cover love: marcelo in the real world

When you think about silhouettes in art and design, what’s the first image that pops into your head? Is it an 18th century portrait? A movie poster? (And is it the Scarface poster — that’s what comes to my mind at least) Are silhouettes too dull and uninteresting? Are they copouts to creating a multidimensional person or object?

Or does a silhouette make you want to shed more light on the person it belongs to?

After half an hour of prowling the entire internet (I wish I was kidding about that), I’ve finally discovered the artist responsible for the silhouetted Marcelo and Jasmine pictured above on the cover art for Marcelo in the Real World — the talented Dan McCarthy.

I’ll be honest — the cover art for Marcelo is what prompted me to journey to my local library last year and pick it up so I could see it in the wild. (I had initially seen it on Maggie Stiefvater’s Goodreads account where she sang its praises) I think what drew me in at first were the glimmering stars.

Then I zeroed in on those centered silhouettes. If you look at Dan’s website, you’ll see a lot of the same type of artwork — lots of silhouettes, trees, dark colors and serious tones. A feeling of wonder, curiosity, and a little bit of loneliness washes over me as I look at all of his pieces. But in regards to Marcelo’s design, the silhouettes create a story. The dark and light work so beautifully together – light words in the title font and bright twinkling stars are in harmony with the dark tree, tree house, landscape and telephone poles. Cover designer Christopher Stengel (of The Wolves of Mercy Falls cover art fame) uses the empty space below the earth and places the type in a way that makes this feel like an indie movie poster.

But what I love the most about this cover art is how genuine it is in illustrating Marcelo’s story. It perfectly captures the way you feel as you read this book from his point of view.

What about you? Is there a cover that you’ve loved even more after you read the novel because its face was an absolutely perfect representation of its story?

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10 thoughts on “cover love: marcelo in the real world

  1. This cover made me read this book — it’s brilliant. The other two silhouette covers I love are The Penderwicks and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Oh! And how can I forget the original Steven Augarde covers for The Various, etc…

    You do know what MaryRose Wood says in The Mysterious Howling, right? “All books are judged by their covers, until they are read.” Thanks for a great blog!

    • Ooh I haven’t seen The Penderwicks cover before! (Sometimes I feel like MG novels have better covers than YA) And I do love Calpurnia Tate. So glad you’re enjoying the blog, I hope you stop by often. =)

  2. I just got this book in the mail about an hour ago! Weird coincidence. Well, the cover and title for Paper Towns by John Green certainly have more meaning after reading the book than before. I love that.

    • Becca, I hope you love the book as much as I did. (It made me want to read more books with autistic characters) And which Paper Towns cover are you talking about? I’m assuming the one with push pin, which is my favorite.

  3. I love this cover! I had seen it so many times online and then finally got my hands on it last week at work and it’s just so lovely in the flesh!

  4. One of my favorite silhouette covers is the Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Love the book and the cover!

    A book cover that comes to mind that I loved at first sight – The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, is also a silhouette cover. I think I just love silhouette covers. But The Monsters of Templeton is special because I bought it one day in Borders, it was sitting on a display table and I just happen to be passing by, and I picked it up because I couldn’t help myself and I bought it before ever reading the back. I just loved the cover that much. And then after reading the book I understood the cover so much better. There are a ton of clues hidden in the cover about the plot and it was exciting to read and turn to look at the cover when I thought I had made some connections. The whole thing is a beautiful mystery.

    I have not read Marcello in the Real World yet, but it is on my list and in my office waiting for me. I too was drawn to the cover. Other great silhouette covers: The Cabinet of Wonders (book 1) and the Celestial Globe (book 2) by Marie Rutkoski.

  5. Pingback: Forever Young Adult, a community for adult YA readers to find book reviews, movie reviews, book news, film news and gossip about new and upcoming teen books and movies.

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