It’s makeover season!
Although it’s still summer here in the northern hemisphere and will be until September, publishers have been putting efforts behind promoting and sharing their fall 2020 YA books. There are so many great new books, as well as great previously-published books getting their paperback editions.
Many paperbacks look similar to the hardcover, but in a softer, cheaper, and more portable form. But as happens in YA quite a bit, a number of books get a new look in their paperback form. Be it for marketing purposes, for better highlighting the mood and tone of the book, or to get it on fresh reader radars who may have missed it before.
Let’s take a look at some of the YA books getting new looks in paperback in the coming season.
As always, the original hardcover is on the left, while the paperback is on the right.
Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
I hadn’t realized Starmer’s book wasn’t in paperback yet, since the hardcover came out in 2016. Perhaps because the book is in development for adaptation. The new paperback will hit shelves September 8.
The original hardcover really pops. The yellow background with the orange title and clever burst of the “o” in the font. It’s not super surprising to see that the John Green blurb takes up more real estate than the title and author name, and in addition, there’s a tag line which reads “a novel about growing up . . . and blowing up.” The ice cream truck is central, and the girl in the image says so much with her body language. She’s over the truck, but she’s also tough.
In paperback, the ice cream truck is gone, as is whoever was standing beside the girl. Now she’s front and center, giving off the same vibe as in the hardcover. She’s tough and she’s over it, whatever “it” might be. The bubble is a clever little detail.
Missing from the paperback is the tag line, the standout color background, and clever font design for the title. The new color is more muted, as is the title. But the Green blurb is still present, though it blends into the background a bit more than before.
Either cover is fine. I’m not sure one is better than the other, nor does one draw me in more than the other as a reader. Perhaps the new cover is a hint at news of the adaptation coming soon?
Chicken Girl by Heather Smith
Chicken Girl! It reminds me a lot of Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, of course, though rather than being a girl in a hot dog costume, it’s a girl in a chicken suit.
The hardcover doesn’t give any indication of that and, in fact, is kind of confusing all around. Is the girl actually a chicken? Does she raise chickens? The bright pink is fun, but the contrasting bright yellow feathers, as well as the black-on-yellow font for the book title and author name is a little challenging on the eyes (especially digitally).
In paperback, it’s a different story. We know exactly what the book is about: a girl who might be wearing a chicken costume, presumably for a job. The fact we don’t see a face of the girl is clever, especially paired with the tag line, which carried over from the hardcover: “Life can be a tough egg to crack.” The light pink with pastel yellow is much easier on the eyes. I love that the chicken head looks like it has an eye roll going on.
For me, this one is easy. The paperback is way more appealing and would make it pick it up. I suspect teens would feel similarly.
The paperback hits shelves September 8.
Everlost by Neal Shusterman (series)
Given the tremendous success in the last few years in Neal Shusterman’s career, it shouldn’t be any surprise one of his older series is getting a fresh look. It’s a good one, too!
Everlost looks perfectly creepy in hardcover, but it does feel like design that’s about a decade old. In no way is it bad, but it blends into so many other book covers of the time of its publication.
The paperback, on the other hand, feels fresh and contemporary. The cover also indicates it’s part of a trilogy, which is super helpful for readers and those who work with readers. Added to the paperback, in addition to a new — but still familiar — look, is that Shusterman is a New York Times bestseller. The title of the book gets a new font, with the second “e” getting a little special touch. Perhaps most noticeable is Shusterman’s name. What was once in the corner of the book is now front and center and takes up much more real estate.
I think both covers are effective and evocative, though the new paperback might edge out the original look a bit for me, if for no reason other than how fresh it feels.
You can grab Everlost in paperback September 8. All of the books in the trilogy will be getting the redesign, which is going to look so sharp on shelves.
Tithe by Holly Black (series)
Another series getting a whole new look is Holly Black’s “Modern Faerie Tale.” The originals, picked above, are dark and reminiscent of the YA fantasy which published around the same time (2004!). Think LJ Smith and the Vampire Diaries, among others. It’s really perfect for the series, and readers who are looking for dark fairy tales know what to pick up.
But the paperback design? It’s absolutely gorgeous. The books maintain the same feel, but they’ve been updated and modernized for today’s teen readers. The images pay homage to the classic covers, while also making clear these are still modern and relevant. Holly Black’s name is much larger now, and like with the Shusterman redesign, the series title is indicated on the front cover. The font is fresher, too.
For anyone with this series on your shelves at libraries or schools: this is your sign to update.
It’s not going to be surprising that I think the paperback redesign is a total win. The originals are great, but they’re of an era. The new looks are of this era.
The redesigned series will hit shelves October 20.
The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena
This cover redesign seems to be a classic of “what is the story about” variety. I love the hardcover. It’s eye-catching and unique. But what is it about? I love the brown model at the center, paired with the illustrated flora and fauna, as well as the swoopy script lettering of the title. There’s a tag line, too, which in digital rendering is super challenging to read: “Why fit in when you can stand out?” It’s a beautiful cover but it tells absolutely nothing of the story.
The paperback is a big change, though the illustrated girl definitely gives the same vibe about her as the model on the hardcover. It’s more clear that romance might be central to the story here, and even clearer is that the girl might not be entirely into it. It’s interesting that the background is of a skyline, which suggests an entirely different feel than the hardcover, featuring nature.
On paperback, the font is not noteworthy except for the thing that does make it noteworthy: it’s big! And rather than the author’s name being in all lower case letters, it’s now rendered in all uppercase. Both the title and author font stand out well on the muted-rainbow background.
The tag line has disappeared, but it’s been replaced with a blurb that explains the story so much better: “A titanium-strength love story.” In no way does the original suggest love story, but the paperback? Absolutely.
And interestingly, there’s a different cover for the Canadian edition of the book, which may be the inspiration for the new design in paperback:
This cover is a sheer delight. Look at the girl! Look at the boy who is trying so hard to be smooth with her! I love the elements of this one.
Both the paperback and hardcover are beautiful, but the paperback seems more true to the story itself. If only we had the choice of the Canadian edition because it’s especially good.
You can grab the paperback July 21.
What do you think? Which covers do you prefer? I’d love to hear your thoughts!