I just finished reading Tiger Lily, the first book by Wende Dikec. It sounded interesting, though it's not a book I'd usually pick up on my own. I'm really glad I read it! I had a hard time putting it down. I've been reading and writing a lot of darker, more serious books lately, so Tiger Lily was a nice break from that.
In Tiger Lily, Lily Madison dies. When she's resuscitated, she finds that she's able to see ghosts, which appear as fuzzy blobs. One does not. Nick is a very attractive, mysterious teenager who doesn't know what happened to him. Lily needs to gets the ghosts home and find out what happened to Nick.
With Nick following her around, Lily develops feelings for him. She worries that sending the ghosts back to where they came from might also mean saying goodbye to Nick. But if she doesn't, something darker will be unleashed on the world.
With the reluctant help of Zoe, a goth girl who is very different from Lily, Lily is determined to set things right even if it means going against her family and friends.
The main character, Lily, is a spoiled rich girl. She always has matching outfits and worries about silly things like having perfect nails and a blue tooth ear piece clashing with her outfit. I worried I'd have a hard time identifying with her (Zoe is more my speed), but that wasn't the case. Though she comes off as superficial and neurotic with her constant use of hand sanitizer, there's a lot more going on with her. I liked her voice, and once Lily's inner demon is revealed, I had a lot of sympathy for her.
I loved the other characters too. Zoe with her cool exterior and Nick's sauciness. There was a good mix of personalities and I liked the way they came together. Nothing felt forced. Though Wende played on some stereotypes on the surface, the characters were genuine people underneath what they wore. One of the best parts was when Zoe dresses Lily up to go to a nightclub. It reminded me of the time I did a similar thing to a friend of mine.
As mentioned in the interview I did with Wende, Mr. Wan wasn't intended to play a big role in the book, but ended up being important. I can see why. I loved his character along with Miss Lin at the manicure shop. They added a lot of personality to the story and helped Lily with her personal growth. I liked that the adults in the book were truly adults. They weren't there for window dressing or dumbed-down.
I've said before, I'm a sucker for a good love story. It doesn't have to be the focus of the book, but I always enjoy a romantic sub-plot. This one delivered. I liked the dynamic between Lily and Nick. I could see why they would be attracted to each other. I was really pulling for them.
Though the story had it's intense moments, that even brought tears to my eyes, overall it was fun. The banter between the characters and Lily's determination made it an entertaining read. Once I hit the half way mark in the story, I didn't want to put it down because I needed to know who Nick was and if they were going to get all the ghosts back...not to mention, if Lily and Nick would ever be together.
I highly recommend Tiger Lily to any fans of young adult. It was fun, heartbreaking, and entertaining. I look forward to reading more from Wende.