Cover redesigns: you usually either love ’em or you hate ’em. Sometimes a new cover will simply induce a “meh” and not much else, but it usually ignites pretty strong feelings in readers (especially those who insist on matching covers for a series!).
It’s a topic that’s been widely covered by many book bloggers — but I feel the need to add my two cents and highlight the cover designs that really bug me personally. I’m featuring some of the books/series that I’ve really enjoyed that unfortunately suffered devastating cover redesigns (or at least, devastating to me). Be prepared for an onslaught of book-ish design woes!
1. Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
Ok, I’ll admit that the original cover wasn’t my favorite at first. But once I read the book and really loved it (it’s funny! And really gets us nerdy girls perfectly!), it grew on me. I like the colors, and the handwritten title seems very bold and assertive. Even the model grew on me — glasses will always be associated with intelligence, I think.
But my love for the first cover only tripled after seeing what had been done with the design for the paperback cover. I suppose I’ll admit it’s visually pleasing (and definitely has a hipster vibe going on), but that’s all it has going for it. While I suppose glasses only stereotypically represents “smart,” a pink TUTU doesn’t exactly scream “I have great brainpower!” The model’s entire pose seems childish — yes, celebratory also I guess — and just doesn’t seem to fit the vibe of the book like the hardcover design.
The thing that KILLS me is how the paperback cover seems to suggest that getting the guy is the whole point of the book. While the book does have romance, it’s mainly about self-improvement and doing the thing that scares you most. Instead in the cover she’s twirling around with some guy in a field. WHAT? Maybe it’s my newfound feminism that makes me hypersensitive to these things (I do go to a woman’s college!), but it bugs me to no end. Ugh.
2. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Perfect Ruin‘s original cover is simply beautiful. It’s not overdone or flashy, but it has unique typography. The gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations tie into the story itself — the branches with hanging items off them have to do with one of Internment’s (the society in the book) holidays, and the gears in the upper left corner have connections with the plot. The stars are lovely, and for once I think the cover model is perfect. She doesn’t just seem like another girl in a pretty dress. Everything from the color and design of her dress, the style of her hair, to even her reflective and withdrawn pose set her apart and draw me in. It feels special, intimate, and wondrous, feelings that fit the sense I got from the world of Internment itself.
But what happened in the paperback version?? Every time I look at it I find a new issue with it. Overall presents as uber-plain, and not in an appealing way. The title is nearly invisible, and I think the style of the cover is such that it’s even hard to identify as YA. While a shattering figurine should hold some interest, it just doesn’t do it for me — maybe because I’ve seen a few other adults books like this lately. And though the bird fits because flight/the sky is a major theme in the book, it falls flat for me. The illustrations add some much-needed color, but they seem kind of random (they may or may not be feathers?). Worse yet, the hardback version of the sequel is switching over to this later design. * face palms *
3. The “Across the Universe” series by Beth Revis
This is one of my most favorite series — and it was the original cover that first caught my eye. I was bound to love it anyway, seeing that Across the Universe is Sci-fi written by Beth Revis (so of course it’s genius), but it was love at first sight when I saw the cover. The galaxies, the light, the color,
skdlfjh*!ksjhd. Words fail. And while the faces on the cover feature so much sexual tension it’s almost uncomfortable, it actually does tie-in to the book, crazily enough. The second cover is even more nuanced and beautiful, and gives more dimension. Note: the third original cover I suspect is fan-made, because no such third cover was ever released. Which brings me to…
…the paperback design that eventually replaced the original design for the final book in the series. These covers aren’t bad, per say. Actually, they’ve got a lot going for them. Heck, I probably would’ve even liked these covers a lot had they been the originals. They’ve got a lot of crossover appeal, both between YA and adult and between books that cater to both females and males (if you subscribe to that sort of thing. Sadly, even if you don’t it still exists.). The design is very futuristic/Sci-fi in it’s typography, the textures are cool, the small symbol and “environments” tie into the book nicely, and they’re pretty colorful. The symbols, etc. are very typical of popular series these days, like The Hunger Games of the Legend series.
Despite all of these benefits, the switch still feels traitorous. You can’t just drop such a gorgeous design, and especially not 2/3 of the way through the series! That there was no final book released with the original design is practically criminal. The part of me that deeply appreciates aesthetics kind of just wants to curl up and cry. I don’t own any of the books in the series because I borrowed them from the library, but I can assure you my rage would’ve been tenfold had I bought the first two books when they came out,and been left with an incomplete set.
Are my judgements and outrages a bit dramatic? Maybe. I can’t help myself, guys — when covers can be so beautiful and relevant to the book, why make them otherwise? * sigh * It’s a shame authors don’t have more say over cover designs, and that trends and sales so often drive them.