I’ll admit it, I judge a book by its cover. A busy cover turns me off to the book, but simple covers attract my eye, as do certain colors or images. I often find myself pausing the book to look at the cover art, hunting for a secret clue that might explain elements of the story. I remember in high school, my English teacher would rant about the cover art for Catcher in the Rye; a plain white cover, title in bold, black font and a small rainbow arc across the upper righthand tip. According to him, this cover art had no relation to the book whatsoever, and a hunting cap would have been more appropriate.
I look for cover art, because its telling about the theme of the book. I’ve been reading the Uglies series, and I noticed a change in the cover art for the Uglies series.
From this to this
I like the second cover art much better. It influenced the cover art for the following books in the series, and it looks more wild and interesting than the plastic barbie dolls in a tin cover art.
Which cover do you prefer? Which one would make you interested in actually picking up the book?
Tally Youngblood is only 2 months away from turning Pretty and moving across the river from Uglyville to New Pretty Town, when she meets Shay, another Ugly, after having pulled a few tricks to crash a party at New Pretty Town to see her former best friend Peris. Tally and Shay form a strong friendship over the course of the summer as they wait for their 16th birthday to draw near so that they too can be surgically altered to be Pretty. The night before their shared 16th birthday, Shay tells Tally that she doesn’t want to be Pretty and decides to run away to a secret society hidden out in the wilds, where looks don’t matter, only personality does. At this point, Tally needs to decide if she wants to be Pretty or not, and how much she values her friendship with Shay.
I first heard of this book from Jen so, I knew I could expect a thrilling story and deeper meanings than simply personality v good looks struggle that teens deal with on a day to day basis. What I didn’t expect were the intricate layers of society that Westerfeld had developed, and the philosophic discussions about humanity, individuality and evolution, neatly packaged in teen-speak. I thought Westerfeld’s writing was fantastic, I never wanted to set the book down. Tally is an amazing character, and a great role model for anyone reading this book (teen or adult).
I would definately heed Jen’s warning, if you are going to read this book, make sure you have Pretties and Specials nearby.
by Scott Westerfeld
Simon & Schuster, 2005
Find this book at your local library
In 1805, 13 year old Sam Robbins and his Uncle Charlies are kidnapped and forced to join the English Navy on the prized and renown HMS Victory with Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson (whose statue graces Trafalgar Square in England). 200 years into the future, young Molly Jennings is trying to adapt to her new home in America, having left England once her mother remarried, but suffers bouts of homesickness. After coming into possession of a biography on Admiral Nelson at a bookstore, Molly’s life begins to change when she comes across a secret treasure buried deep in the book’s spine that links the two lives together.
Based on real people from England’s past, Newberry award winning author Susan Cooper has devised a wonderful time-shifting tale of adventure, youth, danger and loyalty. Chapters alternate between Sam’s point of view, and then third person for Molly’s chapters. It takes a while to really get to the link between the two characters. At first, Molly is hauntingly drawn to the book, keeping its treasure a secret from everyone except her stepbrother Russell.
I adored the chapters about Sam Robbins and the HMS Victory. At times I wished the entire book was about him and his experiences aboard such a well-known and valued piece of English naval history. The Molly chapters were usually shorter than Sam’s chapters, but her scenes were relevant in putting together their connection through time. Cooper also includes a glossary at the end for all the naval terminology used throughout the book. Her writing is sharp, clear and the story is well paced. The book was never boring, and even the secondary characters were as coloring and entertaining as the main.
This book is listed as Juvenile Historical Fiction. I would recommend it for both boys and girls about 10-13 years old. Boys will like it for the sea adventure, sailor talk and supernatural elements, girls will appreciate Molly’s character and probably end up with small crushes on Sam Robbins.
by Susan Cooper
Aladdin Books, 2006
ISBN 1416914781, 202 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Juvenile
Age Group: 10-12
Find this book at your local library
Books by Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising Series
The Dark is Rising (Newberry Honor Book)
The Gray King (Newberry Winner Book)
Silver on the Tree
Over Sea, Under Stone