Defying Gravity

Here are books that are not tied together by subject, but by the gravity defying sideways placement of photos or illustrations set on flat (with the exception of the Barrows book) backgrounds. This is another case where I wish I was a speedy reader (I’m not) and could have read all the books I comment on before commenting. Reading the CIP summaries, the only sideways image that makes some sense is the one on Crushed by Laura & Tom McNeal (Knopf 2006). Except… “Audrey’s life is turned upside down”… well this is not upside down. The only connection I can find in any of the reviews for The Boy Book by E. Lockhart (Delacorte 2006) is that the main character works in a zoo? Thus the plastic penguin? Reclining? Do penguins lay down?
This is a sequel, and if you look at the cover for The Boyfriend List, you can see the branding of this series. I think Lockhart draws readers anyway. But I wonder how many new readers she gets with these covers as the invitation.

Crushed Boy Book

The next two share the word “magic” in the title, but The Magic Half by Annie Barrows (Bloomsbury 2008) is a time travel and White Magic by Kelly Easton (Wendy Lamb 2007) is about a coven of high school witches in Santa Monica.
Not sure why the two Magic Half girls would come face to face while walking up a wall But this cover might attract the target age group.
The color scheme on White Magic doesn’t do a thing for me. This unattractive aquamarine color (I haven’t seen the real book, so I’m hoping it’s really not this exact color) is probably an attempt at a tie-in to beachy southern California. I don’t like the shapes, the colors, the font, and it’s weird to see these candles (with flames that couldn’t do what they are doing) sprouting from the side of the book. It does have this going for it: potential censors who don’t like books about witches won’t be suspicious at all.
Magic Half White Magic

I picture the designer puzzling over the material and looking for a trendy way to make a book jacket stand out in some way. It doesn’t work for me – seems like the last resort of a struggle. But I haven’t a clue what kids will think of these covers. Will this funky orientation draw them? Or not….

Crushed: Seventeen-year-old Audrey’s life is turned upside down when she falls in love with a mysterious newcomer and a vicious gossip sheet exposes the secrets of both students and teachers at her school. (Age 14+)
Boy Book: A high school junior continues her quest for relevant data on the male species, while enjoying her freedom as a newly licensed driver and examining her friendship with a clean-living vegetarian classmate. (Age 12+) Jacket design by Angela Carlino.
Magic Half: Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day. (Ages 7-10) Jacket design by Donna Mark. Art by Alexandra Boiger.
White Magic: Three high school girls in Santa Monica form a coven to try to get what they feel is missing from their lives. (Age 12+) Jacket illustration and design by Dustin Summers/Heads of State.

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One Response to “Defying Gravity”

  1. I’ve read the first two and not the second two — I never tied Crushed with its title, but it’s such a good book that I was able to shrug it off. Same with The Boy Book, the penguin… lying down… I don’t know what that has to do with anything, but big plastic toys are what they went with for the covers.

    I like The Magic Half much better than the other one, even though the background is a bit… perky? But aqua on a cover that doesn’t include water rarely works for me.

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