Friday, March 29, 2013

YAck Attack: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily 
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published: July 3, 2012

From Goodreads:
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

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.


Heidi: Also: The pirates’ captain was not a large man. Yet the others were clearly in thrall to him, their bodies turned toward him nervously. His wavy black hair was just going gray, he had high bony cheeks, and a piece of old, stained cloth tied around his head to hold back his hair.

Pretty sure this calls for slightly-graying wavy haired Hobbit RA. 
Nicole: I feel like a bad YACKer -- I've had the book for a month and still have no incentive to pick it up.

Chachic: Good one, Heidi! Didn't even think of that until you pointed it out. So yay, we've got RA covered for this book.

Nicole, sorry to hear that you haven't been in the mood to read Tiger Lily. Don't force yourself because you might not end up liking it if you do. I thought it was lovely though. Probably my favorite YAckers' pick so far (I've only participated in three discussions, I think?)

Nicole: Maybe the YAck can convince me!

Janice: I’m 30 pages away from the end, then I can talk about it. But I feel like this is a "first love" story. And it's going to end in this way that is going to be sad but also right for spoilery reasons which.. should I get into now, or are people still reading this book? Anyway, It's like this inevitable thing I feel like you can see coming from the first page. And the writing is incredible.

Janice: Ok, I finished it. Kinda broke my heart but felt like it had to go that way. Sigh-sob. This was a good one though, really.

Chachic: Janice, that's how I felt about it as well! That it was about first love and how sweet and tentative it was. But right from the start, I knew that there was going to be heartbreak and I was preparing myself for it. It's a really good book though. Jodi Lynn Anderson has beautiful words, I kept highlighting passages that I liked.

Angie: Well, I loved it. As you know. The things is, I think it shows a genuine skill to be able to take a story so familiar, so inevitable in readers' minds and breathe new life into it while staying true to the original and maintaining that tension and that relationship with your readers. Genuine skill. To say nothing of the words. WHICH WERE ALL THE RIGHT ONES.

Holly: Each and every one was lovely, Angie. And I didn't mind that it was bittersweet. It's Peter Pan after all, so that's a given if the retelling is going to be any good.

Chachic: Angie, that's a perfect description of what a good retelling should be. Tiger Lily was definitely that! It makes me want to read the original novel because I still haven't done that (I've only seen the Disney animated film).

Heidi: I'll admit, I had a really hard time with the way this one was written for about 125 pages or so. Using Tinker Bell's first person perspective really jolted me out of the story to start--I feel like we'd fall into these deep emotional third person observations and then be ripped back into Tink's head. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get over that but I did! I was able to fall into it and blew through the rest of the book in one sitting.

Bittersweet endings are honestly my favorite, because they are a real reflection of how life hurts, but it goes on, and that Happily Ever After really doesn't exist. I love how Anderson looked at first love with all its raw imperfections, and gave them something after the heartache.

The other big thing I noticed was how much this book was about who you choose to put your faith in. Tink loves Peter, but ultimately puts her faith in Tiger Lily, as do Pine Sap and Tik Tok. The pirates put their faith in Hook, the Lost Boys in Peter, the Sky Eaters in Phillip, Phillip in God--and so many of these 'leaders' fail. It's really heartbreaking.

Janice: I agree with Heidi that it was an odd choice for Tink to be the narrator when Tiger Lily is the focus. You had to go with the plot device that fairies can read feelings and thoughts from people as she explained it in the first couple of pages, but it was still an odd POV. I also wasn't sure why Tink ever needed to learn how to read so anything where she was reading something I was thrown out a bit. But these were minor issues for me.

I LOVE what Heidi says about the story being about who you put your faith in! I can see that! I was thinking something along the lines of how the story shows something about people and their capacity for really understanding each other. It felt like when one person wanted the other to be something they weren't, that's when things got pear-shaped versus letting them just be who they were. I was thinking about Tiger Lily and Peter versus her relationship with Pine Sap mostly, but it makes sense in the other relationships too. But I like seeing it in terms of faith in someone better.

