Wednesday, August 27, 2008


What a difference in our summer covers! I love this illustration...the wistful Kirk Cameron wannabe thinking of those summer girls he'll never meet, his smirking sister with the walkman (I'll bet she's listening to these guys), the font that ties in beautifully with the nautical theme...I'm sorry, I just can't find anything to criticize here. Richard Peck was a top notch YA author of his generation and this book is absolutely charming - so if you've got something snarky to say, bring it on!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Summer I Learned about Dull Illustration

This post and the next one will feature summer in the title, as we all come closer to kissing these lazy, hazy days goodbye. This story is about a teenage girl growing up in the 1920's who wants to ditch the domestic arts and learn how to fly a plane. That's a pretty exciting premise, encompassing girl-power within the historical context, but this cover, eh, not so much. A static font, a stiff pose, and a drab composition would have me shelve this book, not savor it. The 1920's were roaring, not boring!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Courage, Dana!

You'll need it, trapped as you are on the cover of a YA novel (tho this one looks a bit Middle School) trying to look as small as possible while sitting in a graveyard. Good thing you have that bag of "Yum Yum Tasty Chips" as solace against the terror that will soon follow

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Men are from Mars, Women are Different

Isn't this intriguing? A girl in hideous track pants hitched up in a seductive manner has rudely flopped down on the lap of a boy practicing his etudes. She has just told him something shocking! The boy looks positively befuddled and panicked at her disclosure. I could make many inappropriate comments here, but I'm too lazy right now, so I invite my readers (all 3 of you) to help me out on this one. Let's hear it people - how exactly is she different?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Composition 101

The Bennington Stitch is that stabbing pain you get in your side when posing for the artist of a YA book cover. Who hires these people? Who sees the preliminary sketches and says, "Yeah, go for it!" Pony girl is completely shutting us out with her pose, the woman to the right is exhibiting body language that says she's had enough of this crap, goddammit, and the guy appears to have stumbled into the picture by chance, only to have the artist say, "Dude, ever think about modeling?" To fully complete this fine example of what every YA illustration needs, the artist has graced us with a rather exaggerated rendering of college architecture.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Psycho Killer Qu'est-ce que c'est?

That's right, don't look in her eyes - just keep carrying her on your back for all of eternity to avoid her demonic gaze. Frankly, I don't know what this book could possibly be about. It has one of the most awkwardly composed covers I've ever seen. The toddler's arms seem freakishly long. And is it a boy giving the piggyback ride or a girl with a sassy Dorothy Hamill do? And what could possibly be in the brown paper bag? Answers, people! Clumsy as the drawing is, I find myself intrigued, so onward to the description... 

...."Jason was twelve when his psychotic mother abandoned him and his 15-month old brother Chad."

But of course - what's a YA novel without a psychotic mother?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A String of Cheese

I'll get to the baby in a moment, but first let's discuss the hair. This is a style more suited to a 6-year-old than a teen. Where are the feathered wings? What self-repecting girl would style her hair like this in 1982? Maybe she's an android, and her makers didn't have the latest catalogue from Hot Cuts. That would also explain her cool detachment and the baby's look of sheer terror. Babies know. Or maybe I've just been watching too much Battlestar Galactica these days. Thankfully, this cover hasn't let me down completely - once again we are revisited by that staple of YA book cover illustration - the freaky floating head of an elderly woman.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Make it stop!

Another ghoulish story courtesy of the Grim Reaper, aka YA novelist Claudia Mills. Can you imagine the convo that went on in the art director's office with this one?

"I want what looks like a tombstone smack dab in the middle, or just a portal to hell would be ok, and I want the colors to be really sombre. Oh, and could you float the head of a girl right in the center of it. The author says she's preoccupied with death - make her look sad and confused, like she's thinking, 'Good God, does death ever take a holiday around here?' 
What's that you say? Her hair? Hell, I don't care - do whatever you want with the hair."

You just know the artist's favorite part was creating that perfectly flipped and feathered hair!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who what?! Tell us already!

a) likes to smear white clown makeup all over your face and watch the boys in their teeny-tiny gym shorts run laps? 
b) likes to lean against the true-to-scale replica of Carey High School you constructed soley out of balsa wood and dippity-do?
c) had a run-in with the po-po after dropping mesc at that chick concert?
d) the one whose sister is dead.

Since this is a YA novel, I think you know the answer to that one.

Monday, August 11, 2008


But I like it, like it, yes I do! Don't tell my secret crush that there's a new hottie in town (albeit rendered in gouache) and he's rockin the feathered hair and keyboards like nobody's business. There's nothing like a sexy Piano man...swoon!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Express Train to Sears

I'm glad it clearly states that this is a novel, lest we mistake it for being a true account of events. However, after some investigative digging, I uncovered a little known occurrence of September 30, 1887, known as the June Bug Local. Seems that author P.J. Petersen spiced up the particulars of that exciting tale of a train hostage situation and adding elements from a classic film, made the story even more palatable for a YA audience, complete with a sassy protagonist in a trendy jean jacket and prairie skirt and a juvenile delinquent in requisite leather jacket with zippy zippers. Lookout boy obviously prefers his mother to choose his clothes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fire the Art Director

I'd like to know who the creative genius was behind this gem. There are so many things wrong here. The font looks like those iron-on letters we all bought to make cool custom t-shirts, so I can't really diss that choice - it's all very keeping with the time. The leaning Tower of Eiffel is another matter entirely. I understand that the use of a striking phallic symbol may get the hormonally charged youngsters to choose this book over others, but yeck, what's with the neon-outlined figures in the foreground? They are seriously creeping me out, especially the dude with the deformed paddle hand standing behind Toulouse-Lautrec. According to the blurb, a kid named Jack "makes peculiar friends and sees the Eiffel Tower under unusual circumstances." Most likely involving hallucinogens.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Worst Title Evah!

God's Radar? What the hell does that mean? I have a feeling this is not about lovable Cpl. Walter O'Reilly. According to the blurb, Roxie (who I assume is the girl with the sassy flip) is "torn between love and love (huh?), belief and belief (huh?). She has to make a choice (abortion!) and find an answer or risk being torn apart."  Torn apart? Let the bloodbath begin!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Don't Want to Know!

Really, I don't. Because I have a dirty mind and I'm gonna automatically think that the family secret is brother/sister incest!!  Look at the picture - they're related, right? They both have that look like they're one chromosome short of Down's. And what's with his hands - does he have twelve fingers? Is it the entire family's secret? And why are they clutching each other in a void? Where the hell are they supposed to be - in front of a photo screen at the local JCPenney Portrait studio?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Attention Whore!

WTF is my stupid sister doing now?! God, I hate her! Always trying to get attention. Last week it was that unfortunate Pop Rocks incident, last night it was that lame attempt at channeling Janis Joplin at the seance, and now she's going all Da Vinci on me with her latest flying contraption. It never ends! Even the birds are embarrassed for her. She's looking at me, isn't she, seeing if I notice? Don't look at her - you'll only encourage her. Contemplate my gorgeous blond hair and furrowed brow instead.  

Friday, August 1, 2008

I am so not ticklish!

I dare ya...I am so not ticklish. Go ahead, tickle my foot. I can take it, you'll see, not ticklish a biiiiiii....STOP IT! I can't take it - stop the tickling!!! PLEEEEEASE, I'll give you my high waisted jordaches andandand my boyfriend's shirt andandandand my curling iron andmycool huarache sandals....JUST STOP TICKLING MEEEEEEEE FER CHRISSSAKES!!!