It’s been a while since we’ve talked covers here, and I thought it would be fun to look at some recent cover changes. Some of these are good, some are bad, and some are straight up strange. Without further ado.
I’m quite fond of the cover for Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution. I like that it’s current and historical, which really speaks to the story itself. The half-and-half color and black and white set up is eye catching, and this stands out on the shelf. As much as I don’t usually like people on the cover, this one just works.
But then, it was changed.
I really dislike this change. The girl looks like she’s mid-sneeze, and why she’s pressing the key against a weird part of her face (not kissing it or rubbing it in some sort of sentimental way) is beyond me. Her fingers are also oddly similarly sized for being different fingers. I think this doesn’t tell anything about the story, and the cover is generic enough to match every other book cover with a girl’s face on it. And if we’re going to talk about the historical aspect being not represented here, we can, but I think that the heavy eye make up does that enough itself. Also, I don’t think this looks like a teenager at all. I’m also not a fan of the muted color scheme, as it isn’t eye catching at all.
The next two cover changes really irk me. As you know, I really dislike how YA books have shied away from featuring plus size girls on the cover, and both of these books have suffered from this syndrome in their hard cover versions.
Fat Cat by Robin Brande’s original cover isn’t bad, actually. I like the color combo, and I think that it stands out on the shelf because it’s not a girl, and because it’s purple and yellow. Even though it doesn’t feature a plus size girl (which the book does), I think this is an acceptable cover. It doesn’t have food on it, and it doesn’t have a skinny girl lying around pretending to be the main character.
Unfortunately, that changed in the paperback version.
Please, can we get anymore stereotypical? A bag of potato chips? The title spelled out in the chips (and an eaten apple — because let’s make sure there’s something healthy there, too). I hate this cover. It’s a total disservice to the content inside, and it does nothing but perpetuate the idea that I so greatly hate. This cover has a tag line on it which reads “How far would you go to change your life, win the science fair, and get back at the guy who broke your heart?” Not bad, but again, the image does nothing for that. Why did this cover need to change? The first one was pretty stand out, and now, it just falls into the trend that doesn’t need to continue being perpetuated. Honestly, there needs to be more said about this issue because raising a stink about white washing covers has caused things to change — why isn’t the same being done for fat washing? It’s not okay.
I’ve talked about Cherie Bennett’s cover for Life in the Fat Lane before. This is actually the reprint cover, as the original cover from this 1999 books looked like this. I hate this cover so much. It’s disgusting and triggering, and it’s completely unrealistic. Because anyone believes someone who pinches that little on her stomach is fat.
Unfortunately, the new paperback does no favors, either.
Did you guys know this book is about a 200 pound girl? Would you get that from this cover? That girl is, at most, 150 pounds (if she’s 8 feet tall, perhaps). This cover makes me irate in so many ways, and it’s again another wretched example of putting a skinny girl on a cover. Can I tell you something? If you’re a fat girl looking for a story about a fat girl and this is what the cover looks like, I don’t think you’re going to relate to the story at all. Why the hell would you want to pick it up? If you’re a 200 pound teen girl, you don’t look like that. You’re turning off your audience in one image. Let’s also talk briefly about the tag line: “It could happen to you.” Fat — and let me say this with emphasis — is not a disease you catch. Fat people can do stuff that not fat people can do. I know, right? So this book then aims to make readers feel bad about their bodies and that they don’t look like the 200 pound girl on the cover. Absolutely disgusting.
If you’re trying to reach a certain readership, and you present them with this image and that tag line, you are failing so hard. This is a complete wreck, and it’s really unfortunate, but the fact of the matter is, I won’t buy a book with a cover that so greatly distorts things and that aims to make readers feel BAD about who they are. Because you know what, that’s what this does. What a shame.
I have to admit to not reading this book because I am so turned off, but I should also say this: it doesn’t sound like a body positive book from the description. The girl begins skinny (perhaps that explains this cover?) but then packs on the pounds and gets to be a “blimp,” as the description on GoodReads says. Maybe the cover isn’t so far off. But then that begs the question of why this book is still in print and being pushed, since it’s clearly not meant to make anyone feel good, especially when the last line in the description considers fat girls a world in which to be “left alone.”