I don't love bittersweet endings, but I liked this one because it satisfied something in me in regards to how I feel about relationships. But I have to say I'm more OK about how Tiger Lily ended up than how Tik Tok ended up. What happened for Tiger Lily hurt more while I was reading it because she was the focus, but Tik Tok - that one feels like it hurts longer because I keep thinking: what happened? And piecing it from what little there is, and still not knowing but trying to empathize: feels worse. 

Chachic: There were so many passages I loved and I wished I had taken note of. I am forever lazy about doing that and have to go flip back and find things after a book is done.

Angie: From the dedication to the prologue to that breathtaking moment when Tink comes THIS CLOSE to seeing Peter's face in London and turns back at the last second because she can't bear to, Anderson kills it word-wise. I also love that she made me want to read the story over and over again from each character's perspective. What I mean is, she made it so I had a hard time hating anyone. Not for lack of trying! But in the end, I wanted to know more about them all so I could love them the way I did Tink and Tiger Lily, Peter and Pine Sap. I would read this book from Hook's perspective in a heartbeat. Her glimpses of him were arresting.

Holly: I know, Angie, I wanted to hate Smee (who was very creepy), but I couldn't! Beyond his characterization, it also helped that he never even got close to hurting Tiger Lily. I couldn't have forgiven him if he had. I'm glad that the conflict between Peter and Hook never played out, so the focus could be on the many complex and heartfelt relationships. I loved the Tink/TL/PP triangle, Tiger Lily and Tik Tok, and Tiger Lily and Pine Sap relationships the most I think. I didn't get to know Wendy enough to feel more than ambivalence towards her but I do think that her take charge personality was more what Peter needed in the long run (but why couldn't it have been Tiger Lily? *sob*) Also, Janice, my heart ached a lot for Tik Tok, how he loses himself slowly until there's nothing left for him but to die. So sad. I'm glad that Pine Sap got his HEA though.

Holly: Also, I wish I hadn't been sick when I was reading the last third. I didn't mark any of my favorite passages, Chachic! I think I *need* my own copy to reread, stroke, whatever. And Janice and Heidi, not that I seek them out, but I think some of my favorite books have bittersweet endings. I guess I'm one of those people who like a good cry/heartache in the end to feel like everything's right in the world.

Chachic: I didn't have an issue with the story being told from Tink's POV. Like Janice said, I assumed it was because she can read feelings and thoughts so as readers, we can see inside the characters' hearts and minds. Also, since Tink can't really speak, her storytelling was a good way of letting readers hear her voice.

I love that Heidi pointed out that the story is about choosing to put your faith in someone and how that's portrayed in the different groups within the book. Because it really is about that! Choosing to believe in someone and respecting and loving that person for who she/he is.

I'm a big fan of happy endings but I love bittersweet stories because they feel realistic. Like what happened between Tiger Lily and Peter is how first love really is - hesitant and uncertain and an exploration of emotions that are new to both of them. How they're never sure of what the other person is feeling or thinking of. And how things don't always work out the way they expect them to. Jodi Lynn Anderson nailed it with this one.

I also felt really bad about Tik Tok, I wish things could have ended differently for him. I loved how he was at the start and then things came crashing down on him later on.

Heidi: I think in the end Tink's perspective worked, because she was more open about what Tiger Lily was feeling than Tiger Lily ever would have been herself.

Tik Tok's story broke my heart! I feel like Tiger Lily really let him down in the end. I'm not sure if she could have done anything to prevent Phililp's influence, but she didn't try, and multiple people asked her to.

I marked A LOT of passages in this one. The dedication "For the girls with messy hair and thirsty hearts." is one of my favorites ever, and in the end I think I added like 4-5 quotes to Goodreads. My FAVORITE passage in the book (the part that did make me tear up) was when Tink was contemplating when it was that Tiger Lily stopped aging, and liked to believe it was this regular moment in a regular day that was the most important thing that ever happened to her rather than any of the major life/death events that occurred in the story.

