stories by their covers

It’s no secret that a lot of covers, particularly in YA lit, are heavily photography-driven. I’m not necessarily opposed to photography because I’m a fan of the medium to begin with. But let’s just be honest here, a bad photo is a bad photo. Sometimes you’ll find photography-based covers that don’t even resemble their MC, or feature a character in some awkward pose, or perhaps the cover art looks like a stock photo from 1992 (with a title’s typeface from the same year, to boot).

Every now and then, I’ll come across a cover (most of the time it’s photography-based) that makes me question whether it has anything to do with its story. Or, perhaps the cover just confuses me altogether. Take Ripple, for example:

Okay, yes, I get the title Ripple. I get the water, sure. It’s probably some sort of paranormal story with the amount of light to dark ratio. And you can bet my bottom dollar there is some kissing involved.

But other than that? I have no idea. In cases like these, I like to make up stories based on cover art. Therefore, here’s my own summary: Boy meets Girl at wedding reception neither Boy nor Girl wanted to go to in the first place. It’s hot as crap outside so Boy rolls up his sleeves. Boy convinces Girl to ditch wedding reception and play hide-and-seek near some creepy glowing water. Boy finds girl hiding behind tree. Boy and Girl stare at each other and fall in love. The end.

It’s a fun little game, really.

So my fun little game morphed into something else this week, as I was browsing images on Flickr late one evening. I came across the lovely Lauren Marek’s photography and simply couldn’t stop clicking on photo after photo after photo. Then I came across one particular photo that I couldn’t help but think: wow, this would be perfect for a contemporary YA cover.

So I made one.

So Alexis Jordan’s The Boy with the Blue Eyes has a pretty self-explanatory title and photo. But what is it about, you ask? I’ll gladly explain in my completely made up and ridiculously short summary!

Sam Overton is no ordinary teenage boy. Because he loves to knit hats. This particular hobby makes him extraordinary, especially when the cool knit hats match his eyes.

It’s FUN, isn’t it? I’ll definitely be coming up with more of these faketastic YA covers, but in the meantime, what do you think this story’s about? What is The Boy’s story?

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20 thoughts on “stories by their covers

  1. When Sam Overton has to move to Canada with his mom, the last thing he expects is to be popular. But the girls can’t get enough of his ‘sweet blue eyes’ and the hats he knits for charity have become the newest trendy thing. Will Sam be able to meet his commitments to the charity hat drive, or will they all be bought by his classmates? The pressures of popularity and knitting are both more than he expected.

    Hah, it is fun! Thanks for the game, it will help me pass time at work I’m sure!

  2. Karen, I would totally read that book! That is a great picture and I normally hate faces on books. Ripple’s cover is pretty much awful and looks like a 90s book. I think some of the Sweet Valley High covers included that same pose, minus the glowing water.

    • Gah I love the picture, too. Even though it’s partial-face, his expression in combo w/ the hat & colors are mesmerizing.

      OMG the SVH covers. Every single one (that I’ve seen so far) have made me laugh.

  3. Oh wow. Ripple’s cover is one really bad photo manipulation. Look at her legs! Look at her awkward hunched shoulders! That’s just painful to look at.

    The Boy with the Blue Eyes looks like a pretty professional cover, at first glance. (Only thing is, I would make the author’s name stand out, and in a much larger font. They have to toot their own horn, when it comes to book covers, I’ve found.)

    To me, first thing I assume is that it’s some kind of Jodi Picoult-like book. It’s about a boy with perfect, soul-capturing blue eyes, but he suffers from some kind of incurable life-long disease.
    As for the author style just judging by the cover, to me, it feels like it’d be written in a similar style to the Jenna Fox book, or something like Buddy, by V.M. Jones.

    If I saw that cover on a book anywhere, I’d definitely pick it up!

    • I can definitely see the Jodi Picoult-likeness. I’m sure his incurable life-long disease has something to do with his inability to stop batting his lashes at the ladies.

      Glad to know you’d pick it up! 😉

  4. Oh my goodness! I am laughing at your Ripple story.. haha, “it’s hot as crap outside so Boy rolls up his sleeves.” HAHAHA Nice job on the Blue-eyed boy cover! I think he’s a sad boy in my story. He looks very sad. And cold.

  5. I’m imagining some dialogue to go with the “Ripple” cover –

    Girl: “Shh. I’m listening to the tree.”
    Boy: “Will she talk to me, too?” *thinks* good thing this girl is hot, ’cause she’s NUTS.
    Girl: “The tree is male, nitwit.”
    Boy: *thinks* I’m just going to go pitch myself over the edge of this cliff into the water now.

  6. Oh my goodness, every single one of these comments has made me laugh out loud. Y’all are a bunch of hilarious people.

    About the Ripple cover, he looks a little calm but she looks like a stark raving mad lunatic. I’m thinking he should just walk away from that one. Dude’s about to get slapped.

    • Hi Elizabeth — yes, I did check out Mandy’s post before writing this one up — the original (with a CASTLE IN IT!!!) is so incredibly different from Ripple’s final cover.

  7. The first thing that came to mind with Ripple is a scene-steal from Twilight (the movie) where Edward is all caught up in the branches being chatty and sparkly. I know it’s not fair to assume Twilight has a monopoly on all meet-cute-with-tree scenes, but it feels that way. I saw this book featured on another site and also noted a not so swoon-worthy cover. But maybe the book is great!

  8. I just discovered your blog today via Forever YA and I’ve been reading back through all your posts and loving them! This one made me laugh out loud, especially the part about him knitting hats. Great blog!

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