Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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.

Release date: July 2012.

Truth be told—I’ve never been a huge fan of Peter Pan.  I remembered a few things about the books/movies, but other than that, I had a pretty unbiased view of the storyline and characters (especially Tiger Lily).  Therefore, I was surprised to find myself pretty invested in this original retelling of the beloved story of Peter Pan and Neverland.

I enjoyed how the story was told from Tinkerbell’s point of view.  Although mute, Tink had the ability to read individual’s minds.  This ability helped readers gain insight into character’s inner thoughts.  I expected some high adventure and magic, but instead, the book was completely character based. It is through the characters that Anderson allows for subtle social commentary on sexual identity and religion.  I grew to love these touching individuals and experienced their heartbreak too. This heartbreak added to the overall sadness of the story that Tink warned about in the first chapter.  Tiger Lily’s remarkable ability to remain strong despite the misery around her is what differentiates her from other female leads.

Overall, this is a wonderfully written fresh take on a classic story.  However, one doesn’t have to be a fan of Peter Pan to truly enjoy this novel.  A recommended read.

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Review: The Way We Fall (Fallen World #1) by Megan Crewe

Goodreads:

It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you’re dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.
Because how will she go on if there isn’t.

Fascinated with illness and disease? Pick up this one!

Although the book (written as a journal entry) started off slow, I really enjoyed the premise—a remote isolated island off the coast of Canada being destroyed by an illness.   Props to Crewe for making a fictitious infectious disease believable!  I must admit- at first, I rolled my eyes and scoffed at the ‘telling secrets’ symptom, but later found it unique and fitting.  As expected, everyone reacts differently to life or death situations, and the community members in this book are no different.  I enjoyed reading about individual responses to the illness, including those of the medical community.  Readers watch Kaelyn develop from a painfully shy girl to a strong brave woman not afraid to help save her community and family (even if that means putting herself at risk).  It really makes you think how far you would go to save your own loved ones.  However, speaking of love – I really could have did without the minor romance in the book.

Overall, I truly believe this could have been a great stand-alone title, but like the majority of books being published these days, this book is the first in ‘Fallen World’ series.  In addition to the abrupt ending, it was obviously set up to encourage readers to pick up the second book to find out more about Kaelyn’s brother, and Leo.

Review: Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It’s true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey’s life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.

Everything changes when Joey’s mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey’s father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey’s life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.

 <— Love the cover.

This is one heck of a dark, depressing and creepy book. The description of decaying corpses is enough to make your stomach churn (coffin liquor anyone?) However, the intense dark matter it what makes it so unique and original. It is definitely something I’ve never read before.  I especially enjoyed learning about the history and mythology of grave robbing. At the same time, I wondered how exactly Kraus completed his research for the book. It felt like the detailed descriptions stemmed from actual experience-including how to escape being buried alive, and how to rob a grave without being detected.  A less morbidly explaination points to Kraus’ excellent writing ability (which is undeniably evident throughout).

Although it is based on grave robbing and death, there are also many other themes and issues in the book including family relationships and bullying. I don’t understand how his biology teacher could get away with such harassment. I felt sorry for Joey, but also frustrated and angry with him for not seeking help.  In the end, I was satisfied with Joey’s story and the ending. While Joey’s story could be continued in a series, I’m glad it remains a well-written stand-alone title.

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