By: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date: July 3rd 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Summary (via Goodreads):
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.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been much of a fan of the Peter Pan story (I’ve not actually ever read it) and have only seen the Disney version a couple times as a kid. I couldn’t even recall who Tiger Lily was in the original story so had to look her up. I was drawn to reading this retelling/reworking because of all the wonderful things I’ve heard about this book and how it is said to punch you in the feels.
I was beyond overjoyed when I finally got a break in my reading schedule to pick this one up and finally fall in love like so many other readers. Sadly, I didn’t love this one to the depth that others have and had some issues with how the story was told. We follow Tiger Lily’s story through the eyes of Tinker Bell. I did find it interesting to imagine how it would feel to be so small you could escape most notice but I really had an issue with the fact that Anderson says that fairies have no language yet Tink is telling us this story. It’s a small pet peeve but it marred the story for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the entire time I read. I would also catch instances where she would think back at sayings and advice given from her parents. I also felt that having the story told from Tinker Bell’s POV disconnected me from Tiger Lily since I never felt a deep connection with her character.
Beyond that initial pet peeve the story did flow rather well after the midway point and kept my interest. As stated above, I’ve never read Peter Pan, so I couldn’t say how far off any of the reimagining was but it worked for the most part for me.
As for being punched in the gut with the emotional climax of the book–not so much for me. I didn’t shed a tear though I could see how it could bring them to others. I actually enjoyed the end and how Anderson wrapped things up for Peter, Tiger Lily and the others.
I, for the most part, enjoyed Tiger Lily’s character- her stubborn streak along with her loyalty and drive to do the right thing. Sadly, I never did feel connected to her and her feelings to the depth I desired. I think that this was due to seeing her through Tinker Bell’s point of view.
I felt that Peter was likeable and I enjoyed seeing him from this perspective. My favorite part about him were the glimpses into his insecurity in taking care of the Lost Boys. As for the romance between him and Tiger Lily–it was sweet and frustrating. I was aggravated by the lack of communication between them but found it very realistic for first love.
Captain Hook and his gang were the least developed of the characters for me, though Anderson did try to give more insight into Hook and Smee. I found that Hook wasn’t much of a threat which left me disappointed because I felt that in this darker retelling he could have been much better developed.
I found Tiger Lily’s tribe members to be very interesting and honestly felt the most connected and sympathetic to her adopted father, Tik Tok. His story and outcome hit me the hardest out of all the characters (including Peter and Tiger Lily).
I found the tribe member’s shift in perspective and ideals from the Englander’s presence to be horribly sad yet a bit unrealistic because of how quickly they shifted gears and acceptance. They were incredibly closed off to the first Englander that washed ashore and punished Tiger Lily for helping in any way. To think that they would suddenly switch to belieiving and trusting everything he said to be a bit far fetched. I do think that Anderson successfully showed the strain this had on Tiger Lily and her inability to juggle her duties there versus her new found adoration for Peter and his Lost Boys.
Though I had some trouble with Tinker Bell’s narration and didn’t get overly invested in the relationship I still found that my heart was tugged (unexpectedly) and I would say that by reading Tiger Lily I have more of an interest in the original story and seeing how things were changed in this retelling.