What do these new 2012 books have in common? The models on their covers. It seems that many of the young adult books you see today have young, enticing looking models on their covers. There's swirls and smoke and misty flowers and an ethereal quality to all them
|Timekeeper looks like some sort of eighties cover with the boy and his haircut and random tux. Sigh.|
|An airbrushed girl wearing a lacy white and black dress on massive rose petals staring seductively at me.|
|And the Temptation of Angels cover: the model's face is heavily airbrushed, and she's just looking off into the distance with a gorgeous, lost look in her purple-contact-lens-ed (or photoshopped) eyes.|
But what I don't understand is why they are necessary. The idea, the content and the overall theme of the book should be reflected on it's cover, not a person or model.
I think the identity of the book is lost with false covers. There has got to be a more deep message designed in only a way art can portray. However, these books I've portrayed are pretty self-centered (I'm not sure about pandemonium. Delirium was brilliant though) I mean, Becca and Patch? Starcrossed lovers. Same with Daniel and Luce. It's all about that couple facing supernatural obstacles. I guess it's reasonable that the covers should have the couple, or at least one of them, on the cover.
Perhaps it's just that young adult books have become so shallow, that the covers must automatically reflect this shallowness, or maybe not. I believe, based on Delirium's amazingness, that Pandemonium is just as amazing, and deep and meaningful. It doesn't deserve an orange cover with Lena (presumably) staring seductively at the us. This isn't about her seducing anyone! Let's compare the covers for Delirium.
The original cover is brilliant. It shows how Lena is trapped in this world where love is a disease, where she can't love and where she's being smothered by a misled society.
The new cover is terrible. It shows Lena, look seductive with her glossy lips slightly parted, and her eyes saying "Look at me". The flowers are a nice touch to fill in the rest of the the space. But it doesn't reflect the brilliance of the book! It has no hidden meaning, or depth to it at all.
What I never understood was the cover of The Dark Divine (and the other books in this series) by Bree Despain.
These books are not about pale, slender legs and nailpolish. Nor is it about Grace wearing thin shawls across her legs or lower half of her body. This is about Grace who is searching for a way to cure her dark and mysterious werewolf boyfriend, Daniel and rescuing her brother. What does spindly legs have to do with anything? You call tell with my tone that I'm quite passionate about this subject that I've been trying to express something. Maybe I should provide examples of good covers, instead of focusing so much on the negative aspects.
This covers are beautifully done. Shiver had a lyrical simplicity to it, almost fairy-tale like, and the light blue trees and detailed leaves represent that perfectly, in a lovely, realistically twisted tree branch pattern. The faint wolf in the background is there for many reasons: because Sam keeps his identity secret so few people know that he exists as a wolf. Or that he's distant from Grace because he can't be with her if he's a wolf. The red, bloody dot represents a darker part of the book, something that may seem small, but is present in the deep parts of the story. I mean, aren't those valid observations, all based on just looking at the cover alone?
Now this lovely cover is brilliantly done. The subtle map in the background, hidden by light blue waves of sea water, calm and peaceful, with a boat containing two lovers about to kiss...how magical! Everlasting is fairy tale like in a way too, with a story of adventure and romance and ships and pirating and islands and fights and a quest and a villain: all while shipping across the world. The map is ideal for that reason, and in the romance is a beautifully simple one: the font of the title giving it a cute feel.
Now I have spent nearly two hours trying to get this post together. Blogger is terrible when it comes to trying to move pictures around effectively. Phew! Nonetheless, I hope I'm brought light to an issue I hope you all agree with me on. What do you think? Did I insult a cover you enjoyed (I am truly sorry, I mean no offense)? Do you think cover artists should put more thought into books, or marketers should try different tactics?