“Okay, I know this cover looks stupid but I promise you this is an awesome book.”
“Yeah, that emo girl isn’t really representative of the story. In fact … she doesn’t even have bleach blonde hair. It’s actually brown.”
“What do the flowers mean? Uhhhh….”
“I DON’T KNOW WHY SHE’S WEARING A DRESS EITHER!”
You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? It’s because we’ve all said something along these lines, often accompanied by a snarky eye roll. The YA coversphere isn’t exactly permeated with fantastic cover art that stands out, unfortunately. You walk into the teen section of your library or bookstore and you know exactly where you are, and not because of some giant sign announcing your location, either. Step over into the land of fiction, and voila, you’ve stepped into a country where the cover design gods have clearly given their blessing.
The same goes for my favorite cover design websites, like The Book Cover Archive. Don’t go searching and expecting to see YA cover art over there. You won’t find it.
I have a point here, I promise. And it’s this: Publishers, teens deserve good cover design, too.
June: for most librarians serving teens, it’s either the start of summer reading or the end of a school year. It’s also the reminder that the year’s nearly half over, and for avid readers, it’s time to reflect on the first six months of reading and consider potential award-worthy books. So take a few minutes at the end of this month and think about those books written by debut authors that might be worthy of being nominated for the William C Morris Award and submit your own nomination. But before diving in, check out these debut titles making their way to shelves this month.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Margaret McElderry/Simon and Schuster, 9781442429984) is another worthy entry into the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre. Twin brother and sister Lugh and Saba live with their father and younger sister Emmi in a desolate world that’s frequently ravaged by dust stories. From the beginning of the book, readers are thrown into this storm that kills their father and brings with it a band of men who steal Lugh to places unknown. Unwilling to sit back and let her life be ruined before her life, Saba takes Emmi and herself on a quest through their world to find Lugh. Little did she anticipate that Lugh would be used as a pawn in a vicious world of drug cartels, and Saba now must fight for her life and the lives of those she loves. Fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth will no doubt love the high stakes action in this fast-paced novel. The book’s written in a dialect that gives real place to the world and real voice to Saba, who might be even more of a hard-fisted girl than Katniss. Continue reading Debuting in June