This is just a small selection of book covers that feature one central figure, usually in silhouette (or with his/her back to the viewer) posed with out stretched or upstretched arms. I have a picture of my twenty-something son doing the same thing (bottom photo) a victory salute to the sky upon reaching the summit during a mountain hike. I figure there must be something archetypal about the pose.
But it can’t always mean the same thing. Without reading the book summaries the figure on The Innocent’s Story by Nicky Singer (Holiday House 2007) looks like a lost or ghostly soul. An empty street with strange wall-like buildings trapping her in? On Season of Ice by Diane Les Becquets (Bloomsbury 2008 ) the young woman balances on a snow wall. The lightness of the background makes me think it’s lighter in tone.
The football player on Gym Candy by Carl Deuker (Houghton Mifflin 2007) looks victorious – after adversity (rain)? And Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling Books September 2008 ) looks alone in a storm, reaching out. Maybe a little supernatural.
Reading the summaries afterward, they seem a loose match with my impressions.
The Innocent’s Story: Thirteen-year-old Cassina Dixon narrates her existence after being killed in a terrorist bombing, when, as a “para-spirit,” she passes through a series of hosts, including the bomber and the religious zealot who would force him to kill again. Age 12+
Season of Ice: When seventeen-year-old Genesis Sommer’s father disappears on Moosehead Lake near their small-town Maine home in mid-November, she must cope with the pressure of keeping her family together, even while rumors about the event plague her. Age 12+
Gym Candy: Groomed by his father to be a star player, football is the only thing that has ever really mattered to Mick Johnson, who works hard for a spot on the varsity team his freshman year, then tries to hold onto his edge by using steroids, despite the consequences to his health and social life. Age 12+
Bog Child: In 1981, the height of Ireland’s “Troubles,” eighteen-year-old Fergus is distracted from his upcoming A-level exams by his imprisoned brother’s hunger strike, the stress of being a courier for Sinn Fein, and dreams of a murdered girl whose body he discovered in a bog. Age 12+