Yes, as you might have guessed, this story takes place in Neverland. Yes, we meet Peter Pan and Wendy and Captain Hook. But if you’re expecting the sugary cartoon escapades of the Disney film, or even the dark magic of J.M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan and Wendy, you’re in the wrong place. This is something else entirely, something new and a little surprising.
Tiger Lily has never quite fit in with her tribe. Adopted by the shaman, Tiger Lily has been raised in the tiny village but never truly accepted. Still, she abides by the rules: never wander off, never oppose the pirates, and avoid the Lost Boys at all costs. Everyone on the island knows their place, and so Neverland stays in a sort of uncomfortable balance. But when Tiger Lily saves a strange Englishman from shipwreck, she finds herself slowly but surely challenging the status quo. And when she meets the mysterious, impish Peter Pan, her entire world is flipped upside down. In the end, a terrible choice must be made: leave and grow up with Peter, or stay in the home she has always known.
Here’s the thing about this book: it doesn’t care about expectations. It’s not restricted by preconceived notions of who Peter Pan is and where he comes from, or even what becomes of him in the end. It’s not a slave to Barrie’s plot or characters. It is not, most certainly, a retelling of the original.
DC-based author Jodi Lynn Anderson gives a voice to a character that is usually left silent, and it’s the sort of unique, multi-faceted voice that keeps you interested and engaged. This is a great read for teens who have fond memories of their own Neverland games, or who perhaps are swept up in the many current stage/film/TV spinoffs of Pan’s tale.
Also, can we gaze at the cover for a brief moment? It looks like a flower (a tiger lily, even?), but look closer. It’s a leaping girl in a dress! Surprise! I usually dislike the “girl in prom dress” covers so prevalent in the YA section, but this one’s creative. I give it a thumbs up.
Read on, readers!
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson; HarperTeen; 17.99; Ages 12+