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.
Before Wendy, there was Tiger Lily. This lovely tale is told to the reader through Tink’s observations. Tink is witty, honest, and such a fiery and perceptive sprite who cares far more about the well-being of her dear Tiger Lily than her status as near-bug. Tink leaves her family in the swamps to observe this quiet, stone-like girl and her growing relationship with the forbidden Pan and his lost boys.
Such a neat twist to the original story! Tinker Bell is not the jealous fairy we’ve all known, Tiger Lily isn’t unintelligent, Hook isn’t mad but is certainly ill, Smee isn’t a blubbering idiot but rather a man with an agenda, and Wendy is the epitome of unwanted colonization.
It’s an interesting young adult book with so many adult concepts packed within. Wendy and, prior to her arrival, Phillip, demonstrate the English’s desire to colonize natives of a new land. Phillip’s talk of religion and Wendy’s need to show the “proper” gender roles and take the boys home to a “safe” environment all echo every colonization story and history. Tiger Lily’s camp’s response fits the typical swaying and dissent natives would react towards colonizers. And then, of course, there’s the love story: the concept of various kinds of love, who is “right” for whom, the first love not always the best love. Tiger Lily and Peter Pan love one another, without really knowing what love is and what they want from each other. It’s not until Wendy arrives that both truly begin to understand that love comes in many forms for many reasons.
Apart from this analytical outlook and late night ramblings, I really did enjoy this. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read twists on fairy tales and twists on classic literature (without it destroying the original story). Fun thing to note: Tink’s description of fairies evolving from dragon flies left such a deep image in my mind that I found it endearing and enchanting all at once!