Archive for the book covers Category

Here Baby, There Mama, Everywhere…

Posted in book covers, stock photos, symbols, trends on July 10, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Daddy, Daddy there’s HAIR!

This is just a few examples of this year’s penchant for flying hair and hair that obscures faces. On The Girl With the Mermaid Hair by Delia Ephron (Balzer + Bray 2010), Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings (Dutton 2010), Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene (Simon Pulse 2010) and Raven Speak by Diane Lee Wilson (McElderry 2010) hair goes horizontal – usually something hair only does in wind. The raised up mermaid hair looks to be the result of spinning (look at where the hair on the other side goes). Blindsided could be wind… But the other two are not. Raven Speak holds a mishmash of things (an eye peeking through hair, a sword, a bird and a horse), put together in a way that is interesting enough, and slightly challenging in that you might not notice it right away.

So what does flying hair say? Without reading summaries… the spinning girl could indicate someone thrown off balance? On Blindsided the title and the Braille give pretty strong clues. But why does her hair obscure an eye, and show an eye that is most definitely looking at something?
Keep Sweet has the most unnatural arrangement. Why would one’s hair be wrapped around her face? On Raven Speak… she’s holding her braid over her nose?
Other notable examples for this year: Birth Marked by Caragh M. O’Brien, The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz, and Spyglass by Maria V. Snyder (the British cover doesn’t have the hair). Coming out in the fall, one with not so much the flying hair, but with hair covering parts of the face: The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block. The first one like this that I saw was last year’s Breathless by Jessica Warman (Walker), but it stands alone in that year as far as I can tell.

UPDATE: See another post, with more hair at Stacked – Oh, Your Windswept Hair!

Girl With the Mermaid Hair: A vain teenaged girl is obsessed with beauty and perfection until she uncovers a devastating family secret. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Blindsided: After years of failing eyesight, fourteen-year-old Natalie reluctantly enters a school for the blind, where in spite of her initial resistance she learns the skills that will help her survive in the sighted world. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2.
Keep Sweet: Alva, not quite fifteen, is content with the strict rules that define her life in Pineridge, the walled community where she lives with her father, his seven wives, and her twenty-nine siblings until she is caught giving her long-time crush an innocent first kiss and forced to marry a violent, fifty-year-old man. Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Raven Speak: In 854, the bold fourteen-year-old daughter of a Viking chieftain, aided by her old and thin but equally intrepid horse and an ancient, one-eyed seer, must find a way to keep her clan together and save them from starvation. Ages 10-14.

My Answer to the Challenge

Posted in book covers on July 7, 2010 by Jacket Whys

A while back I issued a challenge. I’ve been working on an answer to my own challenge for a while now. I may add to it at some time, but I thought I’d post what I’ve got so far. What do you think?

My apologies to the readers of this blog for the scarcity of posts these days. I could continue to rant about model-y girl photos on covers, but I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I’ve been studying book covers from the 1990s trying to develop something worth saying about the representation of people of color over the years. Without any measurable data to back me up (yet anyway), I’ll just say that it’s looking like there was a lot more representation in the 90s than in the first decade of the 2000s. But I continue to work on this…

The Boy Who Could Fly by James Norcliffe (Egmont 2010): Having grown up in a miserable home for abandoned children, a young boy jumps at the chance to exchange places with the mysterious, flying “loblolly boy,” but once he takes on this new identity, he discovers what a harsh price he must pay.
Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (Farafina 2007, Houghton 2005): 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.
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce (HarperTeen 2009): When a genie arrives to grant sixteen-year-old Viola’s wish to feel she belongs, as she did before her best friend/boyfriend announced that he is gay, her delay in making wishes gives her and the mysterious Jinn time to fall in love.
The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies by Lizabeth Zindel (Viking 2008): 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.

Ingenuity – NOT!

Posted in book covers, girls, stock photos, trends with tags on June 13, 2010 by Jacket Whys

So along the line of getting face covers off of YA novels…
I was sitting in my office last week and I looked up at our new YA novel display (new to us, not new in the sense of just-released) and this is what I saw:

I’m trying to imagine myself as a teen (okay, so that was a really long time ago) – a teen in the culture of today (not the ’70s…). How excited could I get about this batch? Some half-faces, some full-on faces, some fancy clothes. And gosh… I just don’t get it. Why does this work? What happened to standing out from a crowd?
It has always baffled me why it works (it must!) to attract young girls with beautiful girls in beautiful clothes. Weren’t we just talking about wanting to see ourselves, our culture, reflected in our literature? Even if you’re white, does this reflect you?

psssssssssst….. by the way, I love the cover of Hazel despite everything I’ve said, but I’ll never tell >;-)

Whitewashing Article

Posted in book covers, controversy, people of color, stock photos, symbols, trends on June 12, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Tanita Davis, author of Mare’s War has a great article, “Reflected Faces“, up on Hunger Mountain: the VCFA Journal of the Arts. In it she says:

It still seems as if young people with brown skin are acceptable to ignore, at least in the marketing departments where the Powers That Be have determined that Brown doesn’t equal Buy… This may seem unimportant—at least young adults of color are included in contemporary YA literature. They’re IN the books, and so if the nonwhite characters don’t make it to the cover as often, at least there are nonwhite characters, right? Shouldn’t that be sufficient when Caucasians comprise two thirds of the American population?

