Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: YA, classic retelling, romance
Published on July 3, 2012
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 292
Read From: 12.13.12 - 12.15.12

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 for an uncertain future with Peter. 
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers are 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.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Divided. The colors are pretty, and the font, but it took me an extremely long time to finally realize what it was supposed to be a picture of.

Characters: Tiger Lily was a success - I really liked her, and I was extremely pleased with this, because Tiger Lily has always been my favorite character in Peter Pan. The Author successfully portrays Tiger Lily has a strong, proud, no-nonsense, reserved girl who isn’t trying to make a point with her strength; she just wants to be left alone. She’s a woodsman, an outcast of her village who has had to build up a wall of hardness to protect herself. While I didn’t like it when she was mean to Pine Sap, I mostly saw it as a defense mechanism because she was (rightly) afraid that Pine Sap wanted them to be more than friends. The insight the Reader is given into Smee and Captain Hook’s pasts was very interesting, and furthered my appreciation for them as villains. But. That being said, I must address to glaring problems with Peter Pan himself. One: he was too old!!!! What ever happened to the boy who never grew up? In the original story, that was meant literally. Peter Pan hadn’t even lost his baby teeth yet in J. M. Barrie’s classic children’s story. He wasn’t a teenage guy; he was a young boy. In this story, Peter Pan doesn’t even act like a kid; he just behaves like a jerk who has a very short attention span. In the original story, Peter Pan clearly thought everything was a game. The Lost Boys are all too old as well, though Wendy was properly annoying - she struck me as a completely manipulative little brat, and Tik Tok was just . . . pointless. I don’t get why the Author had to make him the way he was (gay, transvestite; I’m not sure which he was supposed to be, but it was unnecessary). It honestly felt like she just did it so she could turn Phillip into the cliché judgmental and ignorant Christian who tries to change the “quaint” livelihood of the village.

The Romance: The Author tried to do a Romeo and Juliet with this story, and in doing so, she ruined Peter Pan. She upped his age to way too old, while still trying to maintain some of his “kiddish-ness,” but all that did was make him the last sort of person you would want to date. While Tiger Lily didn’t become annoying once her interest in Peter Pan was piqued, I also didn’t sympathize with her plight, because my thought was, Girl, run away now. I did sympathize with her when it came her forced engagement to Giant, who truly is a despicable, horrible, lewd man. But why she had to choose between either, I don’t know. Personally, I wanted her to end up with Pine Sap. He was kind, stable, and cared a great deal for Tiger Lily.

Plot: It mostly revolves around Tiger Lily and Peter Pan’s romance, and I have already voiced my opinion on that: it didn’t work. You can’t turn Peter’s story into a star-crossed lovers tragedy.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: I really liked Tinker Bell as the narrator. Tiger Lily is not the sort of character who would tell her own story. Tinker Bell gave a very convincing “these are the events I observed” type of narration, and her attachment and care for Tiger Lily actually made me like her a lot (Tinker Bell has never been a favorite). What I didn’t like was what the Author did to Neverland itself. In trying to place the fairy-world literally on Earth, she took away all of its magic. Neverland turned into a harsh, swampy, hot, buggy, and miserable jungle. There’s absolutely nothing appealing about it. My inner kid was screaming at the transformation of a place I always dreamed of visiting in my kid imagination.

Content: It is implied that Moon Eye is raped.

Conclusion: It’s true that the original Peter Pan doesn’t have a strictly happy ending - I always found it kind of bittersweet - and Tiger Lily is the same way, except more bitter than sweet. I was already on a massive disappointment roller coaster, so to have it end the way it did just depressed me. So I guess this is my final opinion of the book: Tiger Lily is a very good protagonist - I loved her. But everything else was depressing. J. M. Barrie, I believe, would be appalled.

Recommended Audience: People who are a fan of J. M. Barrie’s original story of Peter Pan will be extremely irked with this one, but those who don’t mind a much older Peter who would be the world’s jerkiest boyfriend might enjoy this Author’s retelling. Girl-read, fifteen and up.

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