Best Covers of 2008 – Final

At last, the final four book covers in my top ten favorite book covers of 2008. I chose them first – then realized that there are none with close up photographs of fashion plate-y young women. There are an awful lot of those this year and it’s been overdone. I’m hoping to see less of them in 2009. They just aren’t as interesting as any of the covers I’ve highlighted here.

artichokeNot only do I love the cover of Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee (Dutton), but the whole book is pleasingly designed.  As Lisa Chellman said, “it makes my mouth water” and who can resist a box of chocolates? But what makes it a top pick for me is the details – how nicely arranged and perfectly colored. And the icing on the chocolates is that they are complemented with little illustrations that look real (please don’t tell me if they’ve been photoshopped in!).
The title font is just right, and carried throughout the book in the chapter headings and first letters in each chapter. There’s a small, greyed illustration of an artichoke at the beginning of each chapter as well, and a smaller version on each page. It’s all-in-all a well-designed book that’s a pleasure to look at.

chainsThe illustration for Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (Simon & Schuster) is good, but its impact is very much enhanced by the color palette and the decision to use hand lettering. It looks so… colonial. Perfect for the subject matter of this book (which I happen to be in the middle of reading).
This is one of those cases where the spine is excellent as well. It is hand-lettered in the same style as Anderson’s name on the front, with the title letters stacked vertically upon one another – something you don’t see very often – and as wide as the spine itself.
Congratulations to Laurie Halse Anderson for her Margaret A. Edwards Award!

venomousVenomous by Christopher Krovatin (Atheneum) is one of a couple of book covers I saw this year that showed part of an arm, but it’s by far the best one. Another instance of great colors – monochromatic, with the exception of the skin – and texture, and really appropriate and well selected fonts. I like how the letters of the title retain their shape, even though they are written on the arm in the inky venom running through the main character’s veins.

red-dragon1And this one should have appeared in the first set – the red group. The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica #2, Simon & Schuster) – and really, the whole series. Have I said it too many times? Great fonts, nicely arranged. I like the box (a ticket?) that holds the title. All three of the titles in this series have great ink illustrations. Each is a different monochromatic ink wash (?).
I’m not entirely sure these will draw kids. I like them anyway.

Artichoke’s Heart: When she is almost sixteen years old, Rosemary decides she is sick of being overweight, mocked at school and at Heavenly Hair–her mother’s beauty salon–and feeling out of control, and as she slowly loses weight, she realizes that she is able to cope with her mother’s cancer, having a boyfriend for the first time, and discovering that other people’s lives are not as perfect as they seem from the outside. Age 10+. Reviews: 1. Cover design by Natalie C. Sousa.
Chains: After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.  Age 10+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Jacket design by Lizzy Bromley. Jacket illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal.
Venomous: Since age eight, New York City high school junior Locke Vinetti has experienced bouts of overpowering anger, but now that he has friends who accept him and a true girlfriend, “the venom” threatens to destroy all that he loves. Age 14+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4. Jacket design and illustration by Sammy Yuen Jr.
Search for the Red Dragon: Nine years after they came together to defeat the Winter King, John, Jack, and Charles return to the Archipelago of Dreams and face a new challenge involving the Lost Boys and giants. Age 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3.

11 Responses to “Best Covers of 2008 – Final”

  1. teacherninja Says:

    Awesome! Thanks so much for doing this. Inspiring collection, really.

  2. You’re welcome! It’s really lots of fun to do. :-)

  3. It was too bad I didn’t like the STORY of Artichoke’s Heart. And as for the Search for the Red Dragon, the fantasy lovers in my library want this book right now!

  4. The box on Red Dragon looks like a tattered map.

    Agree especially with Chains–the cover is gorgeous! My main disappointment with the book is that it does not include a map of 1776 New York (would have been great for endpapers).

  5. I agree completely on Chains. There are street names and places mentioned… I’ll bet Laurie Anderson was looking at a map. Would have been nice to be able to see it too.
    Endpapers are always a difficult place for maps though… those of us who tape down our mylar covered jackets are constantly having to decide how to handle good stuff on the endpapers.

  6. Laurie is right – it’s a tattered map from the Imaginarium Geographica itself! And it was Art Director Lizzy Bromley’s idea to use it for the series’ logos. We’re happy with it – and very happy to be on this list! Thank you!

  7. And I think you are being modest! You did the drawings, right? Beautiful – on all three covers.

  8. Oh man, I love that you put Venomous on here. I don’t know HOW many times I picked that one up at the bookstore because the cover drew me in. I haven’t read it yet, but I agree it had one of the best covers of the year.

  9. Artichoke’s Heart does make me hungry for some chocolate. :)

  10. Hi,

    Thanks, for your kind words about my work I did the cover for Venemous, and for Eon. One of my clients lead me to me your site. I think it is a great resource for artist, designers and any one who likes books.

    thanks again,

  11. Venomous works. Excellent cover. However, I can’t see the draw with the Artichoke’s Heart. Unless I was in the market for candy recipes, or stories about a candy maker, I’d pass over it.

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