I do this thing where I save quotes from books as draft emails and I was reading through them today. The one from this book hit me just as hard as the first time I read it so I thought I’d post the review I had written for Tiger Lily back in 2014.
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.
This re-imagining of Peter Pan is told from Tinker Bell’s point of view. In Neverland, faeries don’t speak. So they have gained the ability to look into people’s thoughts. And from the moment she saw Tiger Lily as a young girl, Tinker Bell has been intrigued by this young outcast.
Tiger Lily was found as a baby by the Sky Walker’s shaman, Tik Tok. I loved Tik Tok’s character. He renamed himself after he found a clock. He was an interesting character for sure. He kind of let Tiger Lily run wild. She was faster than the boys, a better hunter and generally looked upon by the other villagers as a bit of an oddity. When she was a young girl, and this is when she caught Tink’s notice, she was pushed into a pot of stew with the lid closed on her. She escaped but a few days later her tormenter’s karma caught up with them…and everyone thought it was Tiger Lily. The villagers given her a wide berth ever since.
Now about Neverland. Neverlander’s age. But at some point in their lives, and its different for everyone, they stop aging. Some say its when something pivotal happens in a person’s life. Some people remain young, some grow old. They also fear those not from Neverland – they’re afraid to catch the aging disease from outsiders. The Sky Walkers have a truce with the pirates – no one will do harm to the other. The Lost Boys are left to their own devices. Some are afraid of them and they hide deep in the forest, so no one sees them anyway. Hook, the captain of the pirates, hates Peter and is always trying to kill him.
Things change in Tiger Lily’s life when she sets out to help an Englander who’s been shipwrecked. The village made a decision to let him die, but Tiger Lily was curious and so she goes to him and feeds him. In doing so, she casts a little stone into the pond that causes huge ripples. First, her going against the decision of the village angers the villagers. But it is decided that Tiger Lily can continue to help the Englander. But she’s run wild long enough and now she must marry. And she’s promised to an odious man. To escape the new hell her life has become (her future mother in law is spiteful) Tiger Lily spends as much time away from the village as possible. In her wanderings, she catches Peter’s eye and he eventually extends an invitation to Tiger Lily to find him. Tiger Lily can be herself among Peter and the Lost Boys. Plus they’re a welcome distraction from what’s going on at home.
I loved Tiger Lily. The character and the book itself. I loved that Tiger Lily was the ultimate tomboy. She’s taciturn. She won’t speak unless necessary and she definitely doesn’t open up to anyone but Tik Tok, and even that eventually changes. She can’t give herself wholly to Peter either. She’s just not used to needing anyone and even though she’s crazy about Peter, she comes off as a bit aloof, which drives him crazy. She’s mindful of Tink, even though Tink thinks Tiger Lily is unaware of her presence 99% of the time. Tiger Lily may come off as snobby, but its not that, she has built up a wall around herself for protection, and no one really gets through. I loved her.
And the other characters in the book are great too. Tik Tok I mentioned. He’s the wise shaman who has his idiosyncrasies. And there’s Pine Sap and Moon Eye. I’d say they’re the only friends in the village Tiger Lily has. I had a soft spot for Pine Sap. Peter…Peter was interesting. He’s full of bravado that a young man must have when he’s the leader of a group of boys in the forest, but he’s full of insecurity too. He takes Tiger Lily on adventures and gives her fun. But he’s got a mercurial temperament that doesn’t leave one feeling settled in his presence. Tinker Bell was cute. She’s fond of Tiger Lily and falls in love with Peter. She has her moments.
Here’s a good passage to describe Peter Pan and Tiger Lily together:
She hated his need to always win and he hated her coldness during their arguments. They fought about the exact color of the sky and which path they should take on a hunt. They disagreed passionately about whose fish was the best tasting. They could work up extreme hatred for each other at a moment’s notice. “I’m nothing to you, am I?” Peter said once in a particularly intense argument about where to find wild turnips. To these kind of accusations, Tiger Lily would reply that he was trying to make her into his little chicken, and that she would never be anyone’s “little obedient chicken” – as if there were such a thing as an obedient chicken…When they made up, it was as if nothing had happened at all. In fact, it was like they were stuck even closer together, like they had gotten even more tangled in each other.
I loved the way the things going on in the village (with the Englander trying to convert everyone) all came together as Tiger Lily’s marriage drew closer and her bond with Peter grew stronger. She really was torn, and when Peter betrays her she breaks. Something had to give. Those last few chapters, where everything snowballed really had me on edge. And I cried. I love books that make me cry.
Tiger Lily was a great read. I was drawn in from the beginning and couldn’t put the book down. This is no Disney Peter Pan. I honestly don’t feel like I’m doing this book justice. I loved it and I highly recommend it. A