Friday, March 22, 2013

Tiger Lily Book Review

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson. Release date: 2012. Publisher: HarperTeen. ISBN: 9781595145994.

Annotation: On the mysterious and remote island of Neverland, a faerie named Tink observes as Tiger Lily, a strong but misunderstood member of a tribe of Sky Eaters, falls in love with Peter Pan, the leader of the Lost Boys.   

Personal thoughts: When I was a kid, the release of the movie Hook was a big deal, so I have been a fan of Peter Pan and the rest of inhabitants of Neverland for a long time. When I heard about this book, I was immediately intrigued because Tiger Lily has always been one of the more sub-characters in the story with Wendy getting far more screentime. I think the author feels the same way as me (that Wendy is kind of irritating), so I’m glad she wrote this story that turns Tiger Lily into a Xena Warrior Princess type character. It was interesting to see Tiger Lily in this light, and I really enjoyed that the novel was narrated by Tink. The story is far from light-hearted, but I enjoyed reading it and hope that the author comes up with more classic reboots in the future.

Plot summary: On the mysterious and remote island of Neverland, creatures like faeries and mermaids are common. Inhabitants of Neverland only age to a certain point, and the island is divided amongst various tribes, a fierce band of pirates, and a group of Lost Boys rumored to be lead by a monster named Peter Pan. One faerie named Tink finds herself following Tiger Lily, a girl who is well over eighty years old but with the appearance of a fifteen-year-old. Tiger Lily has never really fit into her tribe known as the Sky Eaters. Both brave and strong, her tribe has always feared her, believing her to be under the protection of the crows. After being promised to a cruel and oafish man in her tribe, Tiger Lily meets Peter Pan and discovers that, not only is he not a monster, he is a charismatic and bewitching boy her own age who protects his group of Lost Boys from the pirates. Initially unsure of their relationship, Tiger Lily and Peter soon find themselves falling in love with one another, all under the watchful eye of Tink. The arrival of an English ship to Neverland and, in particular, a beautiful girl named Wendy, however, will change everything forever.

Review: Everyone knows the tale of Peter Pan, Wendy, Neverland, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys. A character who doesn’t always figure into the story in a positive light is the beautiful but wild girl named Tiger Lily. In veteran author Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Tiger Lily, however, the reader gets a new take on this mysterious girl and her relationship with Peter Pan, all from the perspective of a tiny faerie named Tink. A more gritty interpretation of J.M. Barrie’s mythical world of Neverland, the novel focuses primarily on Tiger Lily herself: who she is, her place among her people, and why she allows herself to fall for the unpredictable Peter Pan. The Disney version of the characters is completely absent from Tiger Lily. Captain Hook is a decrepit alcoholic who is obsessed with killing the person he views responsible for kidnapping his young cabin boys. His right-hand man Smee is a murderer and the pirates are dirty and constantly in a drunken stupor. Peter Pan himself is charismatic and charming, but slightly unhinged, leading his band of dirty Lost Boys in a constant effort to hide from the pirates. Tink is a quirky narrator who, incapable of actually speaking with Peter or Tiger Lily herself, observes their actions, giving the reader her interpretations and feelings on their relationship, particularly after the arrival of the spoiled and slightly bratty Wendy. Fans of the original Peter Pan story and its many iterations will enjoy this new look at the classic tale. For those who aren’t as interested in the characters themselves, however, the story might not satisfy as much, offering nothing that would entice teens who don’t want to read the novel simply based on it being a Peter Pan re-boot. Overall, an excellent story for teens and adults for like re-told classics, but not really for those whose tastes lie elsewhere.

Genre:  Fantasy

Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fay by Alex Epstein, Little Women and Me by Lauren Barazt-Logsted.

Themes:  Neverland, Peter Pan, Tiger Lily, Captain Hook, romance, acceptance, revenge, fairies, love.   

Awards/Reviews:  Starred review from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, positive reviews from VOYA and Booklist.

Series Information: N/A  

Discussion questions:

-       How did you feel about the character of Tiger Lily before reading the novel? Did your perspective of her change after? How did your perspectives of the other characters in Peter Pan change?

-          Why do you think the Sky Eaters feared Tiger Lily?

-          Why did Tik Tok dress like a woman? Why did the villagers attitudes towards this change after the arrival of Phillip?

-         Did you like Tink as the narrator of the novel? What role did she play in the story?

-       Why do you think Smee was obsessed with Tiger Lily?

-       Did you like Wendy? Why or why not?

-         How did you feel about the ending of the novel? Did you like it? Dislike it? Why?

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