Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Release: July 3, 2012
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair…Tiger Lily puts on no pretenses; it is not a traditionally cheerful, Disney-documented Peter Pan story. Anderson tells readers in the first paragraph of chapter one that her book does not have a happy ending and is not a typical fairy tale. I was not only prepared, but excited, to have my feelings shredded, so I entered Tiger Lily's world with my head held high, ready to take on whatever it threw at me. I quickly discovered, though, that this book planned to drag me on a whirlwind of emotions far beyond sadness, with feelings bleeding from the heartbreak I anticipated.
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.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.
Anderson manipulates her reader's emotions through her characters, all of whom are the sort of fictional people who inspire love, hatred, or something in between. However, the author does not simply craft empathetic individuals. She makes her characters stand out so brightly and affect readers so deeply by delivering their successes and losses in a unique and magical manner.
Tinkerbell, who sees almost everything that happens in Neverland, narrates this story, and her efforts to use her near omniscience to warn Tiger Lily create twisted dramatic irony. Thanks to the storyteller who is always a few flaps of the wings ahead, readers can anticipate danger approaching before Tiger Lily or Peter can, which forces readers to stay alert and look for perils. Constantly watching out for the characters makes caring about them inevitable, so it becomes simple to feel what they feel and experience important moments along with them.
Anderson also allows her characters to shine by contrasting their emotional maturation with a lack of physical growth. Tiger Lily may be an eternal teenager in body, but she gains centuries worth of wisdom throughout her tale. From confronting Englanders who try to flush away the Neverlanders' culture with western religious beliefs to exploring love in its many forms, Tiger Lily's cast faces troubles and triumphs that make each of its members grow up considerably. Displaying this developmental dichotomy makes the Neverlanders' personalities complex and forces readers to become even more attached.
Best of all, the author uses Tiger Lily to illuminate the stories of lesser-known characters who people often push to the back of their minds. The classic tale of Peter Pan does not hint on all the controversy and conflict its supporting cast faces and Tiger Lily barely makes an appearance, but Anderson's retelling makes the smaller character important. Tiger Lily's relative anonymity allows readers to get to know her as the person Anderson creates rather than compare her to the classic version of herself. This book's protagonist becomes more of a friend than an object for analysis, which makes relating to and cheering for her even easier.
By using these techniques to create a titanium bond between character and reader, Anderson sets up the latter party for heartbreak at her hands. However, as I previously mentioned, she does not only make her readers feel dark misery through her characters. Instead of brutally bestowing her fictional people with misfortune after misfortune, the author allows them to learn from mistakes, accept impossibilities, and most of all move on. This book's unconventional ending requires readers to think about what goes into a happy ending, both in fiction and the real world. Is happiness a place, a lifestyle, a person, or a combination of these factors and so many more? Could two people ever make someone else equally happy? The characters' answers to these questions may not be what they or the readers initially want, but by the end of the story they develop solid, confident responses. As a result, Tiger Lily ends hopefully, its characters forcing a small smile onto the edges of readers' lips.