Courtney Summers writes Young Adult novels with true grit. Her latest, Some Girls Are, is about Regina Afton, who used to be at the top of the social ladder, until she took a nasty fall. Creating a cover for a novel this intense isn't easy. Here's Courtney to tell her Cover Story:
"Some Girls Are's publication timeline was similar to that of my first novel, Cracked Up to Be, so when the time I figured I'd get my cover rolled around... and passed me by... I was all kinds of nervous and excited. And then a little more time passed...
"AND THEN when I thought I'd explode of anticipation, I got to see a rejected version of the cover. I can't show it, but it featured a pair of (faceless!) girls back to back against a chainlink fence. I liked the concept, but the models struck me as too young and they were wearing pink and green pastel colours which gave the overall feel of the cover one of happiness and happiness has no place in Some Girls Are -- just misery and mean girl brutality and all that fun stuff!
"Another rejected cover was featured in the Griffin Winter 2010 catalogue. It was nice -- a little closer to what you see now. A girl was standing against her locker, holding a bag. But it also lacked that gritty vibe. The model who represented Regina was sort of smiling, which I got a kick out of because Regina's life sucks and she has nothing to smile about (I'm a mean author to my characters). After seeing both rejected covers, I really really wanted the edge that had been hinted at more than ever.
"The scrapped covers were a definite testament to how hard my editor and the art department worked to properly convey the mood of my book, and for that I'll always be grateful. I was asked what Regina looked like -- and then I had to sit down and think about that because I always describe my characters as minimally as possible -- and St. Martin's went on to do a photo shoot. And then my editor started hinting that the final result would be AWESOME. My only complaint about the cover process this time around was that it was torture waiting for the final result.
"But it was so worth it.
"When I finally got the email with the Some Girls Are cover attached and saw what St. Martin's had come up with, I freaked in the best way possible. I absolutely love love love it. I think it's moody and dramatic and I find the red locker to be really eye-catching. Even better, that red locker plays a role in the novel, so that's always a perk. Also, the model, Tasha Courtney, really brought Regina out in her pose. I also like how they kept the title font from Cracked Up to Be. I have a feeling -- though I suppose I won't know for sure until the time comes -- they might use the font again for my next book and I can't wait to get the cover for it to find out whether I'm right or wrong! After two great experiences with St. Martin's Press, I have confidence I'll <3 what they come up with, in any case!"
Thanks, Courtney! I, too, love the model's pose. Her mouth, especially, seems to both hold a smirk and a tormented expression. It's full of emotion. Plus, I think the red-and-green color combination really makes the photograph pop.
What do you guys think of this cover?