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. It’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?


Filed under The Cover Girl

2 responses to “The Cover Girl

  1. stephanie

    “I am about dreaming and sleeping and maybe waking up”. Very funny. Good idea! Covers can be so random. Can you please do this every week/month or something? Also, I want to read that book now. And I can’t wait to see THE INBETWEEN’s cover!

  2. writerkirsty

    I want to read this, too! Um… how about Christmas?
    TI’s cover is going to ROCK.

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