Archive for April, 2010

Before Monarchs, Blue Morphos

Posted in book covers, color, symbols, trends on April 23, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Travis at 100 Scope Notes has posted new covers with monarch butterflies on them. Before the monarchs, there was a spate of book covers depicting the Blue Morpho (or some other kind of blue) butterfly. With photo manipulation, who can tell for sure these days. Maybe these are just monarchs colored blue. But they’re pretty stunning! The books: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt 2008), Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Delacorte 2008), Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr (Bowen Press 2009), The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies by Lizabeth Zindel (Viking 2008), Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter by Liz Kessler (Candlewick 2009) and Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (Houghton Mifflin 2008, c2005). Just as you would expect, books with butterflies on them tend to be fantasy. They include fairies and magic, etc., though Jenna Fox is science fiction, so it’s not a perfect rule.
I went looking for online information about blue butterflies and was distressed to find that most of what’s out there on the internet is about blue butterflies made into jewelry, preserved as wall art, and even a song called “Blue Morpho” played on a panflute that looks like it has blue morpho wings pasted on it? :-( Me, I’d rather see this beautiful creature alive!

Adoration of Jenna: In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence. Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Fate: High school senior Bailey Morgan must chose between the mortal world and the otherworldly Nexus, where each night, as the third Fate, she weaves the web of life. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Fragile Eternity: Aislinn and Seth struggle with the unforeseen consequences of Aislinn’s transformation from mortal girl to faery queen as the world teeters on the brink of cataclysmic violence. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Secret Rites: Sixteen-year-old Maggie’s fears about making friends as an incoming senior at an exclusive New York City girls school are allayed when she is invited to join an elite secret society devoted to eavesdropping and recording the “truth” about students and faculty. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Philippa Fisher: Twelve-year-old Philippa gets caught up in unraveling the mystery of a dream-catcher that threatens the life of her fairy friend Daisy and the happiness of her human friend Robyn, who is grieving over her mother’s death. Ages 8-12. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Zahrah the Windseeker: Zahrah, a timid thirteen-year-old girl, undertakes a dangerous quest into the Forbidden Greeny Jungle to seek the antidote for her best friend after he is bitten by a snake, and finds knowledge, courage, and hidden powers along the way. Ages 10+. Reviews 1, 2, 3.

Design Power

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Black and red can make for a book jacket with impact. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Little, Brown 2010) is another in a growing field of werewolf novels. What I see here is the power of sticking with good design over the present day practice of stock photo manipulation.
You might not immediately notice the wolf face here, because the white shapes draw your eye first. Which one would you pick up? This one? Or this one?

Sisters Red: After a Fenris, or werewolf, killed their grandmother and almost killed them, sisters Scarlett and Rosie March devote themselves to hunting and killing the beasts that prey on teenaged girls, learning how to lure them with red cloaks and occasionally using the help of their old friend, Silas, the woodsman’s son. Ages 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Hardcover vs. Paperback

Posted in book covers, color, gender interest, paperback changes on April 17, 2010 by Jacket Whys

When I first saw the hardcover jacket for Swim the Fly by Don Calame (2009), I thought it must be a draft. It didn’t have the look of a finished cover – none of the pieces seem to fit together very well. I’ve talked about green before – here’s one of those places where the green just doesn’t work well. One blog review said “If you are a boy, have boys, know boys, or enjoy boys … this book is for you!,” but I don’t imagine this cover was much of a magnet for boys.
But then what do I know? Another blog saysWe love the final look–represents the contents very well and should be eye catching on the bookstore and library shelves for its target audience.” Hmm.
Fortunately, the paperback cover is much better. I like the water & bubbles effect. Colors are good too, orange and red – warm colors – against the cool blue of the water. Far more pleasing to this artist’s eye…

Swim the Fly: Swim team members and best friends Matt, Sean, and Coop, set themselves the summertime goal of seeing a live girl naked, and while the chances of that happening seem very dim, Matt’s personal goal to swim the one-hundred-yard butterfly to impress the new girl on the team seems even less likely to happen. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

New Press, Different Design

Posted in book covers, people of color, stock photos, symbols on April 16, 2010 by Jacket Whys

I just found the great cover below. This is a refreshingly different slant on the “face cover.”  There’s a lot of emotion conveyed with the pose and cropping choices. Barbed wire to let us know that there’s trouble, and the pinkish-tinted dove to hint at peaceful resolution.  Abe in Arms by Pegi Deitz Shea will be published by PM Press in June. I hadn’t heard of this publisher, and still don’t know much after reading their “About” page, but clearly they are paying attention to design. Will teens pick this up without a well-dressed teen model on the cover?

Abe in Arms: Age 12+. Reviews: none yet.

Raised by Wolves, Looks Like Chicklit

Posted in book covers, gender interest, girls, stock photos on April 16, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Okay, so does every book have to look the same now? Even this book, Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Egmont, June 2010) has chicklit written all over it.
Despite my aversion, it looks like I’m in the minority. Around the blogiverse I found lots of cover-love (here, and here, and my friend at YABooknerd rates it pretty highly as well).

Browsing through other werewolf books for teens, I see that this is standard werewolf cover fare. For my money, I’d rather see something werewolf-y on the cover of a book like this. But maybe that would mean it’s written for boys…?
It’s definitely not the designer that irks me – I like all of the other Sammy Yuen covers shown here!

Raised by Wolves: A girl raised by werewolves must face the horrors of her past to uncover the dark secrets that the pack has worked so hard to hide. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4.

Book Covers as Homework

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 by Jacket Whys

I’ve been away (CSLP Conference in Tacoma) and haven’t had enough time to put together a real post. Instead I’m linking you to another cool book cover related thing – students assigned to redesign a book cover, endpapers, titlepage, and bookplate for a special edition novelization of The Wizard of Oz. Great assignment – and some good designs. I like the one on the top the best, and also the one with the upside-down house. Which do you like the best?