Light a Fire

Books on fire! Alabama Moon by Watt Key (Farrar Straus Giroux 2006) and Pucker by Melanie Gideon (Razorbill 2006) have similar licks of fire on black backgrounds and white title text. On each an additional element creates a different texture and emotion. The handwritten note “Dear Pap, I think the law is after me…” gives the sense of someone running away, while the hot butterfly rising from curly licks of fire feels like it foretells a phoenix rising from ashes (it sort of does).
Pucker is a funny name, but it fits nicely in the simple white font across the top. I can almost see a face in this flame… This one is more of a fantasy – ah, yes, I should have known. Butterflies often signal fantasy I think (I’ll have to look into this more).
Moon is a name. Son of an anti-government Vietnam vet surviving outside of mainstream society. Seems like Alabama Moon and Gordon Korman’s Schooled (mentioned in an earlier post) go together, but are opposite sides of a coin…
I find these covers kind of mesmerizing. Like looking into the flame at a campfire. Both are books I would pick up and read based on the cover draw.

Alabama Moon Pucker

Right Behind You Cheated

Two other books with fire on black, but the fire here comes from a lighter. These seem more ominous to me. Scary. Like a human being must be behind the lighting of this fire, and it is up to no good. It’s interesting that the font used in both of these books is almost the same, and handled similarly as well, with blurred edges. It’s not the same publisher, so probably not the same designer. Two different designers matching the same kind of font with a lighter. Hmmm.
True to my gut feeling Right Behind You by Gail Giles (Little Brown 2007) is a story around a heinous murder committed by a young boy. Patrick Jones’ book, Cheated (Walker April 2008) isn’t out yet, so there’s not much information to go on, but looks as though there’s a murder in it, too.

All fire, all black background and white text… but each creates a different emotional response… in me anyway. It’s the shapes, the line the eye takes through the fire. No human beings are present on any of these jackets. I wonder what contributes to the decision to include them – characters from the story – or not?

Alabama Moon: After the death of his father, ten-year-old Moon leaves their forest shelter home and is sent to an Alabama institution, becoming entangled in the outside world he has never known and making good friends, a relentless enemy, and finally a new life.
Pucker: A seventeen-year-old disfigured boy travels to an alternate world to save his mother’s life.
Right Behind You: After spending over four years in a mental institution for murdering a friend in Alaska, fourteen-year-old Kip begins a completely new life in Indiana with his father and stepmother under a different name, but not only has trouble fitting in, he finds there are still problems to deal with from his childhood.
Cheated: Fifteen-year-old Mick recalls a series of betrayals and other life-changing events in his broken home, during the break-up with his girlfriend, and at school, that led to his arrest for murder.

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3 Responses to “Light a Fire”

  1. If you like, I’ll send you an ARC of Cheated, but you’re very close even without reading it to assume the image relates to a scene in the book with one of the characters lighting a fire , and it is up to no good.
    pj

  2. Thanks for the kind words on the Pucker jacket. It’s funny that you almost see a face in the flame, because the original concept was exactly that: a face arising from fire. The butterfly was a late addition that came when the author got concerned that the cover was skewing too close to the horror genre. In the end, it was fun creating the flaming butterfly, and the image worked nicely on the spine and back cover. The project was pretty fraught, though; I’d be happy to share some of the early comps if you ever do a feature on the jacket design process.

  3. For the record, I love the cover for Pucker — the flaming butterfly is awesome.

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