Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Digital Audiobook narrated by Cassandra Morris
Published by Listening Library on May 14th 2013
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Retellings
Length: 292 pages or 7 hours, 13 minutes
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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.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.
Neverland is complicated.
You have faeries running off to spy on 15-year-old girls, the same girls running off to run around the forest like a wild beast with a pack of boys, drunk pirates trying to kill said boys for no explained reason, and missionaries coming in to convince the tribe to bully their wonderful transgender shaman to deny who he is.
This book is marketed as a love story between Peter Pan and Tiger Lily and I can feel the author trying to do that, but honestly? This is just a mess. It’s told in the POV of Tinkerbell, who is self-admittedly useless to the situation. The perk of this is that, HEY! Faeries are telepaths so now we can hear everyone’s thoughts, as well as random interruptions about how Tinkerbell loves Peter but he’ll never really notice her because she’s small. Tinkerbell tells us that Tiger Lily loves Peter Pan, but I don’t get that impression at all. The only person I can feel that this angry, selfish little character loves is her adoptive father, Tik Tok.
Tik Tok is the small redeeming quality of this book.
He is smart and interesting and kind. I loved all the scenes with him, and my heart BROKE when Phillip and the village destroyed his soul. There’s a commentary to be had here about religious beliefs and acceptance of transgender peoples and to see everyone turn on him was devastating and horrible.
Also, speaking of horrible things that could have used deeper focus and discussion, can we spotlight for a moment that I’m pretty sure in the middle there, Giant RAPED Moon Eye? And nobody is talking about it? Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell are so wrapped up in running back to hang out with Peter Pan that not only has she failed to protect the things that her adoptive father held so dear, including his identity, but she barely notices the red flags when her only female friend has been raped? Did I miss something?
Other disappointing messes?
- The drunken, angry, pointless pirates.
- Physical abuse which Tiger Lily takes quietly.
- The fact that every time Tiger Lily is with the Lost Boys someone is pointing out her physical faults or calling her ugly.
- Not horrible but not great representative of Native people.
- Awkward insertion of bits from the fairytale (hook’s hand, the ticking crocodile, etc.)
Let’s move on to Neverland itself.
Neverland is written as a real place in a real ocean, not the old “second star to the right” adage that we know so well. While this is a choice that takes the magic from the place, it’s written well in this want and although I personally didn’t like it, that’s not enough to take a star off for the world choice.
I found the writing not to my taste as well, although this may have to do with Tinkerbell telling the story. She’s a character I have never enjoyed.
I found this book disappointing, scattered, and boring. It was nearly a DNF, but I powered through and finished it this afternoon. It’s not one I would add to my bookshelf or read again.