Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bookanistas: Sci-Fi/Dystopian Cover Love

Recently I found myself with the great fortune of being invited to participate in the Bookanistas, a group of YA authors who write about books on a weekly basis. And to this invitation I said YES PLEASE.

Recently I have also found myself paying attention to book covers more than usual. This happens often in life-- you're thinking about getting a haircut, so you pay attention to everyone's hair; you're looking at houses, so you start knocking on other people's floorboards to see if the wood floors are real or fake (that might just be me). Anyway, because I was getting so jittery about posting my cover, I started paying special attention to book covers, which is why I'm going to be gushing about some covers this week.

More specifically, I will be gushing about sci-fi/dystopian book covers, because A. I love this genre, B. I write this genre, and C. I am SO pleased that sci-fi/dystopian is really getting a foothold right now, because it's what I've always liked to read and I find it extremely interesting. So, some gorgeous sci-fi/dystopian covers of upcoming books, for your viewing pleasure.

1. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis (January 11th, 2011)

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

(Must. Read.)

When I first got a look at this cover, it looked like this:

And though there were many covers to look at, at the time, my eye sort of drifted toward it independently of my brain and then fixated on it, because not only is it very different from a lot of the YA covers you see out there, it is also beautiful. While I was perusing Beth Revis's blog the other day, though, I saw that she revealed an updated version that looks like this:

Now, if you had asked me if the first cover could be improved in any way, I probably wouldn't have come up with anything, but after seeing the new version, I keep having to wipe drool off my keyboard. I think replacing the white space with, uh, space space was a great call, because it looks richer now, and I like that the tagline is now in a more prominent place, because I don't think I really noticed it in the first version.

Also, now you get to see what Kiersten White says about the book, which is always a good thing, because Kiersten is awesome. So, in a few words, this cover: different, beautiful, eye-catching. I was initially attracted to the book by its cover (I read the summary a little later), which is the point, yes? SUCCESS.

2. POSSESSION by Elana Johnson (June 2011)

In a world where thinkers control the population and rules aren't meant to be broken, one fifteen-year-old girl is tired of belonging to someone else.

I generally gravitate toward simplicity, which is why I loved the cover of MATCHED so much, and the same is true of POSSESSION. That whole "butterfly fighting its way out" thing is just saturated with meaning, particularly given the concept of the book. It's such a surprising and intriguing image, so I'm glad the rest of the cover allows you to just stare at it and consider it, rather than getting distracted by anything else around it. This cover also has the desired effect of making me want to read the book even more than I did when I just knew the tagline. So: gorgeous and thought-provoking. So excited.

3. DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver (February 1st, 2011)

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

The ARC of this book had a different cover, which had a more melancholy feel to it, and I liked that one, but not as much as I like this. First of all, it's simpler, and I feel like I am staring into it to discover something about the girl's image. And once I've ogled at it for a few seconds, I can finally piece together her expression, which is interesting in and of itself-- she's got her eyes closed, but her mouth is slightly open, and not in that "I've fallen asleep and I may drool" way. To me that expression looks a little like she's steadying herself as she waits for impending doom, which is absolutely perfect for this book.

It's lovely, just like the writing inside. That Lauren Oliver has some serious talent-- as do her cover designers.

4. XVI by Julia Karr (January 6th, 2011)

In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, what with the tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; since for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on. Then there’s that murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and just happens to be her little sister’s dad.

This cover and the Delirium one have a similar vibe, but I put them next to each other on purpose-- because I love the idea that two covers could have a similar design concept but come across in completely different and equally amazing ways. First of all, while I was staring into the Delirium cover, the XVI cover is staring at me. I love that the girl holds your gaze-- and therefore, your attention-- and also that she's a little blurry, so the letters are more prominent. Actually, it seems like the letters are stamped across her like a giant label, which, if you read the first chapter on Julia Karr's website (and you SO SHOULD), seems accurate. The black, the size of the title, it's all working for me.

This is also an example of a seriously good tagline. Innocence expires at sixteen. It's just soaked with disturbing, intriguing dystopian goodness.

So, now that I have overwhelmed you with awesomeness (and with my intense cover analysis), this is what the other Bookanistas are up to this week...

Beth Revis and Jamie Harrington are spreading some cover love for POSSESSION.

Christine Fonseca is raving over THE REPLACEMENT.

Elana Johnson has a special Friday edition, where she helps launch the book, EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS.

Carolina Valdez Miller is crying over JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD.

Lisa and Laura Roecker are crazy over MATCHED.

Shelli Johannes-Wells is tempting us with a DESIRES sneak peek!

Shannon Messenger
is showing some serious MG love with MG SPOTLIGHT.


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