I’m working on a post comparing POC coverage ten or twenty years ago, with today. It’s lots of background work, so stay tuned – it’ll be up sometime!

Oh, and here’s the other article in a section they’re calling “Flipside“, “Teens Do Judge a Book by the Cover” by Mitali Perkins (in the same issue of the same journal). She says:

Get most faces OFF the covers of young adult novels.

Hear, hear! (and see my next post)

More Best Book Covers

Posted in best book jackets, book covers, covers from across the pond on June 2, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Australian version of Best Book Covers of 2010 from Readings: Independent Bookseller of the Year 2009. I like the one at right, Tensy Farlow. It’s not available here in the U.S., though it is in the Library of Congress catalog, which makes me wonder if it’s set for publication here (?).
Here’s a book trailer for the book (love the music).

Skin

Posted in book covers, stock photos, trends on May 23, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Many have commented on the “face cover.” Recently I’ve noticed some covers where one face is just not enough. Two faces – or more precisely, parts of two faces – are squeezed into the confines of a book jacket. It means that the two faces must be very close together. Most here seem to be moments of intimacy – Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson (Delacorte 2008), Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols (MTV Books 2009), Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala (HarperTeen 2010), Heartbreak River (2009) and Winter Longing (2010) by Tricia Mills (Razorbill).
In my circles of friends and family, we’ve had several discussions about the kinds of photos that teens like to post on their Facebook pages. They are often like the pictures I see here – particularly on My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman (Henry Holt 2009). There is a physical closeness in photos that people of this generation are snapping, that people of my generation might have felt uncomfortable with.
So I wonder how these book covers fare with their target audience. I’m guessing they work well with the teen female audience.

Faces

Kiss Me Kill Me: Longing to be part of the in-crowd at her exclusive London school, orphaned, sixteen-year-old Scarlett, a trained gymnast, eagerly accepts an invitation to a party whose disastrous outcome changes her life forever. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Going Too Far: Forced to spend spring break in a Birmingham, Alabama, suburb riding along with an attractive rookie police officer on the night shift, rebellious seventeen-year-old Meg finds herself falling unexpectedly in love. Ages 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Tell Me a Secret: Seventeen-year-old Rand’s unexpected pregnancy leads her on a path to unravel the mystery of her sister’s death and face her own more hopeful future. Ages 14+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4.
My Invented Life: During rehearsals for Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” sixteen-year-old Roz, jealous of her cheerleader sister’s acting skills and heartthrob boyfriend, invents a new identity, with unexpected results. Ages 14+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Heartbreak River: When her father dies while whitewater rafting, sixteen-year-old Alex feels responsible, but when tragedy strikes again she must face her deepest fears in order to reclaim her love of the Colorado river where she grew up–and of the boy she grew up with. Ages 14+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Winter Longing: Tundra, Alaska, high school senior Winter learns about love, loss, and starting over when her boyfriend, who has been her best friend since second grade, is killed in a plane crash the day after they declared their love for each other. Ages 14+. Reviews: 1, 2.

TMI & Emily

Posted in book covers, double dips, girls, stock photos on May 12, 2010 by Jacket Whys

These days by the time I see a double dip (or some call them lookalikes) it’s on someone’s else’s book cover blog. But here’s one I haven’t seen spotted. What amazes me about these is how similar the cropping can be. I mean… does this photo model have a really weird mouth or something?
And so often, the chosen background color is the same, too.
Brand-New Emily (by Ginger Rue, Tricycle 2010, c2009) is more tan than TMI (by Sarah Quigley, Dutton 2009). Hair and eye-color has been changed. I always wonder how hard it is to do that.  Which one of these pictures is closer to the real girl?

TMI: Fifteen-year-old Becca has the habit of revealing too much personal information about herself and her friends, but when her boyfriend breaks up with her and she vows to stop “oversharing,” she does not realize that her blog postings are not nearly as anonymous as she thought. Ages 11+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Brand-New Emily: Tired of being picked on by a trio of popular girls, fourteen-year-old poet Emily hires a major public relations firm to change her image and soon finds herself “re-branded” as Em, one of the most important teens not only in her middle school, but in celebrity magazines, as well.  Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4.