Daily Archives: August 26, 2009

The Cover Girl

*Judging Books By Their Covers Since Now*

Lots of blogs review books. Some of my new favorites are YA Fresh, A Flight of Minds (authored by two teenagers), and Carrie’s YA Bookshelf. Plus lots more. And (not going to lie) I am imagining THE INBETWEEN’s review on all those sites. But the point is, there are lots of blogs that review books, so I’m not going to add to the frenzy. I definitely don’t have the time, especially since one of my textbooks this semester is called “Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student” and is pretty hefty-sized.

So instead I will experiment with calling myself The Cover Girl … and judge books by their covers. Don’t deny it, you do this too. Some book covers have this quality that grabs your eyes and won’t let them go. What makes a great cover great? We’ll analyze title, color, tag line, “grab” factor, etc., and see how it goes. It might not go. But here goes anyway.

First up: WAKE by Lisa McMann.

Let’s pretend we haven’t Amazoned this book and drooled over its awesome website and become quite jealous of Ms. McMann’s success — and start fresh. We are walking through B&N and BAM there is the book on the shelf. Let’s evaluate The Cover Girl’s four essential questions:

  1. Pick up or move on? Pick up. The neon-lavender font color blows my mind. Black is striking.┬áIt’s a NYT Bestseller.
  2. The title factor? (Yes, I know this isn’t a question. I’m working on it. Deal.) Anyway, I’m a fan of one-word titles. No need to blink or re-read or ponder, plus the all-caps thing practically screams in our faces. Title communicates urgency — this is not Writing HTML for Dummies. This is exciting.
  3. Does the tag line make me blink? Good tag lines play with things everyone knows — and then twist them up and say gotcha! This tag line is creepy, especially when juxtaposed with the title. It makes me think of nightmares — getting stuck inside weird dreams and not being able to WAKE up.
  4. Does this cover tell me something about the story? Not to rant about TWILIGHT, because actually I secretly kind of like the book sometimes, but TWILIGHT’s cover communicates nothing about its story. The images confuse me: an apple? twilight? what? But WAKE’s cover says “I AM ABOUT DREAMING AND SLEEPING AND MAYBE WAKING UP”. The bare pillow is startling, too. Where is the sleeper? I get an instant idea of the story’s general premise, plus I want to know more.
  5. Do I know the genre? Here I stumble. The starkness factor suggests that this is a thriller or something edgy. I know the time period, or at least can guess that it’s modern because of the font type, pillow, and colors. But other than that, I don’t know what to expect. Romance? Paranormal? Straight thriller? YA? Adult?

However. The Cover Girl has picked this book up a long time ago, because the cover gives me shivers. Lastly, let’s ask the all-important sixth question: Does the jacket flap propel this from an OH COOL to a MUST HAVE?

Click here for Ms. McMann’s website and a summary of the book. The Cover Girl is stunned and excited by the back cover, and gives WAKE’s appearance a big round of applause. It’s on her summer 2010 reading list. But the question still stands:

What makes a cover jump off the shelf? What makes a B&N customer pick WAKE over the five million other titles in the YA section? And how did Lisa McMann get so lucky?


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