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Saturday, January 27, 2007


I was bragging the other day about how I never get sick.

“I never get sick,” I was saying to someone. “I have the immune system of . . . someone with a really good immune system. “

I’ll bet you know what comes next, readers! You are a bright bunch. Certainly brighter than yours truly, who should have known better. Why didn’t I say something like, “I never get stun guns”? Or, “People never show up my door with Vespa keys”?

No. I realize it wouldn’t have helped with those things, either. I have a cold, and I’m still not zipping around the streets of New York on my Vespa. Not that I would be today, anyway, because it’s about 50 below zero, and I can’t stop sneezing.

Despite my weakened condition, I have five points to discuss with you.

FIRST OF MY POINTS: I am extremely pleased to announce that Devilish has been named one of the 2007 Best Books for Young Adults by the ALA. It joins some great company. BUT, I think there were some crazy omissions from the list, too. So I am both happy and wistful.

Thank you, librarians. You know I love you.

POINT TOO: Some people are suggesting that because John Green, E. Lockhart, and I work together, we get nothing done. Au contraire, doubters! We are getting muchos, muchos work done. And come on . . . who better to bounce ideas off of when you get stuck than John Green and E. Lockhart? Aside from, like, Shakespeare. Or Meg Cabot.

Can anyone doubt the “in your pants” revolution? That was just one ten minute conversation we have . . . and now it is SWEEPING THE INTERNETS! Look here and here and here. If we could do that in one morning . . . just think what we can accomplish over time!

That’s also where I caught my cold, but no matter.

POINT TROIS: Are you in France? Well, 13 Little Blue Envelopes is about to be released there. French bookstore FNAC will be featuring Treize Petites Enveloppes Bleues during the month of February as part of their Attention Talents program.

Not only do I just like saying Treize Petites Enveloppes Bleues and “Attention Talents” in my best French accent, but I am deeply in love with this cover, which is a map of Western Europe made of tiny, tiny icons related to the book. The more you look at it (you may have to look closely), the cooler all the little icons get. I could stare at this for a half an hour. In fact, I have been! But that may be the cold medicine kicking in.

So many tiny pictures.

POINT FORE! . . . is a big one. I have avoided it long enough. I need your input.

Okay. I have heard a lot of things about the U.S. cover of 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I have been approached more times than I can count about the cover.

The cover earned me this Cuffie Award in Publisher’s Weekly:

Book We Could Have Sold with a Better Cover
13 Little Blue Envelopes("Could someone please stop giving the publishers stock photos of slutty teen girls?")

More recently, this debate has continued on the fabulous bookburger. This post features the cover of Girl At Sea (which is a similar concept to the 13 Little Blue Envelopes cover).

And here is an interesting take on the subject by Ally Carter.

I want to know what you think. I invite you to throw down right here, in the comments. What do you make of this subject?

THE POINT I LIKE TO CALL POINT FIVE: (strictly for my pirates) The Pirate Dance Camp Society has sprung into action, and several members have come up with some exceptional plots to promote Girl At Sea. I will be sharing the winners in the next blog.

Until then, I will be working. I am well underway on a very exciting new book. Also, I’ll be sneezing, and if this cold gets any worse, probably sitting here reading Rent fan fiction about my alterego Maureen Johnson while waiting for the NyQuil to really take hold.

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Anonymous Liz said...

I do agree that 13lbe could have had a MUCH better cover. The description of Ginny is so different than the slutty girl stock photo. If the American edition had the French edition's cover--that. would. have. rocked.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Morwen said...

I'm reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes right now, and enjoying it very much. But, I have to admit...if I hadn't had stumbled upon your blog...I would never, EVER had read it at all, partially because of the cover. When I was a younger teen I tried (several times) to read some of the more realistic fiction for teen girls and completely *hated* them. I got tired of all of the boy-obsessing sluts chasing after guys who could care less about things like, oh, intelligence. And a lot of those sorts of books have that sort of cover, so..yeah, typically I avoid books with covers like that like the...well...cold. The french cover would've been much better.

Again, I'd like to stress that I'm enjoying the book--It's just not the sort of cover I like. (The no-head part is fine, though...I can see where that helps with making sure the reader comes up with their own idea of the character.)

11:17 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Not only do I want to know why Harper thinks that your books need creepily cropped cover photos as covers, but I REALLY want to know why we didn't get a galley of "Girl At Sea." How can I sell a bazillion copies if I can't read it first? Going to email our rep right now...

(Melissa from that suburban Philly kids' bookstore)

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

i totes agree about the cover. it is not right at all. the french cover is awesome, though. maybe we could switch with them. they wouldn't mind. um.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

I admit that I preferred the earlier cover ONLY because it had her braids!

However, the published cover still retains the feel of the book (the envelope edges, the colour blue, hello) and she isn't trashy. Seriously, I'm Princess Prude, and if I didn't mind that little sliver of stomach showing, NO ONE else will - I was aghast when I first saw that person call the cover the sl-word.

Oh, for the pirates:

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really care about covers. I usually skim read the blurb or first page to check out what kind of book it is and if I like, i buy it.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

As an author with not one, but two headless-girls-in-tight-clothes covers, I have to say that I'm intrigued by the continuing trend. I think the bookburger commenter that said they want to make up their own faces based on the author's description has a point. (I wish they could do the same with the wardrobes.)

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Emmaco said...

More proof of the ever growing popularity of the in your pants phenomenon can be found here, here and here. It's a wonder that crosses genre boundaries.

3:29 AM  
Anonymous Becky said...

Your alterego Maureen Johnson? =) Let us know if you read any good fan fiction. Have you seen Rent yet?

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

about the covers, the picture is not slutty at all. How is a tank top and jeans slutty? We live in 2007, not the 1700's. I personally think that the photo of the teen girls actually just represents what the book is about, I know by looking at the cover that the book thirteen little blue envelopes will be about...a girl, and thirteen little blue envelopes. But this is the joy of reading, not staring at the cover.Were not looking at a picture book, were reading a young adult book.

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Artemis said...

I personally think the 13 Little Blue Envelopes cover is fine; the Girl at Sea one is a little more revealing with those tiny, skin-tight shorts. People start to think you're reading a book full of sex or make-out sessions 24/7. That's the only reason I'm hesitating to buy it but other than that, love your books! And I think it's cool the whole "trend" of having a girl on the cover; it makes your books have a signature look that people familiarize themselves with - just try not to make them "slutty".

6:25 AM  
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10:12 PM  
Blogger Angieanything said...

I didn't feel that the cover of 13 was inappropriate. Did you have input on it?

10:27 AM  

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