Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Synopsis: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring 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, 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 him. When 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.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Review: I ABSOULTELY fell in LOVE with this book! Even now, after some days have passed after I read it, I am still struggling to find the words to adequately describe just how AMAZING this book is! I laughed, I cried, my heart broke, and I found hope again. It’s not often a book can move me as much as Tiger Lily did.

Some backstory first. When I first heard about Tiger Lily I was instantly excited and deeply curious to see how the author would attempt taking a fairytale type story and making it fit into a an older Young Adult demographic. Everyone knows the Disney version of Peter Pan but Tiger Lily is so COMPLETELY different than the Peter Pan story readers are used to seeing or reading. Yes, Peter Pan is in the book. Yes, the lost boys are as well and so are Hook and Smee and Neverland and of course, Tiger Lily and Wendy. But the way these characters connect together and what they face is vulnerable and real and heart-wrenching.

Tiger Lily is living in a village deep in Neverland with her tribe the Sky Dwellers and is the adopted daughter of the Shaman, known as Tik Tock. She isn’t accepted by her tribe and outside of Tick Tock and Pine Sap, no one speaks to Tiger Lily or really goes near her, believing she has a curse placed on her by the gods. Tiger Lily’s childhood is filled with others in her tribe bullying her and nearly trying to kill her, so Tiger Lily closes herself off and keeps everyone, except for Tick Tok at a distance. One day, Pine Sap and the other boys from the tribe discover a ship that had crashed onto the shores of Neverland, leaving behind a lone survivor, an Englander. The Elders of the tribe decide that the Englander should be left to die since they do not trust anyone from the outside world. Tiger Lily sneaks away and helps to take care of the Englander, working toward nursing him back to health despite how the Elders feel. Then another ship sails into Neverland, bringing with it Captain Hook and the pirates.  Tiger Lily realizes the Englander can be in danger and as she heads off to see to his safety, she comes across someone she had never expected to meet, Peter Pan, one of the Lost Boys the tribe had always warned her about. That one instant encounter will change Tiger Lily’s life forever.

Tiger Lily is fiercely strong, a solid rock standing against a high current; she cannot be easily moved and has mastered the way to keep anyone from knowing anything about her. She is unflinching fearless and incredibly flawed. She has been treated with hate and indifference from her tribe for years, so Tiger Lily is bitter and angry. What she understands of love is what she has learned from Tick Tok who has been one of the only ones to really know her and see her, outside of Pine Sap. Tiger Lily struggles to understand her identity in the tribe, who she is as a woman, especially when Peter Pan comes along, and what love really is. I could relate and connect with Tiger Lily’s need to want to be accepted just for who she is and have someone REALLY see her. I just loved Tiger Lily from the beginning.

Pine Sap is Tiger Lily’s best friend, although Tiger Lily isn’t completely sure about that for a while. Pine Sap and Tiger Lily had grown up together and because Pine Sap was also shunned from the tribe, he would follow Tiger Lily around everywhere, his only friend. Pine Sap is nothing like the other boys from his tribe. He is gentle, kind, has a quiet strength and confidence about him, and a great deal of patience. He knows Tiger Lily better than she knows herself and loves her without limitations, or even expectations. He isn’t the strongest member physically of the tribe, but his heart is the purest and he would do anything he could to protect Tiger Lily, even from herself.

Peter Pan is just as magical as a reader would expect. He’s beautiful, ridiculously charming, bluntly honest, and undeniably naive. The moment Peter comes onto the scene with the Lost Boys, you won’t be able to keep yourself from falling as madly in love with him as Tiger Lily, Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, and Wendy. There’s just something so unpredictable about who Peter Pan is. Peter is adventurous and can be very fearless at times, but he’s also deeply plagued. Peter is a boy who not only lives out in the jungle, but has taken charge of a motley crew of boys he had helped free from the clutches of Captain Hook, and Peter and the Lost Boys are always being chased by Captain Hook, who is determined to get his revenge against Peter for taking boys from him. Peter has such a heavy weight of responsibility on his shoulders without fully being able to understand the consequences of having so much responsibility and how to respond to it. He is both a boy and a man stuck in the same body. Half of Peter wants to remain this innocent, fearless boy, never growing up, never moving forward, always climbing trees and having adventures. But another part of Peter wants freedom—freedom from the aching loneliness, freedom from the responsibility of caring for so many people, freedom from the dangers, freedom from the hardship of the jungle. When Peter meets Tiger Lily, you see both a more desperate side to him and a stronger side. He learns how to love with her and it shows him how to live.

