Margo vs. Quentin
I’m just back from the first YALSA YA Lit Symposium (I gather from their various posts that the Greens were in TN at the same time but we didn’t get to see them at the Symposium!) with lots of new books to read and information to digest. But I want to get this post in before I get too absorbed.
I first posted about John Green’s new book Paper Towns back in April when John posted the two covers to his blog. I am a huge Nerdfighter fan – subscribed to Brotherhood 2.0 near the beginning of that absolutely amazing endeavor – love John’s books, including Paper Towns which I am halfway through (started today and trying to finish before I see John & Hank in person this evening in Westport, CT)… But I have to make this comment on the covers of Paper Towns…
We drove to Nashville from Connecticut – three of us. Ann Marie was reading Paper Towns in the backseat. Every once in a while she would laugh and read us a line or two. The more she read, the more I could see that there was a lot of humor that teenage boys would really appreciate. It’s so hard to find “boy books.” Publishers tend to pitch to the market, which they perceive to be largely female (probably true).
BUT! What boy is going to pick up this book based on the cover? Don’t get me wrong – I don’t dislike the cover (though my vision of Margo does not gel with the photo here, and I’m glad I got the blue one when I ordered from Amazon). But we all know the line. Girls will read books with boys on the cover – but boys will steer clear of books with covergirls. True for teenage boys? I think so.
What guy is going to be caught dead with the yellow Margo? (Okay, okay – maybe if he’s a nerdfighter).
So… couldn’t we have just hinted at the fact that the main voice in this book is a high school GUY? Background picture? What if the guys were up front and Margo was a presence in the background?
I’m finding it more and more difficult to find fiction of any ilk that wants to admit on its jacket that it’s a book boys might enjoy. Anyone have good examples to the contrary?