I also agree with Angie, I'd read this story over and over from any perspective, the one that most interests me being Hook's.

Sya: Obviously, I didn't read this. I'm just here to remind whoever is writing this up to remember the new "Who Would Richard Armitage Play" feature, as debuted last month. As Queen YAcks, Laura and I decree is must be so. At least, I do and I think it's a safe bet that Laura also does.

Nicole: That was the first comment, Sya. It has already been decided.

Chachic: Heidi, I agree. Tink is more attuned to Tiger Lily's feelings than Tiger Lily herself so the perspective really worked. And of course, I liked seeing her follow the other characters as well.

I did kind of feel that Tiger Lily let Tik Tok down a bit, especially since he asked her to talk to Philip. I don't think Tiger Lily could have done anything thought. The guilt at what happened will probably eat at her for the rest of her life.

What do you girls think of the cover? While I don't hate it, I'm not exactly a big fan. I would have liked it better if the cover design featured a fierce Tiger Lily instead of Tink.

Chachic: Nicole, have we convinced you to read this one?

Nicole: You’re making it sound amazing, actually, and I want to read it just for the WORDS. But not until after I read the original Peter Pan!

Chachic: Yes, read it for the WORDS! I haven't read the original Peter Pan either. That's why I checked with Angie first if it's okay to plunge into Tiger Lily even if I haven't read the original and it's totally fine.

Angie: Totally fine. Because it happily seems to be one of those retellings that works for those who love the original and those who hate it. Gosh, I love those kinds of retellings.

Chachic: Yep, those kinds of retellings are the best!

Angie: I have to say that another reason I liked that it was from Tink's POV is that she's a character who often gets maligned in adaptations, and I knew there was more to her. Her loyalty to Tiger Lily (and that moment when she realizes TG knew she was there all along) kills me. It's the same thing Anderson does with Hook. Black-and-white villain? I call shenanigans. I couldn't look away from him. And it was the same with Tink.

Heidi: Chachic, I had thoughts on the cover too. I used to be really confused by it, because I thought it was supposed to be Tiger Lily (I didn't realize Tink told the story until recently). I thought it was a) whitewashed and b) didn't accurately reflect what Tiger Lily would wear. I like it more since realizing what it is, but agree that it should've featured TL.

Angie: I totally agree! This one works for everyone, and part of what I loved is that it made me enjoy this character I'd always found REALLY annoying/bratty (Tink).

Janice: I read the original Peter Pan (lonnnngg ago), but I agree with Angie that this works for those who loved the original and those who didn't. And I agree with pretty much her whole last comment.

Melissa: Interestingly, Nicole, I'm not sure this draws on the Peter Pan book as much as it did the movie. Or, maybe that was just me: I kept seeing the movie (both the Disney animated which I hate and the live action with Jason Isaacs, which I love) in my brain. As for the rest of the comments, I agree. There is really nothing more to add. It was a good retelling of a male-centric story, and I appreciated the fleshing out of the female characters.

Chachic: Heidi, I hope the paperback will feature Tiger Lily on the cover. Oh I haven't watch the live action Peter Pan movie, maybe I should check it out since you loved it, Melissa. I also want to get a nice edition of Peter Pan (maybe the Puffin Classics one) so I could finally read it.

Heidi: Melissa, I should probably check out the live action too (I hate the Disney animated film,which is why I didn't bother). I do admit to loving Hook despite my hatred of Robin Williams. RU-FI-O!!!

Angie: The live action one with Jason Isaacs is so good. I love watching it with my kids.

Holly: Does anyone else have something to add? If not I'll get the post ready. I'm sorry I wasn't around that much for this YAck, but when I love something unequivocally sometimes there are no words to describe that feeling. Also, leave links to your reviews and I will include them at the end of the post per usual.

General consensus? Tiger Lily has WORDS, and we loved them all.

YAckers reviews:

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