The Lost Boys were funny, adorable, and sweet. But they were also very much afraid of the world around them and especially, what the pirates would do to them when they found them. My heart ached for the Lost Boys. They just wanted someone to love them and protect them. Peter does the best that he can and they would follow him to the depths of hell, but as strong as they can be, they are still young and although they have encountered the harshness of death and pain, they live in denial because they’re just as desperate as Peter to hang onto hope and innocence. I LOVED the way Captain Hook was portrayed. The story behind how he became Hook and lost his hand was completely different than what readers will expect. I loved how utterly broken and ruthless Hook was. He had very much a Doctor Jekyell/Hyde type of personality. I also loved Moonshine. She doesn’t have much of a role throughout much of the book but she is just as sweet and gentle and beautiful as Pine Sap. My heart broke for what Giant did to her and I was definitely onboard for Pine Sap to poison him in his sleep! Tic Tock was such an interesting character. He loved Tiger Lily completely and never demanded her to be someone she was not. He was wise and humble and kind. The ending to his story was so sad, I couldn’t keep the tears from shedding for him.

The world building is equally as well done as the characters. You really get to know, see, and understand Neverland. It’s a place with haunting beauty and deep, dark secrets. It’s place where innocence and the rawness of life clash constantly. Neverland is a place of wonder but it’s a place of magic, an ancient magic that is selfish. Once it claims you, it rarely lets you out.

One of the BEST elements to Tiger Lily was the narration which was done by Tinkerbell herself. I have ALWAYS been a BIG fan of Tinkerbell and this book made me love her even more. Tinkerbell is tiny, cute, spunky, and sees the deep truth to every character readers will encounter in Neverland. Tinkerbell has grown to love Tiger Lily and once Peter Pan comes into the story, Tinkerbell is as much of a goner over him as Tiger Lily. She is loyal to Tiger Lily because she has come to love her and admire her courage, so when Tiger Lily and Peter Pan start to develop feelings for each other and learn how to love, Tinkerbell finds her heart breaking but she cannot keep away, she must know what will happen with Tiger Lily and Peter Pan. She tells every piece of the story, no matter how heartbreaking.

The romance between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan is also one of the best elements to the story. Peter starts off curious about Tiger Lily, never having met a human girl, whereas Tiger Lily starts off their relationship distrustful but just as curious as Peter. I liked how Tiger Lily was a challenge for Peter. Not only did Peter have to learn to understand her but he was also taken aback by how much stronger she is than him, emotionally and mentally. Everything Peter loves about Tiger Lily, he also struggles to accept because he doesn’t know how to not be strong, how to really let himself love her without being afraid. He’s also arrogant and prideful so every time Tiger Lily can match his speed or courage, he doesn’t know how to handle it without getting mad. Tiger Lily doesn’t know how to completely let Peter in. She struggles between remaining true to her promises to her tribe and giving her heart away to Peter. Every moment of awkward conversation, every moment of watching Tiger Lily and Peter learning about each other, every small touch and every time they made eye contact, hooks the reader in. You’ll be rooting for their love right from the beginning.

There were only two real downsides to the book: the character of Wendy and the pacing for the first third of the book. The story starts off slow and gradually progresses to pick up pace, especially when Peter Pan comes in, but remains for the most part, gradual, steady. It takes some time to really get into the story but it’s totally worth sticking to. Wendy’s character wasn’t in the story for too long but she doesn’t make much of an impression when she does come in. She is selfish, ridiculously ditzy, and weak. I understand why Peter falls for her—Wendy could do the one thing Tiger Lily had never been able to: admit to needing him, it was the one thing Peter needed and Tiger Lily was too proud to do it—but Wendy just seemed to come off more as an afterthought in the story.

Tiger Lily is a book that deals with the loss of innocence, growing up, rape, secrets, bullying, love found and love lost with unflinching reality and grace. This story will break your heart, put the pieces back together with duct tape, and stay with you. It’s a story with love and light and beauty, and a story filled with pain, resentment, death, and sadness. You will find yourself falling in love with the story, the characters, and Neverland, even though you can feel how it will end.

Read this book. No matter what genre you usually prefer. This book is SO worth the time!

But be warned though, this is not for the faint of heart. As Tinkerbell warns in the beginning: Let me tell you something straight off. 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.” 

But Peter gives us some hope in the end to cling to, never having lost it:I like to think that one day after I die, at least one small particle of me - of all the particles that will spread everywhere - will float all the way to Neverland, and be part of a flower or something like that, like that poet said, the one that your Tik Tok loved. I like to think that nothing's final, and that everyone gets to be together even when it looks like they don't, that it all works out even when all the evidence seems to say something else, that you and I are always young in the woods, and that I'll see you sometime again, even if it's not with any kind of eyes I know of or understand. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the way things go after all - that all things end happy. Even for you and Tik Tok. and for you and me.” (Peter Pan’s letter to Tiger Lily)

One of my all-time favorite books!

About the Author: I write books about vaguely magical peach orchards, resorts in the afterlife, enigmatic island princesses beloved by Tinkerbell, and...civics! I was an awkward and strange child who kept lots of secrets. Now I live with a sweet Basenji dog named Peanut who loves to eat shoes, and a sweet husband who is good at all the things I'm bad at, like being organized and thinking things through. I've loved writing and reading about mythical and strange things since I can remember.

Where to Find the Author

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

TeamNerd Features!