Mini Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily is already callous to love stories and happy endings, and she’s only 15. Then she meets Peter Pan, and everything changes. This story is told by Tinker Bell, and it goes through the struggles that Tiger Lily faces with pressures from her tribe, an arranged marriage to a horrible man, and her love for Peter Pan that’s both destructive and beautiful. But when Wendy Darling shows up, Tiger Lily begins feeling replaced, and her real enemies come out.

I wasn’t as in love with this book as everyone else seems to be. There isn’t really any reason for this, either. I liked it. It was good. It was entertaining, but it wasn’t earth shattering.

I liked that it was from Tinker Bell’s perspective because it added to the style of the novel. It’s a fairy tale. This perspective made the novel still seem like a storybook and almost detached the readers from the characters because they felt like characters throughout the entire book. This also allowed for some of the major themes to shine through much clearer.

“Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we’re only what we’ve done and what we are going to do.”

It makes you think: maybe characters and people aren’t that different. It’s also ironic because they are just words on a page, which is a little depressing. Because people aren’t even words on a page. We’re just what we’ve done and what we’re going to do, so who will even remember us if we aren’t stories?

Anyway, I liked the dimension that it gave to the original Peter Pan story. Tiger Lily wasn’t just a passing chapter, she meant something. As a boy who never grows up, he must go through a lot of adventures and meet a lot of people, and Wendy certainly wasn’t the beginning of that.

I adore fairy tale spin-offs, and this one is definitely a good novel to read. I recommend it, but I wasn’t head-over-heels in love.

3.5 Stars

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ARC Review: Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Delilah has successfully removed Oliver from her favorite fairy tale and replaced him with Edgar, who agreed to take Oliver’s place as Prince Charming in the book. Things couldn’t be better. Well, there are a few complications. Oliver has to pose as Edgar at school, and a fairy tale prince and a modern teenager don’t have much in common to work with. So while Oliver and Delilah couldn’t be better, the world seems to be pit against them. For one, the book wants Oliver backs. And Edgar’s mom (and the author) seems to be a little suspicious. As if normal high school drama wasn’t plenty enough already.

I read Between the Lines and had some mixed feelings about it. It’s entertaining and fun to read, but I wasn’t thrilled about everything. And I feel the same about its companion.

So the things I liked. I like the idea of this book. A girl falling in love with a fairy tale prince and lifting him out of the book? Sounds like something I’d only dream about. It’s obviously a fantasy book, but it’s written as a contemporary romance, which makes the whole wish upon a star magic seem all the more real.

I thought all the dialogue seemed very genuine as well. I admittedly chuckled as some witty remarks or nodded along, and, especially for a fantasy book, this is rare. I did think some events and the portrayal of high school were too… convenient. For example, Oliver drew a scantron picture on the SAT and got a perfect score. And I’ll be honest– the popular girls at school aren’t usually outfitted in high heels and lip gloss and booty shorts. And they usually aren’t that mean, either. Sorry to break it to you, adults. High school isn’t actually like that.

Also, maybe this is just because I’m cynical, but I felt like everyone loved too… deeply… to be real. Like when Edgar and (SMALL SPOILER SHIELD YOUR EYES) Delilah’s best friend fell in love, it happened way too fast and too hard and it just didn’t seem real. And I don’t think it was fair that Oliver and Delilah got their happy ending but Edgar and Delilah’s best friend didn’t. Just because they’re supporting characters doesn’t mean they’re feelings are less important! (END SPOILER)

Veering away from the content for a bit, I still don’t like the different color fonts. The colors change for each perspective (there are three), but I would just rather read plain black print. It does fit the playful mood of the book, so I could see why they chose to do it that way. Plus the illustrations are fun.

The book overall is entertaining and kept me completely engaged. While some parts are a little convenient and predictable, it doesn’t take away from the story. Sometimes you need something fluffy and cute to read, and this book is definitely it.

In addition to the fluff, though, there are little snippets of seriousness and commentary about the reality of books versus actual reality. It’s enough not to make the book too deep but also give the readers something to take away from the plot. The whole premise of the story is pretty much geared to people like me: intense readers who would love to step in/ bring characters out of their favorite books.

I do recommend this book, especially as a twist on the usually YA contemporary romances, because sometimes pulling a prince out of a fairy tale is a bit more exciting than just another beach “love.” I didn’t love everything about it, but it’s simple and quick and will keep you interested.

**Thank you to Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.**

3.5 Stars

 

Novella Review: No Place like Oz by Danielle Paige

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This book is the prequel novella to Dorothy Must Die, and it explains how Dorothy became evil and why she “must die.” It takes the reader on a journey beginning in Kansas where Dorothy finds herself bored with home and wishing for the magic of Oz again. With some wishing and some good ole’ witch magic, Dorothy is back in Oz and ready to stay awhile. But, this time, not as a guest. She is wishing for Queendom now.

I liked Dorothy Must Die and I read this book about a year after I read the first one, which I just want to lay on the table in case that affects my review. I can’t say I liked this book as much as the first one, though.

Alright, a prequel was definitely needed, and I think it sets a solid foundation for the rest of the series. But sometimes I feel like it’s better to leave some mystery in the story. I feel like this series is lending itself to too many novellas and side stories, and I think it doesn’t give the reader any creative work. Nope, you don’t have to think about anything because another novella is coming to explain it all. Then again, I do think this novella is needed for the story.

Dorothy is an obvious villain in Dorothy Must Die. There is no sympathy from the reader; she is cruel, unreasonable, and selfish at the expense of others. She needs to die? Good. No Place Like Oz humanizes Dorothy and shows her beginnings to make the reader feel more empathy toward her. No we’re thinking, alright, I can see why you left Kansas. I get it. That makes sense. I think humanized villains always make for a better story because it shows that the world isn’t always black and white.

The plot of the novella is perfect for explaining and shows a great bridge between the original Wizard of Oz and the new series. I wished the process of getting to Oz was explained more, but it’s never really clear in any of the series by Baum or Paige, so I guess that’s just the charm.

Otherwise, I just didn’t click with the book. I didn’t like the writing style used for Dorothy. It’s in first person, and the book is set in Kansas in the beginning of the 1900s. I feel like Dorothy’s voice should have felt older, but instead the words and dialogue flowed like an average contemporary novel, similar to the voice of Amy in Dorothy Must Die.

And, for some reason, I felt like all the dialogue seemed unrealistic. The motives of the characters were blind to the reader. Like Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. The two got sucked into going to Oz with Dorothy, and the entire time they just pleaded to go home over and over and over. I would personally love to be in Oz if my usual home was a gray shack in the middle of nowhere, Kansas. Since there was no clear reason to go home, I just felt like the conversations didn’t flow well with the plot line.

I would definitely call this novella a necessity if you want to read the Dorothy Must Die series, but it wasn’t my favorite book to read. I still plan on reading The Wicked will Rise, but I don’t think I’ll be picking up any of the other novellas.

3 Stars