Archive for May, 2009

Catching Fire – on Fire!

Posted in book covers, color, fonts, shapes, symbols on May 30, 2009 by Jacket Whys

I wanted to say Catching Fire Catches Fire. But Publisher’s Weekly already said that
At BEA Friday, the ARCs were hard to come by, but I was lucky. I’m taking a break at the moment, a third of the way through this book which has, so far proved worth the buzz… YES, you gotta read this! (Yesterday!)
My purpose here, however, is to talk about the covers, not what’s between the them.

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I loved the cover of Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games (Scholastic 2008). It isn’t drastically different from the crowd, but it embraces a few of the conventions I’ve noted. Most particularly what I pointed out a couple of months ago in my post about what Liza Gilbert’s teens liked. “A real focal object, and a mysterious atmospheric quality. Mostly good type treatment Good hooks.”
The Hunger Games: Focal object?  CHECK. Mysterious atmospheric quality? You could say that. CHECK. Type treatment? Yeah – looks very futuristic. Probably a good hook. CHECK.
The way I interpret book #1′s jacket, which is to say, I think it fits the story (another CHECK), is this: There’s darkness in the land. Each circle marks one of the 12 districts (here linked, but with walls? blocking the links?). And there’s hope. A golden mockingjay pin marks the spot.
And here’s Catching Fire (Scholastic, 9/2009). Some brightness radiating out, with more light coming from District 12. No walls. The arrow has disappeared. Does that mean something?
And… what’s that? The mockingjay has come alive! Here’s another assessment of the symbols.
I love this cover, and I hope Scholastic sticks with this for the paperbacks (I beg you, Scholastic, do not put people on the paperback issues). I strongly dislike the UK (Australian?) Hunger Games cover. I’m not at all convinced that making the book look like 90% of the other books out there will hook readers. Here’s hoping that they stick with BUZZ and a great matching cover for the third book.
If you’re not as convinced as I am that this was a good choice, what do you think of the UK cover of Catching Fire? And do they really need Stephenie Meyer‘s name to boost sales? (Caveat: Amazon UK shows the U.S. cover so I’m not sure this is what they’re really releasing?).

Don’t miss this article at Publisher’s Weekly that flashes Hunger Games book jackets from around the globe.

Hunger Games: In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place. (CIP) Ages 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Trailer. Videos of Collins talking about the Hunger Games.
Catching Fire: By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion. (CIP) Ages 12+. Reviews: 1, 2.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Posted in book covers, color, symbols on May 28, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Here is a set of book covers that do not all look alike, but share a similar aspect. Clearly conveyed is the concept of one in a crowd, someone who stands out, outsider-ness. What buttons, or hearts (candy?) or butterflies have to do with any of it isn’t clear from the CIP summaries. But the outsider concept is clear. The cover for The Opposite of Love by Helen Benedict (Viking 2007) grabbed me the first time I saw it and has always sat in my queue waiting for others to join it. Slowly I’ve gathered enough to share – L. A. Candy by Lauren Conrad (HarperCollins 2009), When the Black Girl Sings by Bil Wright (Simon & Schuster 2008) and Fearless by Tim Lott (Candlewick 2007).

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Opposite of Love: When seventeen-year-old Madge, a bi-racial girl living in a small Pennsylvania town populated by bigots, decides to change the world for the better, she starts by “adopting” a four-year-old boy she finds abandoned in New York City. Ages . Reviews: 1,
L.A. Candy: When nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts is cast in a new reality show, she discovers that the fame and fortune of her new life come at a high price to herself and her friendships.
When the Black Girl Sings: Adopted by white parents and sent to an exclusive Connecticut girls’ school where she is the only black student, fourteen-year-old Lahni Schuler feels like an outcast, particularly when her parents separate, but after attending a local church where she hears gospel music for the first time, she finds her voice.
Fearless: In the future, girls labeled “juvies” or “mindcrips” are taken from their families and sent to the prison-like City Community Faith School, but Little Fearless decides to break out, and embarks on a dangerous mission to try to free the girls from their miserable captivity.

Beware of Hands With Apples!

