Archive for March, 2009

Triple Play

Posted in book covers, stock photos on March 30, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Nothing new here. Along with scores of other bloggers, I have posted plenty about multiple uses of the same stock photo. But I do enjoy seeing covers like this all together on a page.
The Eyes of Van Gogh by Cathryn Clinton (Candlewick 2007) and The Book of Jude by Kimberley Heuston (Front Street 2008) are teen books, but The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today’s Pressures by Stephen Hinshaw with Rachel Kranz (Ballantine Books 2009) is a parenting book. I included a parenting book in another similar post – so that makes me wonder if parenting books are more likely to use the same photos as books for the teens they address.


It is interesting to note that both of the fiction titles turn up in booklists on mental illness. The model does not look to me like the poster child for mental illness (maybe that’s the point?). I wonder how she feels about her face turning up on so many book covers. And does she get paid each time it happens? (I’m guessing not).

Eyes of Van Gogh: After many moves with her peripatetic mother, seventeen-year-old Jude begins to believe that she has finally found a home, friends, and some purpose in life when the grandmother she never knew has a stroke and she and her mother come to live in the same town to be near her. Age 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3.
Book of Jude: In 1989, when fifteen-year-old Jude’s mother wins a Fulbright fellowship to study art in Czechoslovakia, the family postpones a planned move to Utah to join her, but the political situation and the move itself are too much for Jude, who is overwhelmed by a previously undiagnosed psychological disorder. Age 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3.
Triple Bind: Parenting Book. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4,

Not Quite 13 Reasons…

Posted in book covers, fonts on March 26, 2009 by Jacket Whys

I was never particularly fond of the US cover for Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (Razorbill 2008). Even before I read the book. I’d like to think of 13 reasons why this cover bothers me, but it’s all in there, too hazy to grab hold of. Maybe it’s the stark light and shadow (is that fitting?), or the duct tape boxes for the plain text… I don’t know.
Asher has posted various countries’ book covers of his very successful book on his blog. In my opinion this new UK cover, despite being in many ways like the oceans of book covers with girls on them (that I’ve grown tired of) is the most fitting for the book. The photo seems rightly chosen. I like the muted green color, the title font fits, and I even think the text blurb is well chosen to attract readers. And with success, Asher’s name gets to be bigger than the title. This is done often on adult books and can totally overwhelm the book jacket. It doesn’t here, so I don’t mind it.
I wonder what it’s like for a new author to see his name in type that’s larger than the title of his book?

13-reasons-us 13-reasons-uk

UPDATE:  See this post for eight different covers of this book.

Thirteen Reasons Why: When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death. Ages 13+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

If you like reading about book covers…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Then check out my page of links to other articles and blog posts about them.
If you have a post that I haven’t linked to here, let me know in the comments!

How YA Lit Gets a Bad Name

Posted in book covers on March 20, 2009 by Jacket Whys

f-lia-blockA friend of mine attended an author event recently. Jodi Picoult was speaking.
My friend, a teen librarian, said that Picoult mentioned that she had a 13-year-old daughter and she didn’t want her reading YA… that YA novels were covered with unclothed girls (or something like that).
When I heard this, I felt really irritated. I couldn’t think of any unclothed girls on YA book jackets. And I look at a lot of books!
Girls may be wearing suggestive clothing (maybe) on some of the series titles, like Celebutantes and Gossip Girls. But trash a whole body of literature for a couple of series?
Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block (Joanna Cotler 2008) is the only YA novel I could find, from all of 2008, on which a woman is without clothing. And I’ll bet most people wouldn’t even notice that.
I wish that authors of books for adults would read a few YA books before they toss around criticisms that betray the fact that they really know nothing about them.

Bait, Blade & Freaked

Posted in book covers, fonts, trends on March 10, 2009 by Jacket Whys

I’m wondering if this is going to be a new thing – title writ large, up or down and sprawled out to the borders (or close). I am sure it’s been done before on teen books, but this is three coming out within three months of one another. It seems new – for now.
I love the transition of dark to light in the letters, and the reverse in the background on Bait by Alex Sanchez (Simon & Schuster June 2009). Caveat here – the only place I could find this cover was on Sanchez’s website, so it may not be the final cover. Of the three, I like this one the best, so I hope S&S decides to keep it.
On Blade: Playing Dead by Tim Bowler (Philomel May 2009), the big type is the series name rather than the book title. Freaked by J. T. Dutton (HarperTeen March 2009) isn’t quite expanded into the frame, but still effective.
This effect could be overused. Let’s hope it, as well as any other recognizeable cover trend, won’t be.


Bait: Diego keeps getting into trouble because of his explosive temper until he finally finds a probation officer who helps him get to the root of his anger so that he can stop running from his past. Ages 12+.
Blade: A fourteen-year-old British street person with extraordinary powers of observation and self-control must face murderous thugs connected with a past he has tried to forget, when his skills with a knife earned him the nickname, Blade. Ages 14+. Reviews, 1, 2, 3.
Freaked: In the mid-1990s, Grateful Dead fan Scotty Loveletter must wade through the privileged world of his East Coast prep school while dealing with his absent mother, a famous sex therapist. Ages 14+. Jacket design by Alison Klapthor. Jacket art by Sean Freeman. Interesting background info.