cover madness

courtneybooks, cracked up to be, opinion, young adult lit

Everytime someone says something like, “I can’t wait to see your cover, Courtney!” I die a little inside. But in a good way.

Everyone who has held a conversation with me for longer than five minutes knows I’m crazy excited about that far-off point in the future where I’ll get to see the face of my book. Add to the fact that I absolutely love the covers St. Martin’s Griffin has done for their YA titles and I basically have no idea how to cope. If someone says, “I can’t wait to see your cover, Courtney,” it elicits this Pavlov’s dogs-type response in me. I drool. I squeal. I clap my hands together. My big, asymmetrical eyelids go wide and I hop around on one foot, biting my fist whilst saying through a mouth full of fist, “I can’t wait to see my cover either!

That’s how excited I am.

(It’s pretty sexy.)

I have been a cover geek long before I had a book that would have a cover. Something I have long enjoyed is hosting Book Cover Critiquing Parties in which I get in involved, deeply philosophical conversations with friends about the nature of book covers and how a particular cover fails or succeeds selling its product over wine and cheese nibblies. That last sentence was a lie. I was just trying to think up a more sophisticated way of saying, “Yes, my name is Courtney and I DO judge a book by it’s cover.” Although I do sometimes judge them while eating cheese nibblies.

Anyway. With this cover business so aggressively and prematurely on my mind, I thought it would be fun to do a blog entry that features my favourite YA covers. Maybe it will help get this cover excitement of my system, or at least keep it at bay, or maybe (and more likely) it will make it worse. Who knows! Let’s find out! Are you ready to have your eyes assaulted by my good taste in book covers? I am!

So without further ado, my favourite YA covers, in random order:


Skin Deep by E.M. Crane

I’ve loved this cover since first I set eyes on it. I’ve even discussed it philosophically with my friends, over wine and cheese nibblies at one of my Book Cover Critiquing Parties and the consensus was that it was gorgeous. It’s such a delicate but stunning collage of colours and brushes and I love the reds and oranges along the border. It’s rich without being overpowering. Beautiful.


Something to Blog About by Shana Norris

For some reason, I think pictures of stick people with their heads on fire are the funniest thing ever. Yes, that’s right. They make me LOL. I even went through this brief phase where I enjoyed drawing stick people with their heads on fire, except it wasn’t really brief in that it’s not over yet. The image just tickles me the right way. When my sister was getting married, I drew a stickperson representation of the ceremony and everyone in it had their heads aflame and she treasures it. I even have someone drawing a stick person with its head on fire in Cracked Up to Be just because that is how much I enjoy the visual and no, I don’t know what that says about me. Nothing good, probably. But still, picture a stick person with its head on fire RIGHT NOW AND ADMIT YOU LAUGHED. Know that it’s okay. When REAL people have their heads on fire, that’s not cool at all. That’s a TRAGEDY. And in those cases, I don’t laugh, I cry. But hand-drawn stick people with fire hair? Bwahahahah. Uhm. Where was I? Oh right. This cover–though it does not feature a stick people–is comedy gold. Every time I see it, I laugh. A cute and clever cover that makes you laugh because it is cute and clever is a great one, as far as I am concerned.

I Know It’s Over by C.K. Kelly Martin

When this cover is up on amazon, I’ll stick it here. In the mean time, you can view it at CK’s site. Why I love this cover: you know how a picture is worth a thousand words? That is certainly the case here. I love how suggestive this cover is and I love the movement of it. Glimpses of action and emotion are so compelling and there’s so much of both in this one.


Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn by Sarah Miller

For a while, everyone was getting their knickers in a twist about all of the headless bodies gracing novels. Everyone except me, that is. Maybe that’s because most of my own pictures are headless. So I have to admit that when The Face slowly made its comeback on YA covers, I was less than thrilled. But then publishers started using it in a way that made me happy, in a way that made me like them even! And by that, I mean they introduced The HALF-FACE or the WRAP-AROUND FACE (the face continues around the spine and the back of the book) and I started realizing the possibilities of faces on covers. And I decided I liked them after all. Gideon Rayburn won me over and this is one of my favourite covers that features a face. I also love the big font. These two elements and the soft lighting and colouring make it altogether very sophisticated and pretty. I love it.


Breathe My Name by R.A. Nelson

And here we have it–not a half-face or a wrap-around face but… THE OBSCURED FACE! There is something evocative about this cover; the way the frost doesn’t overwhelm, as well as the eye peeking out through the word ‘my’. The soft colours. It’s a lovely sort of eerie, vaguely ghost-like.


Looking for Alaska by John Green

I believe that’s the Australian version of the cover and I love it. Though the American version is very fitting, this one just struck a chord with me and has obviously opened up a lot of discussion about the way different countries interpret books and whether or not this is a good thing at my Book Cover Critiquing Parties that I don’t actually have. The soft focus, the pale, de-saturated colours and the vignetting make this cover look like how it FELT to read the book. Make sense? Of course it doesn’t, but when has that ever stopped me saying anything?


Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

Oh, the paperback cover makes me a little sad because I think the hardcover is absolutely explosive and provocative and I adore it.


Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones

Every time I see this cover, I have to pause and admire. It’s one of my favourites because it looks like a playful, vibrant and fun promise to the reader.


In the Garage by Alma Fullerton

Beautiful, yes? The cut and paste feel of the cover and the way the red pops just gets me every time. I love that each image within seems vital, no less or more important than the one before it–everything seems to fit and balance perfectly. Like I said: beautiful.


Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

You know the t-shirt site threadless? And how everyone bought t-shirts from threadless for a while? Because they were painfully cool and hip and stuff? Well, this is the cover equivalent of threadless. It is painfully cool and hip. But even more so. This cover rocks.


Boy Heaven by Laura Kasischke

I don’t know what edition of the book this is. I found it on goodreads and it grabbed me immediately and I don’t know why. It’s dark and edgy and scary and I love the juxtaposition of the title, the scratches and the photograph. It’s disturbing! Brilliantly disturbing, like a zombie mo–AH. And now I know why this cover grabbed me immediately. So I should probably deduct a point then, for unfair advantage. Except I can’t because I love it too much and I think I would love it if I had never seen and enjoyed a zombie movie in my life. Also, it’s not the book’s fault that my brain brings everything back to zombies.

And there you have it: a sampling of some of my YA favourite covers! I would do more but collecting the images, resizing, uploading and coding them made my head want to explode (oh, html, you are a harsh mistress). Maybe one day you will see part two of this entry or maybe you won’t, as I’m not foolish enough to make blog promises I can’t keep. And for the record, this did not help my cover excitement AT ALL, but I didn’t really think it would. So anyone got any favourite YA covers? Send the links my way. I want to fan the flames of my excitement further because I never learn.

In other news, I wanted to make a sideways joke about the religion this guy belongs to in my latest book but then I watched a bunch of expose videos about said religion on youtube and now I’m too terrified to even speak its name in my blog. Or out loud. It makes me sad too, because it was probably a brilliant joke, just like all the jokes I make are. SIGH.