Crystal (Kris)'s Reviews > Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
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Apr 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, review-copy, books-reviewed, favorites
Read in June, 2012

Jodi Lynn Anderson skillfully weaves fantasy into reality in a Neverland that exists in our world. From the first pages, I was entranced by the broken imagery and haunting tone. Behind Tiger Lily's stiff exterior lies a girl's heart, and it is a heart that has suffered heartbreak, betrayal, and tragedy, and it is one that has inflicted the same pain in turn. Neverland may be an immortal place, but it is no paradise. It is a dark place where mermaids eat human flesh and some characters are half-crazed. It is all too easy to fixate your heart on something (someone) and develop an obsession in this world filled with many complex characters and broken souls.

A unique element to the story is that Tinker Bell is the narrator, a character whom I ended up loving just as much, if not more, than Tiger Lily. Tink is well-known for her obsession with Peter Pan, and I'm glad that this story gives both character a chance to be further developed. Tink may be envious of Peter's affections, but she doesn't let her envy swallow her good intentions. Being the observer for the most part, Tink is a reliable narrator, and it is through her that we learn important plot details and observations that no one else could have given us. My heart went out for her, the little fairy who fell in love with a human boy, and for the girl that the fairy tries to protect.

Tiger Lily is an oddity who has never really fit into her village, for she is different from the other girls. She is fearless and doesn't know how to open her heart. She is at the stage where thinks that she can live without love, without someone who accepts her and understands her, but she in truth needs that someone. For this reason, Tiger Lily is someone with whom every girl, and even guys, can relate. And we understand why she finds Peter and his life so desirable. Despite being broken in his own way, he is free unlike her, bound as she is to her village, and it is through their shared broken-ness and desire for recognition that they bond together. Not the healthiest way to start a relationship, but so very real and understandable.

Tiger Lily is a story of youth, first love, and heartbreak; a story about opening your heart to pain and loss, a story with magic and adventure. It is a story about going through the awkward phases of life when you don't know who you are or what you want to be, and it is about growing up. This story will forever have a niche on my bookshelf. One day, I want to share it with my children, after they have had the chance to revel in the magic of fairy tales with happily ever after's written at the end, once they have grown up a bit and are ready to face the yearning and heartbreak behind this particular fairy tale.

I recommend these to readers looking for a darker more mature classic retelling, a beautiful and haunting voice in YA lit, and a poignant coming-of-age story.

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For more of my reviews, visit my blog Imaginary Reads.
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