Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily

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.

First Impressions: I think this is a gorgeous cover. But Tiger Lily is not the girl in the beautiful dress. She is never that person, and not being that person is a huge part of who she actually is. And I think the cover designer really did a disservice to the book and character by not making a more honest cover.

Why I Chose This Book: My sister got me this book, knowing my love of retellings and Peter Pan. I will always be grateful to her for this. (Thanks, Sis!!)

What I Liked: SO MUCH. From the get go, this book is dedicated “For the girls with messy hair and thirsty hearts.” (Book hasn’t even started and the cover is already wrong, but whatever I’m not bitter.) This book is so gorgeously written, and it really keeps with the dark tone of the original work. Peter Pan has become so watered down in mainstream media, so I love seeing his portrayal in things like Tiger Lily and Once Upon a Time. He is so scary! And Anderson did a great job of staying true to that. Also, I’m not much of a Tink fan. Never have been. But this book is told from her perspective as she follows the characters around. And I love her!! She provides a more impartial view while still staying involved. I’ll include a few of the quotes I wrote down, but here’s one of the first things Tink says about Tiger Lily. “She was the most interesting girl I had ever seen, and I couldn’t resist staying near her to see what happened next.”

This book also covers some really intriguing commentary on current issues, such as the gender binary, murder, self-love, traditional gender roles. For example, Tiger Lily is cared for by Tik Tok, who “was born to be two genders…that’s the way he was made.” Smee kills those he admires most, and the more he admires, the more creative he gets. Tiger Lily struggles with loving herself so much, y’all. And it kills me. The whole tribe is pretty much against her because she doesn’t fit quite in. Here are a few quotes I wrote down just about that.

“…opinions by the dozen landed in each hollow track left by her feet.”

“Still, the longer I was around her, the more could see the colors of her mind and the recesses of her heart. There was a beast in there. But there was also a girl who was afraid of being a beast, and who wondered if other people had beasts in their hearts too. There was strength, and there was also just the determination to look strong. She guarded herself like a secret.”

“I’m not myself.” “You can never say that. You’re just a piece of yourself right now that you don’t like.” (Which I think is a crucial lesson for people to learn. You must address the aspects of your being to improve and be self-aware!)

“Everyone will think I’m ugly.” “That’s true. But we are a small village. We have narrow tastes. There’s no telling who else in the world would think you are beautiful.”

“Tiger Lily wanted to say it back. But she held on to the words greedily, too caught in the habit of keeping herself a secret. And Peter – half sadly, half expectantly – let her go.”

“I could never leave. Because I think people must be the same everywhere. Only these people are my bones.”

“She wasn’t sure what love was, but maybe she was supposed to bend.”

ISN’T IT SO BEAUTIFULLY WORDED, Y’ALL? I can’t handle it. I have so many pages of quotes from this book. Okay, fine, one more. But this one is about Peter.

“He never seemed to think over a decision, but merely plowed ahead, and somehow the earth always caught him in her soft hands. No one thought of doubting him.”

Also, the way Anderson included pieces of the original work brought so much happiness to my heart. Like the neverbird nest? I’m still swooning over how it was included. And if you know me, you know friendship love is my favorite kind. And we get a great BrOTP in Tiger Lily and Pine Sap!!

What I Didn’t Like: Not much, really. Oddly enough, I hated Wendy in this. And I am SUCH a Wendy, guys. Giant, the man TL is to marry, IS THE WORST. Ughhhhhh. But yeah, that’s all I don’t like. And they’re really just characters I didn’t like, not the actual book.

Ratings and Recommendations: For fans of Peter Pan, Once Upon a Time. For girls that don’t quite fit into what society expects them to be.

1. New Favorite Alert

Final Thoughts: This book is a love letter to girls that don’t fit in and refuse to change just to do so. I can’t wait to give this book to my kids.

Sound off in the comments: Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did you love it as much as I did? What’s your favorite retelling/alternate perspective book? Let me know!

Signature