Dearest Darling Works of Cover Art,
I have some heartbreaking news. Yes, for all ten of you, I’m afraid.
Ever heard the saying, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”? Oftentimes that phrase is endearing, insightful, and promising. Sadly, that very same phrase doesn’t hold a lick of truth in what I’m about to tell you. Because sometimes what’s on the outside counts too. Call me superficial. Call me judgmental. Call me the biggest cover art snob in the world.
I’d be okay with that.
You’re probably wanting some answers, I guess. Why me? Why do you find me so repulsive? Was it something I said? Was it because I wore those tie-dye leggings with my favorite sweater vest that one time?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Here, I’ll even go into a little more detail to set the record straight, for each and every one of you.
I’m embarrassed to be seen with you.
1) Going Too Far (Jennifer Echols)
Your heart said all the right words. You made me all gushy over your love interest, that Officer After. (Gah he was such a tortured gentleman.) But your face? And those other faces?! Your emotions were right, spot-on in fact, when it came to the tone of your story, but I couldn’t bring myself to purchase you at my bookstore. I had to wait until an unmarked box showed up at my office, and it was only then (after I’d closed my blinds and locked my door) that I could even bear to look at you.
Oh, and it looks like Johnafter is about to eat Meg’s face. I didn’t appreciate that, either.
2) Perfect Chemistry series (Simone Elkeles)
I don’t understand your obsession with people on the verge of or in the middle of making out. I feel like I’m interrupting something and invading someone’svery personal space. And good grief, why are so many of them wet on the cover? Oh, wait, let me guess, a couch or leaning against a wall or wherever teens make out nowadays is just too boring, right?
You just…gah, too much PDA. Get a room, star-crossed lovers.
3) Every Mass Market Paperback Romance Book in the Universe
Okay, so there may be a little more than ten of you. But really.
4) Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding)
I understand you’re supposed to look like a diary. I understand that your surprised eyes and mouth are supposed to be quirky and cute. But you know what? You completely freak me out. In fact, I’m going to move on quickly so I don’t have to look at your bizarre book-face for much longer.
5) The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
I know you’re one of the most recognized and celebrated pieces of cover art in American literature. I know you’re almost a century old and your story is a timeless work. But I can’t help but think that deep down in the hearts of millions of your readers that they were all kinda creeped out by your floaty eyes, too.
You talk too much.
6) Little Brother (Cory Doctorow)
I’ll have to admit, you were pretty impressive at first glance. You were mysterious, different, and I kinda fell for your binary code.
Then you started talking. A lot. In fact you talked so much and so loud that I couldn’t tell who had originally created you, the authors who blurb’d all over your cover or your own author. There were too many voices competing, which left me feeling confused. And the few brain cells that were left in my head from a long day of work weren’t up for the challenge, unfortunately.
You’re too young for me.
7) Lovestruck Summer (Melissa Walker)
The term “young” is relative, of course. I get it that you’re cute and fun. And sure, I’m in my late twenties, I know I’m not your target demographic (teenagers). And while I can’t speak for a teenager nowadays, 16-year-old me wouldn’t take a second glance at you. I would’ve turned up my nose and boxed you up with my Lisa Frank stickers. You’re on par with my love for Hello Kitty (I don’t love her). You’re just too pink and girly.
You kinda get around.
8) North of Beautiful (Justina Chen Headley) and 9) Evermore (Alyson Noël)
I like my cover art to be original. But when I see you shacking up with other novels, it diminishes your sparkle, sorry. Sad thing is, I’ve heard wonderful things about the both of you. But I’ve come to refer to you as “the purple blonde-girl book” and “the sunny blonde-girl book.” Neither of you exactly jump off the shelves, and I can’t help but constantly compare you to…well…yourselves.
You flaunt your crotch a little too much.
10) Three-way tie between That Summer (Sarah Dessen), Swimming Sweet Arrow (Maureen Gibbon), and I’m Not Her (Janet Gurtler)
Do I really need to explain this incessant need to not see your hoo-ha? Yeah, that’s right, I bold-italicized that not because OMG WHAT WAS YOUR MOTHER THINKING. Have you no manners? No dignity? You may just be thinking to ourself, “Oh, my cartwheels and back-flips are all fun and games! Don’t take it so seriously!” Yeah, well, it’s all fun and games until you’re frozen in time and people will start judging me because I’m hanging out with That One Cover Who Gives Everyone 100% Eyeball Access to Her Crotch.
Yes, sometimes it’s what’s on the outside that counts. Your insides may be full of beautiful prose, and comprised of the most lovely of languages that I’ve ever read. Your characters may be engrossing, your plot heart-pounding, and your dialogue razor sharp. But your face?
Honey, you’re going to need a makeover before I even consider dating you.
That Cover Girl