There seem to be two camps of readers: those who love Melinda Marchetta and those who can’t get into her. I fall squarely into the “can’t” side of the equation, and I’ve given her three goes before. Alas, I adore this cover for Finnikin of the Rock. It perfectly captures the fantasy of the story, and the colors and placement of the sword make this a stand out on the shelf. I love book covers that capture the elements of the story, and this is one of them. What else I like about this cover is that it sort of looks like there is a face in the background — you have to focus a little bit, but the red dot on the sword handle, combined with the way the tree branches bend at the top and the curve of red and black at the bottom sort of make a face shape.
And here’s the small makeover the paperback cover got:
This time, there really is a face! I think this makes the cover a little creepier, which still works quite well. What I find interesting is that they moved the placement of the title and the author on the paperback — the author went to the top of the cover and the title to the bottom (along with a blurb). The sword changed a bit too, now lacking the red that laced up the blade. The coloring is a tad bit different too; this one’s more muted than the hard cover, perhaps because of the addition of the face element. For me, both covers work quite well, and I think both speak to the content and they appeal greatly to the readership.
The cover for Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead has always been one of my favorites. It captures the story so well, and the image is hard to miss on the shelf. While it’s a dark cover, the white mask really speaks to the Maori legends at play in the story, and that, combined with the trees in the background and red title font, really do make it eye catching. There are a lot of pleasing visual elements here. Also, it’s just the right amount of creepy, too, to draw both fans of creepy stories and those who might not be sure if they do or not.
I do not like the paperback redesign, though. It steals away all of the awesome elements of the hard cover, and it instead gives us this washed out red person. The title font even loses its spark in the redesign, fading instead of standing out. While I understand the importance of having the Morris sticker on the front, for me, that’s the only thing that stands out on the cover. This is one that fades into the shelf space, and it tells nothing about the story at all. Why did they take away the mask? The trees? The awesome title font? The paperback cover is forgettable.
I’ve always had a love for Jon Skovron’s cover for Struts & Frets. I love the way that it’s set up like a sketch book, and the font for the title is so perfect. Even with a person on the cover, it’s still a knock out, as the person really gets to the story, I think. The color of the cover is striking, too: how many covers feature a neon green against red? This is a knock out.
And let’s look at the redesign — I don’t get why it was redone, but I like this one, too:
The same cool sketch set up, but this time instead of being stars from the center out, it’s just the notepad with a bit of a green hue to it. I love the treble in the middle, along with the streams of what I assume are meant to be sound. I dig the way the neck of the guitar plays into the title itself, which serves as the tuning peg. It’s very smartly designed and extremely appealing. I also dig the title font and coloring, as they mirror the original. I feel like this didn’t need the redesign, since the hard cover was pretty darn good, but this book lucked out because both covers are excellent.
The last cover redesign I want to talk about is one that came to my attention via Melissa Walker’s Cover Story post.
I completely adore this cover. I love the semi-faded title font and author font, and I love how the flag is the backdrop. All we get for people are the silhouettes. It’s pitch perfect in capturing the story, and it’s a cover that pops on the shelf. Stripes! They don’t get used enough in cover designs, and I think it’s effective here from that stand point and because of simply what it represents in the context of the story.
As Melissa’s post talked about, all of Reinhardt’s paperback books are getting a redesign to become more cohesive and easily identifiable. I like the idea of having authors have their books look like they belong together (from the publisher’s/author’s perspective, it’s branding) but for me, it’s about reader’s advisory and about shelving. I love when I can look at a book’s cover and know who I could recommend it for because it is reminiscent of other authors who are similar.
That said, I think this redesign takes away some of the elements that make the hard cover such a wow cover. This is pretty generic. Though, I think the fact it’s brighter than the hard cover does give into the hint that while this story is a bit of a tear jerker, it is ultimately a hopeful journey. And, too, it plays into the idea of the journey with the road and brothers walking together (though the taller guy from the back looks more like a dad than a 19 or 20 year old boy, doesn’t it?).
What do you think? Are any of the recovers better than others? Worse?