperTeen on July 3, 2012 in North America – this is definitely one fairy retelling you don’t want to miss this year!