You may think you know all there is to know about Peter Pan, but long before Wendy, there was Tiger Lily. Featured only briefly in the Disney movie, Tiger Lily receives the coverage she deserves in Jodi Lynn Anderson’s captivating retelling. The mute, insect-sized fairy Tink narrates the love story, revealing even more mysteries about Neverland.

The adopted daughter of her tribe’s cross-dressing shaman, Tiger Lily enjoys immense freedom until she learns that she is to be wed to violent, overgrown Giant. The forever-15-year-old accepts her fate until she meets the infamous Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. Their tentative and secret love, full of tenderness, doubt, companionship and jealousy, often surprises them both.

Readers will enjoy the intensity of the story, which intersects with Barrie’s and Disney’s versions, but the rich, complex characters earn the most appreciation. Tiger Lily must reconcile her duty to her tribe and loyalty to her father with her true feelings, while Pan fights to stay a boy as he wrestles with becoming a leader to his Lost Boys and finding the privacy that love requires. Even the minor characters—broken, alcoholic Hook, psychotic Smee and killer mermaids—elicit fascination.

With this quiet and bittersweet story, readers will never again think of Peter Pan as simple animation.

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