Thursday, January 28, 2010

A question that's been bothering me...

I've been reading with interest about publishers and the covers they choose for books. Now, I have to say that covers play a VERY important role in my choice of books I'll pick up and read, and I can tell you, there are some ugly covers out there that are always overlooked because of it. For instance, Siberia by Ann Halam (which is actually a GREAT read!) has been hanging out on displays for about two weeks but people consistently overlook it because, face it...it has an ugly cover. Same could be said for Kissing the Bee by Kathe Koja - excellent read about friendship triangles, but the cover...doesn't make me want to pick up the book at all...I even booktalked this heavily and created a booktrailer for it, but very few takers.

But think about that for a sec - one of the most compelling and verifiably eye-catching bookcovers out there is Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy. That is the entire reason why I picked it up, but the story really hasn't drawn me in or held my interest. So, when we start to question the validity of quality of a YA book, does it start with the cover first? Are those the ones that reviewers pick out of their boxes of ARCs from publishers and go, "Oooohhh!! Aaaahhh!! Can't wait to read this -IT LOOKS GOOD!" thus already judging this book?

And always interesting to look at is when the paperback version comes out and the cover has changed to something more interesting than the previous one. Same goes for the good old classics. The only classic I know that hasn't changed with the times is the iconic Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Just some thoughts....

3 comments:

R. Henry said...

I agree whole heartedly that covers are important. There have been some great books with really stinky covers that just won't go. The worst one I can think of off the top of my head is The Carbon Diaries. The kids just look at it and say yuck. I have booktalked it, and tried to tell them that the story is good, but they cannot seem to get past the bad cover. I will have to respectfully disagree about The Monstrumologist, though. I really liked the book. it started out a little slow, but picked up speed fast in the second chapter. Sometimes, we just don't like a book, the story doesn't appeal to us. I never could get into Audrey Wait! And the original hardback had a great cover. I just couldn't stand the self absorbed, shallow main character. Even though we may start judging (and there is no denying it) when we see the cover, I think that John Green had it right in his recent SLJ article. A crummy story is still crummy, no matter how many bells and whistles you add to it. And I think the opposite is true, a good story will out, even though it may be difficult. Example--that Catcher in the Rye cover you mentioned... Ugh!

naomibates said...

Thanks Robin - I'll give Monstrumologist another try. I really tried to get into it, but was slowly becoming lost in the first few chapters.
And I agree with you about Audrey Wait! but haven't read Carbon Diaries yet. That's now on my list : )

librannie said...

You should most definitely give The Monstrumologist another try. I have been listening to it on CD while i exercise and it has been a great motivator. I am logging several extra miles because I want to keep listening to find out what's going to happen. Also, the vocabulary in this book is fantastic. I have been telling my sophomore son that if he would just read this book and find out what all of the words mean he would ace the vocab section of the ACT.

Anyway, I enjoy your blog and your book trailers.