who in the what

Saturday, December 22

i've admitted that covers matter to me. i dare you to find a bookseller that won't admit the same, and i also dare you to find a customer that doesn't unconsciously respond to the cover of a book. it's just psychology, i think -- if it appeals to you visually, then you will pick it up. right?

titles are important too. if they're too long, no one will remember the whole thing and people will invariably scramble the words. too short, and people will remember related words instead of the right one. even phrases can be dangerous; for example, the book The Rest is Noise is commonly referred to by customers as Everything Else is Noise. this sucks for many reasons, but mostly (if you're a bookseller) because if you look it up in your inventory under the second title, you will never ever find the first. catalogs just can't handle that kind of mental disassocation.

which brings me to the book i read last night: Ever, by Gail Carson Levine. this is a great book, handicapped by two things: the title and the cover.

i should preface with the fact tht Ever is a great read. Gail Carson Levine is a powerhouse in middle reader and young adult fiction, so that's no big surprise. the story is sweet but not saccharine, with a dark plot that doesn't pull it's punches and characters whose relationships with each other deepen the story and redeem the darkness. Kezi, the main character, is spunky (in the non-obnoxious way) and fresh, and the love story is a new take on the old theme of romances between gods and mortals.

that being said, i'm at a complete loss to explain the title. Ever what? forever? whatever? whenever? ever after? never ever? ummm ... and i wish wish wish that i had seen some imperative, overarching relationship to the plot. let's just say that there is one, but it's a pretty weak excuse for a one word title when the one word is that ambiguous.

now, book covers frequently change between the ARC and the publication. especially if you get the ARC in December, and the book isn't due out until May. i can only hope that it's the case for this one. it's one of those picture covers, of which i'm hardly ever a fan in any case, but this one is particularly irritating to me. a guy and a girl -- both very anglo, and from the setting and character descriptions of the book the characters are more middle eastern than anything else -- are staring at you. the girl seems kind of irritated that you're looking at her in the first place, and the boy (a weird young version of orlando bloom) has that stalker-ee face going. like i said, i don't like it.

i think this one would be a nightmare to market -- forgettable title, a poor cover -- if it wasn't for the name attached to it. fortunately for HarperCollins, booksellers and readers alike love Gail Levine enough to forgive.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know about this book, either! I love Gail Carson Levine, so I'm excited to read it. And love the mideast, so despite the cover with white people on it, it sounds like I should adore this book :-) Also: I just found your blog (hence the comments on the far-back posts), and I am really loving it. You're going on my must-read list!