Archive for June, 2008

Dead or Alive?

Posted in book covers, stock photos on June 21, 2008 by Jacket Whys

I find the jacket image for Newes From the Dead by Mary Hooper (Roaring Brook, 2008 ) quite confusing. From the title and the orientation of the face on the cover, I think it is supposed to be someone who is dead. Yet in the photo, the girl is most clearly alive. Reading the description at the Roaring Brook website, I gather that this girl has been hung, but is still alive – though nobody knows it. Hmmm. If she looks like this, they really should have noticed that she is not dead.
The title text is fairly effective – and it’s the only thing here that gives any clue to the fact that this is historical fiction and takes place in 1650. Was the intention behind stripping the book of any aura of historical fiction to grab readers who might not otherwise pick it up? The UK jacket (on the right) may be more tame, but it certainly seems a little more true to the subject matter.
Note, if you can see it, the lacy overlay (see previous post). What is the purpose of that here? It is yet another aspect of the jacket that seems out of place.
This jacket fits into the category of Defying Gravity with other sideways photos – photos that were probably snapped as vertical images, but turned sideways for effect.

Newes From the Dead: In 1650, while Robert, a young medical student, steels himself to assist with her dissection, twenty-two-year-old housemaid Anne Green recalls her life as she lies in her coffin, presumed dead after being hanged for murdering her child that was, in fact, stillborn. Ages 14+

UPDATE (8/12/08): I loved this book! I’m a big historical fiction fan, but the reason that I read it was because of my criticism posted here – and NOT because I liked the cover. Having now read the book, however, I feel like I can assess the three covers (French cover posted above, thanks to Mary Hooper for pointing me to it).
I think the most fitting cover is the French one. It is an absurd image on the U.S. jacket – the main character is a 17th century English maidservant who has given birth, spent time in a what amounts to a dungeon, been hung (a period illustration) and is about to be dissected. Doesn’t she look like that here? NOT.That said… I think that the U.S. one is more likely to attract American teens. So go figure.

Photos & Lace

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2008 by Jacket Whys

This technique, a photograph overlaid with a lacy design, has been catching my attention lately. It creates a kind of mystery that draws you in. But none of the four would succeed with that alone. Each has an interesting mix of color and typography as well. My favorite of the four is Chosen: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin 2008 ). One of the more interesting vampire covers (at least for someone who isn’t a huge fan of vampire stories) … and well… dare I say I like it a lot better than the newly unveiled cover of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn?
What if the leafy overlay for Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab (Laura Geringer 2008 ) was not there? I think the jacket would be much more ordinary. On this, as well as on The End of the World as we Know It by Lesley Choyce (Red Deer Press 2007) and You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn (Simon & Schuster 2008 ), the chosen photos are important, but the tone is enhanced by the overlay.

Chosen: Ages 12+
Alive and Well in Prague, New York: Manhattanites Matisse Osgood and her artist parents move to upstate New York when her father’s Parkinson’s disease worsens, and Matisse must face high school in a small, provincial town as she tries to avoid thinking about her father’s future. Ages 12+ Cover designed by Amy Ryan.
The End of the World as We Know It: Ages 12+
You Know Where to Find Me: In the wake of her cousin’s suicide, overweight and introverted seventeen-year-old Miles experiences significant changes in her relationships with her mother and father, her best friend Jamal and his family, and her cousin’s father, while gaining insights about herself, both positive and negative. Ages 12+ Cover designed by Einav Aviram; photo by Alex Mares-Manton/Asia Images/Getty Images.