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Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
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Mar 30, 2011

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bookshelves: published-2012, g-retelling, z-first-reads, pages-300s, 2012-read
Read from May 24 to 26, 2012

What a sad, beautiful book. Full review to come.

Originally posted on Small Review.

3.5 stars (explanation of rating)

How I would have told myself to adjust my expectations

Don't expect a fluffy romance that will sweep you off your feet. It's harsh, cruel, and heartbreaking. It's not swoony and dreamy. It's raw, confusing, emotional, bittersweet, and tender. There are also many kinds of love explored, and each one of them broke my heart.

Don't expect characters who are easy to relate to or understand. These are not the type of people you invite to sleepovers.

Don't expect a quick moving plot. It's slow. But, it's like molasses: perfect when it's thick and slow, slow, slow. Some stories shouldn't be rushed.

Don't expect a light read. Do expect your heart to get ripped out and stomped into a million pieces. This is a dark book with unsettling characters and unhappy endings.

I'm having a hard time reviewing this

Tiger Lily is one of those books that's really hard to review because it is a book that I appreciate, but it isn't necessarily one I enjoy. Every bit of this book is sad, and while that almost makes it beautiful in a way, it's also, well, SAD. And I don't like feeling so dreary.

There were also somethings that happened and I'm still not sure how I feel about them.

One is a (view spoiler)

Also, there is the presence of (view spoiler), and I'm really tired of this plot point in books. It just feels so worn out, like that Christmas song that was annoying the first time but has been played fifty million times in the span of one festive month and I pretty much want to puncture my eardrums by the time new year's rolls around. It didn't help that this whole part felt forced and not really necessary, but maybe that's because I don't like this plot point ever.

These people are weird

Tinkerbell narrates and talks about how desperately she loved both Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, and how neither of them showed her much affection in return. Tiger Lily is an odd duck, almost feral and treated as an outcast but also loved deeply by a select few. Peter Pan is twisted, torn between the uncertainty of adolescence the responsibility of adulthood and the impulses of childhood.

All three are almost inhuman in their oddities and the detached way Tinkerbell describes them from her own non-human perspective makes them even more difficult to connect with. Even the traits I could have in common with Tiger Lily were made foreign by her entire aura of otherness.

I was fascinated by these characters, but it was almost the type of horrified fascination reserved for things like gruesome car accidents. These characters are all clearly broken and floundering, grappling blindly to put their pieces together. I so wanted them to be ok, but, of course, anyone at all familiar with the story of Peter Pan knows there are few happy endings in this tale.

Readers who like character studies, especially when the characters are complex, difficult, and despite it all, sympathetic, will appreciate the sensitive hand Jodi Lynn Anderson used to sketch these characters. They are not people who are easy to like, but they are easy to love.

Bottom line

This is not the kind of book for everyone, but I do think it will really hit its mark with some readers. If you want another light and fun fairy tale/paranormal-type book, then look elsewhere. This retelling is more like the darker fairy tales and I would probably give it to my more mature YA readers and not so much my MG tweens. Also, YA readers who enjoy serious contemporary books might like the focus on characters with "issues" and watching them navigate complex interpersonal scenarios.

Overall, I think the best way to describe my feelings is that I appreciate it. Reading Tiger Lily may not have been the most enjoyable experience (I'd give it about 3 stars because I struggle with sad books), but it was without a doubt a captivating and cruelly beautiful experience (I'd give it 4 stars for that). I am curious to see what Jodi Lynn Anderson writes next.

This is a standalone.

Originally posted on Small Review.
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Reading Progress

05/24/2012 page 105
36.0% "I think I like this..." 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-6)

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message 6: by Sierra (new) - added it

Sierra Abrams Oh so jealous...I definitely need this one very soon!!

Small Review You might not love it entirely. There was a religious subplot that I don't know if you'd like very much. I though it was pretty unnecessary. But, if you ignore that part I think you'll like it.

message 4: by Sierra (new) - added it

Sierra Abrams Hmmmm religious as in...? I'm intrigued!

Small Review Yes, there was a (view spoiler)

I didn't give exact details on what happened. Just a general idea of how religion played a part, if you're curious :)

message 2: by Sierra (new) - added it

Sierra Abrams Hmmm interesting. Sounds kind of weird. LOL I'll have to give it a go!

Small Review I'll be very interested in reading your thoughts :)

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