Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: a Peter Pan retelling

Title: tiger lilyTiger Lily

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Genre: YA fantasy/retelling

Length: 292 pages

Published by: HarperCollins

Source: borrowed


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.

This book was definitely very different to what I expected. It’s written in a very literary style – lots of descriptions and explanations. Some of it felt like info-dumping. But I loved how uniquely the story was told. 

If you’ve seen the movie Peter Pan (the Disney one), don’t expect a slightly different version of it. Really the only similarity can be summarised by this GIF:

Tink does NOT like Wendy. But considering you don’t even get to see Wendy until the end, it’s a very small similarity.

Jodi Lynn Anderson certainly paints a complex society and version of Neverland. It’s been a while since I read the original, but there were a lot of added things, and just enough to keep the magic of it alive. It did get bogged down in details occasionally, though.

Also, I loved that it was from Tink’s perspective. That’s such an interesting way to tell a story!

There were quite a few things I didn’t like, though, and I’ve hinted at them already. Let’s do a list.

1) The details. It felt like a lot of it was telling instead of showing, so that I was only shallowly immersed in the world. LOTS of details, lots of info-dumping, I felt. I skimmed quite a bit

2) I got bored occasionally. This links into my first point. The pacing was pretty slow, and it took me a long while to finish this.

3) I would have liked to see more from the original story. This is a personal thing, so don’t let it change your opinion, but I like retellings that maintain links to the original. Not necessarily big links (I loved The Lunar Chronicles) but the best elements. This was what I thought was missing from Tiger Lily.

(there was no flying. This saddened me)


Nevertheless, this was a beautiful, complex story. It frequently surprised me, and Tiger Lily herself is a fantastic protagonist. Amazing writing, interesting use of Tink as the narrator, and overall a good one to add to the “retellings” shelf!

Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties


17 thoughts on “Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: a Peter Pan retelling

  1. Yup, I definitely get you here. I felt sad that Never land was all magical…but not THAT magical. Like people could come on boats? But….the Neverlandians still didn’t age? HUH. Also, sad because Peter wasn’t quite as Peter Pan as I wanted him to be. BUT ALL THE LOVE FOR TIGER LILY. And it was beautiful….*swoons* I wish there were more Peter Pan rewrites, actually. It’s my favourite.

  2. I never actually finished the original. .___. I got bored, LOL. This one made me snooze a lot. I guess it was the details for me, too! And the lack of flying… BOO! D:

  3. Ha! That gif of Tink and Wendy is perfection.

    This one is very high up on my TBR pile. I still may give it a go just to be sure. But I don’t typically like slow burn books. I’ve DNF several books in the past few days because it didn’t capture me quickly. So we’ll see.

  4. It’s strange to see so many differing opinions on this one, but the last few I’ve seen have either loved it immensely or it was just meh. That’s really sad, no flying. I thought it might have retained some of the magic from the original storyline, but really doesn’t sound like it. Is this the only Peter Pan retelling you’ve seen? They really seem to be branching out and gaining popularity more and more lately, I’ll still give this one a go, but also looking forward to seeing if any other authors give it a go. Fabulous review Em.

    • I know, it’s so weird! A lot of people have reviewed it as an “underrated” book – I guess because it’s quite different and people don’t always like different. This is the only Peter Pan retelling I’ve read, yes. But I love retellings, so hopefully we’ll see more 😀

  5. Awww, I’m sorry you didn’t love this one enough to give it 4-5 stars. I can totally understand your reasons for giving it 3 stars though (which, of course, still ain’t bad! :D) But I loved this retelling a lot, and I liked the slow pace, too, and the fact that we’re seeing the story infold from the perspective of Tinkerbell. It really could’ve used a lot of flying, I agree! 😉

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  6. This is one of my favorite books of all time, so I’m glad to see you liked it overall – even if the writing was a bit too detailed for you at times. I agree – it would have been nice to see more of the original story (a bit more of the pirates maybe?), but that didn’t bother me as much as it did you because – to me personally – this is Tiger Lily’s story and her story alone, so I didn’t feel the need to expand on that much.

    Nonetheless, glad to hear you enjoyed it overall! Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! ❤

  7. Pingback: What Happened This Week: handwriting challenge and TFIOS hit theatres | The Loony Teen Writer

  8. I didn’t realise this book was a retelling! I couldn’t even tell from the cover. Glad you enjoyed this one overall – it would be so interesting to read from Tink’s perspective. But like you, I would prefer more links to the original story as well. Great review Em! x

  9. I’ve got a copy of this on my shelf! Definitely going to read it, but only when I feel like leisurely reading. Ohhh, I didn’t know it was from Tink’s POV! A lot more interested now. I haven’t read the original story since I was a kid, so I don’t think that aspect would bother me as much. Plus, how gorgeous is the cover!! Love the review 🙂

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