Book Title/Author: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling
Other Books From Author: Peaches series, Loser/Queen, May Bird series
We all know the Disney version of Peter Pan with Wendy, Tinkerbell, the lost boys, Captain Hook. It’s a favorite! Tiger Lily is basically a prequel to the story of Peter & Wendy that we know and revolves around Tiger Lily — Peter Pan’s first love. Told from the perspective of Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily gives us the story of how Peter Pan and Tiger Lily meet and how they fall in love in the face of an impending marriage to the town jerk, dangerous enemies on the island and the arrival of the English girl Wendy Darling.
This was perhaps one of the most unexpected reads of the year and possibly one of the most underrated. I honestly was so surprised by it. I read it during a majorly huge reading slump 2 months before the wedding & I just was so surprised by how moved I was by this. I thought it was cool that it focused on Tiger Lily, a character I never got a sense of in the Disney movie, and I was just expecting a cute little retelling that was swoony and fun. I wasn’t expecting to feel ALL OF THE FEELINGS. I’m just saying…by the ending I was a hot mess. Seriously, there was gut-wrenching sobby feelings that stung deep down. Whew, I’m getting all emotional thinking about it and it’s been a couple of months since I read it.
I’ll say that it was slow moving in the beginning but I quickly found myself diving right in and wanting to know what happens to Tiger Lily and Peter Pan and the story was just so beautiful and magically told. Unlike jumping into most stories without having any previous knowledge of the world, most of us are familiar with Neverland and the basics of the story but Jodi Lynn Anderson makes you rediscover the allure & magic in Neverland but makes it a bit darker of a story and a world than we know. I just thought Neverland became even more of a real place in my mind and I rather like the visual Jodi Lynn Anderson created compared to my memories of the movie’s version of Neverland. I’ll say I didn’t understand a little bit of the whys to who didn’t age and who did and how all that worked but I was so swept up in the story and the romantical tension that I was like WHATEVER IT’S MAGIC.
And the way the characters are written? JUST WOW. Tiger Lily was a character who my heart just broke for and I just wanted to hug her. Peter Pan and the Lost Boys were just as broken as I’ve always thought them to be and Jodi Lynn Anderson really brought that out for me and I got a deeper sense of their brokenness. I thought Tinkerbell was interesting and I thought it was cool to have her as the narrator as she observes everything that goes down. Sometimes it was kind of confusing because I didn’t understand how Tinkerbell knew what Tiger Lily was thinking sometimes and some of those deeper emotions I felt from Tiger Lily I was surprised that I could get that from not being directly in Tiger Lily’s brain! OH AND TIGER LILY’S DAD IS AWESOME!
Tiger Lily was such an overwhelmingly moving book that I didn’t see coming at all! I couldn’t believe that I had tears running down my face by the end and my heart felt like someone had taken a hacksaw to it. What a gem this book was for me! I was just expecting a fun retelling but it really was much more of a magical, bittersweet and deeply emotional story for me. Definitely an underrated book that came out this year! It takes a little bit to get into at first but I couldn’t believe how incredibly invested I was by the end.
For Fans Of: Fairytale Retellings, Peter Pan, love stories that move you, magical stories
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Did you feel your heart being ripped out toward the end? WHAT ABOUT DURING THE LETTER??? I’m new to retellings so please give me some other recommendations for fairytale retellings!