Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Judging The Big Reveal

Rule #1: Never judge a book by its cover *insert admonishing finger here*
Rule #2: Always get excited about cover reveals!

To be honest, I never paid attention to the anticipation of a cover reveal until the Harry Potter books came out. Then it was all speculation and analysis and curiosity and excitement and... you get the idea. Even then, I really didn't notice until the rise of the "YA novel" as an entity all its own. Of course, any avid reader/book lover/author follower will always be ready for any news of the next book they are devoted to pick up. However, it seems to me that YA novel cover reveals have reached an entirely new status of acclaim. Do they have events for these things? Maybe they should.

It does problematize something I was diligently taught as a child (see Rule #1 above). Of course that phrase refers to more than just, well, books but I always took it seriously even when I was scouring bookstore fantasy sections for the coolest rendition of a dragon or the kids' sections for the most brilliant whimsical artwork. I still knew that what lay inside was more than its glossy interior.

Oh, those eyes...
However, now I get very perturbed by the abundance of glossy young females with piercing eyes and pouty lips. I'm judging, I admit to you now. I'm judging hard. I'll be less inclined to nab one of those versus an artful challenging cover. So perhaps these cover reveals are a double-edged sword--slice right through to the hearts of teens everywhere, but possibly severing my tie before I get a chance to research the book itself.

Check out this Pinterest Board of cover reveals (by Epic Reads) and see if you can guess which ones I love. Are there any that stand out to you?


  1. Oh man, I judge these glossy-lipped "this book is for girls!" covers SO HARD. I think the import of the "Cover Reveal!" has risen along with the popularity/marketability of YA novels. I would say in the last 6-7 years (basically since Twilight became an insane phenomenon) YA has become its own cog in the capitalism machine. I'm not denigrating YA in the least -- I love to read it and buy it, thus contributing to the money-making endeavor -- but I do think "teen books" and "marketability" have become even more intensely linked than they were in our childhoods, with Sweet Valley High and the BSC.

    Certainly (as one of our esteemed profs has written about) children's lit has always been linked with marketing, but it feels like the teen audience has become even more of a commodity in the last half-decade, and that audience has also reached into 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and the parents of the teens who are reading. Now YA is part plot, part advertising.

    What is also interesting to me is how separated the writers are from the marketing. My bff who is a YA author is an AMAZING writer, and I get most of my book recommendations from her, as she has quite an eye for other great writing. And in a perfect world, her books would sell solely on the merit of her talent. But in our world, they had to change her book covers from the first published iteration in order to reach a wider audience. (Ironically, it was because her first cover was too provocative -- too "adult" to reach a younger audience.)

    So even though we are taught not to judge a book by its cover, we are in an age where the cover is what entices young adult readers. It also perpetuates this ideal of what a teenage girl should aspire to -- pretty, made-up, fascinating. It almost feels as if YA novels are the new teen magazines!

  2. I completely agree with your entire comment; it's quite perturbing to see the turn that covers and content have taken for the YA novel. When you think that teens are able to acquire their own books (as opposed to young children relying on their parents) it becomes more unsettling. These covers are eaten up by teens! Publishers say that the dreamy teen cover sells the most--so indeed it does perpetuate the vision of the ideal girl.

    The YA novel is a relatively young genre so I can't say for certain whether I would fall for the cover trap if I were a teen but I doubt it.

  3. I also have to say your observation that they are like the new teen magazine makes me think of the fictional stories sometimes printed in mags, or even the Mickey Mouse Club. I don't know when that ended but I believe they used to do all variety of skits on there, one being an ongoing soap opera/drama type thing. You might say the YA novel is an extension of that behavior or interest, a means of prolonging the (hormonally supported?) bent toward drama.