Posted in book covers, book designers, color, double dips on May 16, 2009 by Jacket Whys

I’ve been hesitant to post a “double dip” that was brought to my attention by Jay Asher (though I thank him for sending it!). It feels a bit like cheating to put this book (you know the one) in a post. I love to see my stats shoot up, but HONESTLY – if you know what I mean.
So here’s  The-Book-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, and a book that’s not YA, Words to Live By by C. S. Lewis (Zondervan 2007). It’s not the same photo, but the coloring is similar. The crop is a little different. But I can’t imagine who would walk by this face-out on a shelf and not do a double-take. The image seems pertinent for the subject. You wonder how deliberately made this decision was. The designer can’t not have seen the other book…

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And while I’m at it, there’s another similar situation that’s been sitting around in my queue. The most recent book in The-Series-That-Must-Not-Be-Named is slightly different in lighting and focus. Both it and  Taken by Edward Bloor (Knopf 2007)  are black, white and red, though subjectwise they fit into different categories – Taken in the category of Crime/Murder, and the other book in the Horror (kinda?) category. In this case, the other guy had it first!

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Not surprisingly, the paperback edition of Taken, due out in December, has a completely different cover. Hmmm. I wonder why? ;-)

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Taken: In 2035 kidnapping rich children has become an industry, but when thirteen-year-old Charity M. is taken and held for ransom, she soon discovers that this particular kidnapping is not what it seems.

Framed!

Posted in book covers, double dips, symbols on May 9, 2009 by Jacket Whys

I think that a frame is a common enough item on book covers. Yet, using a frame within a frame can be very effective, and without seeming overdone. Each of these covers uses the frame a little differently. Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine (HarperTeen 2008) – a mirror? or an empty frame that makes the person behind it invisible? ; Matisse on the Loose by Georgia Bragg (Delacorte 2009), tipped and making it’s way out of the picture ; Heartsinger by Karlijn Stoffels (Arthur A. Levine, 2009) – interesting use of the cropped face ; and Vidalia in Paris by Sasha Watson (Viking 2008) – traditional frame and frame for the title.
An interesting commonality here is that these novels take place in coutries other than the U.S. (not sure about the Matisse book). And it may not surprise anyone that some of them have to do with art, artists, or art museums.

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UPDATE (May 16, 2009): Well this is interesting. I just happened across this book, an April release from Canadian publisher Key Porter:

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Me, the Missing: When a series of chance events leaves him in possession of an urn with ashes, sixteen-year-old Londoner, Lucas Swain, becomes convinced that its occupant, Violet Park, is communicating with him, initiating a voyage of self-discovery that forces him to finally confront the events surrounding his father’s sudden disappearance. Age 14+. Reviews: 1, 2.
Matisse: An aspiring artist’s daily routine of being embarrassed by his eccentric family is interrupted when he finds himself in the middle of an art museum fiasco involving Matisse’s 1909 portrait of his son Pierre. Age 8-12.
Heartsinger: In this meditation on various kinds of love, Mee travels across the country to the court of the Princess Esperanza, singing the life stories of some of the people he meets. Age 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3.
Vidalia in Paris: Teenage Vidalia’s summer in Paris studying art settles into a stimulating and enjoyable routine until she becomes romantically involved with a mysterious young man who seems to have ties to an art-theft ring. Age 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3.

Expert Opinion Requested

Posted in book covers on May 2, 2009 by Jacket Whys

When purchasing a classic title for my YA collection, I like to look at all the covers available and purchase the edition that I think will be most appealing to a teen who is forced or inclined to read that title. Sometimes (like on this one), I just can’t decide. It occurred to me that I could ask for the professional expertise out there.

The first cover here is on an edition that was first out in 1982. That would seem to date it, but it looks a lot like some of the covers that I’ve been seeing on teen titles lately – so I’m wondering if it would still work. The other is a brand new movie tie-in cover. Here’s the indecision part: I like the old cover much, much better. But I’m wondering if I should buy the other – even though it looks more targeted to adults (to me). Please vote in the comments, if you’re inclined, for which cover you think a teen would be most likely to choose.

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Vote for #1 (the 1982 ed.) or #2 (the 2008 ed.), both Little, Brown. Thanks for your input!

UPDATE (6/1/2009): The book came today. Good choice everyone! Looks even better than its picture.

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