Scary Covers 2

More covers from “Don’t Let the Cover Scare You.” I loved The Canning Season by Polly Horvath (Farrar 2003). It was so offbeat, so different. Definitely YA with the mother beheading herself (for real!). My complaint with the cover, back when it first came out, was that it looked too young for the content. The submitter of this cover said “I thought the book was incredibly fun to read, and even with good salesmanship, I can’t get my kids to read it because of the cover.” And it gets a double whammy with the title – “I can’t think of a topic less attractive to teens than home canning,” said another YALSA-BKer.
The publishers must have been happy with it, because they used it again on the paperback. Too bad. Dear FSG: How about a new cover for The Canning Season??
I totally agree on Alice on the Outside by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum 1999). I always thought this illustration had to be one of the most awkward I’d seen. And… if the girl looks too goofy it may repel readers. Again, publisher decided to stick with it for the paperback. Maybe in reprints they’ll mend their ways ;-)
I’m not sure I agree about A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt (Wendy Lamb 2006). I don’t mind this cover, however, this one was changed for the paperback. And I’ll agree that this paperback cover is more likely to attract teens.
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden (Houghton 1995 this is the original cover) has been through many cover changes. The original isn’t bad so much as it is indistinct. I’m not sure any of the paperbacks are all that much better.

Horvath - Canning SeasonNaylor - Alice on the Outside

Reinhardt - Brief ChapterMarsden - Tomorrow When the War

Some other covers, some UK, for Tomorrow… and the paperback for A Brief Chapter.
Marsden - Tomorrow UK 200Marsden - Tomorrow UK pbkMarsden - Tomorrow x

Marsden - Tomorrow pbkMarsden - Tomorrow AUReinhardt - Brief Chapter new

Canning Season: Thirteen-year-old Ratchet spends a summer in Maine with her eccentric great-aunts Tilly and Penpen, hearing strange stories from the past and encountering a variety of unusual and colorful characters.
Alice on the Outside: Eighth-grader Alice has lots of questions about sex, relationships, prejudice, and change.
Brief Chapter: Sixteen-year-old atheist Simone Turner-Bloom’s life changes in unexpected ways when her parents convince her to make contact with her biological mother, an agnostic from a Jewish family who is losing her battle with cancer.
Tomorrow, When the War Began: Seven Australian teenagers return from a camping trip in the bush to discover that their country has been invaded and they must hide to stay alive.

5 Responses to “Scary Covers 2”

  1. A Brief Chapter is about a teen girl who is contacted by her birth mother who is facing a…difficult time (don’t want to spoil it). That cover makes it look like it’s about bad dancing.

  2. Why are there so many badly illustrated covers from the 80s and 90s? Computer graphic design has really improved covers a lot. A story may be great, but if the girl on the cover has mall hair and a flashdance outfit, it is really hard to move!

    • When you really think about it, we’re probably so much more visually sophisticated (as a whole) today. And tastes change. Think back on the way you wore your hair, the clothes you wore, the colors in your home. Are they what you would choose today?
      The illustration from 20 years ago was bad sometimes, but it is today, too. Just as often, I find a book from the 1940s that blows me away with it’s illustrations (although not so much, book covers, because…). Also, printing processes are so much more advanced now. I’m looking at covers from the 1950s and the striking thing about them is how often they are just two or three ink colors. Few have the full-color that we totally expect today.
      I agree – it is hard to get anyone to look at dated or ugly covers!

  3. When the paperback of BRIEF CHAPTER came out, the cover horrified me. It still does. We sold a ton of that book in hardcover. I have sold very, very few in paperback because the cover is so ugly. (And out of focus!) It’s one of my least favorite YA covers ever, and is even worse to me because I love the book so much.

  4. If you decide to add any more Tadpole by Ruth White is a good one. I absolutely HATE that cover, but it is a really great book.

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