Google+ YA Romantics: Trending Thursday: Heads Up!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Trending Thursday: Heads Up!



Welcome to my latest installment of Trending Thursday. In this weekly post, I pick a trend and we discuss. Today I'm inspired by the cover of a book I read recently. If you didn't see the Half and Half post on Half Bad that Lauren and I did yesterday, you can check it out here.



Half Bad
by Sally Green
To be published on March 4 by Viking Juvenile

I love the cover of Half Bad, which was designed by Tim Green of Faceout Studio.  It's simple but striking, and it also references many of the themes and elements of the book. The black and white text represents the Black and White Witches in the story. The face appears to be made up of swirling blood -- main character Nathan is a Half-Blood -- half White Witch, half Black.

So I thought this week would be a good time to talk about Heads on YA Covers.


 Headless YA Covers have been a Thing for a while now. My theory is that cover designers or marketing people want to let the reader picture the character any way they want, but I agree that, when seen together, all the headless covers begin to seem a little creepy.


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Note: I loved all these books and must point out that all these authors published subsequent books that did not have headless covers.

Then we have Big Heads:




Huge Faces have been a Thing in YA covers for a while now.  I'm such not a fan of the faces that stare at me vacantly like a model on the cover of a beauty magazine. I thought the original cover of Delirium was beautiful, with the face peeking through the cut-out letters and was much less of a fan of the new cover, with a generic huge face. Unconnected complaint: why do magazines put celebrities on the cover and then make them look unrecognizable?

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The trend I like -- and one that I think is Getting Hotter?



Heads in Profile, like the cover of Half Bad. My favorite recent Heads in Profile covers are those that play with the outlines of the profile in interesting ways, like these:


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Tell me in comments: what are your thoughts on heads on YA covers? No head? Giant Head? Sideways Head? Feel free to disagree with me:)

38 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness. All this time I didn't even notice it was a face. LOL. WOW! Jamie fail!

    I'm also not really a fan of headless covers (creeepy) but I definitely prefer them to full faces because I can't help but picture the MC as that person. I really do like the trend of the profiles! Especially when they do something interesting with them -- like the examples you showed!

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    1. I think after people complained about the chopped-off heads, I started seeing more covers of people from behind, etc. And I agree -- I don't always like a cover model on a cover because they almost never look like I pictured the character.

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  2. I never saw the face on the Delirium cover! Cool!

    The big trend I see is more in NA - the couple staring at each other. I actually like it but at this point I can't tell one book from another. I have no idea which ones I've even read.

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    1. I loved that first Delirium cover!
      Yeah, the NA covers are a whole other story. They do have a certain look.

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  3. Love these posts! I love the Half Bad cover so much. I'm not ashamed to say that the cover has me wanting to read it more than the summary alone. I'm loving the profile heads too.

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    1. The cover is SO great. And I just figured out that the paperback international edition has a black background instead of gray. But I kind of prefer the gray...

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  4. I definitely agree! The profile trend has been my favorite of these so far. I mean, not all of them are even an exact face. I've always adored the cover of The Forsaken because of this. It's just so interesting and catches your eye more than just another face does.

    Half Bad similarly does this, just with blood partially forming a face (which is AWESOME, by the way). Great post!
    -Kelsey

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    1. Right? If you'd told me "blood forming a face," I'd have said, "yeah... maybe not." But it's a beautiful cover!

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  5. When i'm browsing in a bookstore, 2 things make me pick up the book: the title on the spine and the cover. I especially like ones with thought provoking photographs. The ones with a story. Like the cover of The Storyteller-Jodi picoult with a girl bent over a book. Or Out of the Easy with a girl staring at a bird cage. And the new cover with a dress hanging on the wall. To Kill a mockingbird with the silhouette of a boy swinging. Code name verity with two bicycles propped against a wall. Some examples of pieces of art. <3 <3

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    1. Out of the Easy does have a great cover! I haven't seen the CNV bicycle cover....

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  6. I love all of those heads in profile covers you pictured. They are creative and very attractive to my eye, for sure. I hope this trend sticks around, especially the way they seem to play on the book's premise.

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  7. I like the ones that do something different with the face, like the profile ones you featured. Out of the Easy was also a really good cover, it was very symbolic about the story. I loved Jodi Meadows covers (Incarnate, Asunder,and Infinite) which had a girl's face, but different masks on each one, they were Beautiful!!

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    1. Ooh - good point. I do like face with mask covers. I liked the old cover of Venom more than the new one, which looks more generic to me.

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  8. There's a whole listopia list on Goodreads devoted to book covers where people are missing all or part of their heads, humerously called 'Dude, Where's My Forehead?' - https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3573.Dude_Where_s_My_Forehead_
    Have to say I laughed!

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  9. I hate the huge faces on covers. It's so boring. I always think of the Jessica Darling series for faceless covers, I kind of like when covers don't give some generic model because that is inevitably how I picture the character. I love the covers for Kat Zhang's series with the two faces. Fun post!

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  10. Yep, I'm not a fan of huge heads either, and while I get the logic behind the concept (we get to imagine how the characters look like + it's probably cheaper since there's no model) I don't really like this trend of no heads. It just looks weird because well headless people are weird :DD I do like the ones you listed last though. Esp. the cover of The Forsaken.

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  11. I'm okay with heads, but I generally don't like it. It seems like it's too easy to make the cover a head, but I prefer covers that have less of an obvious focus. I think my biggest thing is that I hate covers with enormous eyes. That looks so creepy to me. Heads are okay, but preferably full body. The profile head shot is something I don't mind- I love Meridian and What's Left of Me's covers.

    Anyway, cool post.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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  12. The newer Delirium cover is so different to me since I'm used to the old one! (Though I know the rest of the series doesn't match the old one, so... alas.) So weird though when you take it off and see her entire face! Also, I never thought of the headless characters as creepy until you said that!

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  13. I love this feature! This is such a cool post. Overall I feel like there's some really pretty covers with 'heads' on them, but then again they are well done. If you do a head on a cover, everything should work, otherwise it'll end up somewhat creepy... The delirium covers (the new one) I have seen them around but I prefer the UK editions (at least I think its the UK edition), I think they're prettier. While I don't thing those covers are ugly... they kinda freak me out.

    I'm probably not making any sense here! Like I said, I love the post!

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  14. Amazing post, I did NOT notice the face on the Half-Bad cover, great eye ! The headless thing always did look kind of awkward and the full frontal face is kind of . . . strange. So I think this profile thing is a good balance.

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  15. Oh wow.. I have noticed this trend before but WOW those last covers you shared.. I AM IN LOVE! I already loved the Forsaken.. but hadn't really seen the rest! Thanks for sharing! I will totally be looking through the rest of your Trend posts now! Michelle @ The Passionate Bookworms

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  16. I never really thought too much into this, but you are right and there are certainly quite a few trends with book covers! The headless people do creep me out a little as well, though I can understand wanting readers to picture the character for themselves. I like the profiles that seemed to be used more now, as well.

    -Tiffany
    Beneath the Jacket Reviews

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  17. I never really thought about trends in book covers until you mentioned it this way. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I love the profile best! I can totally see what you mean about the headless...yeah, maybe they are a tad creepy, but I actually like them a LOT. I hate it when there's a full face on the book. :( I don't get to imagine the character how I want (particularly, if the face on the book is kind of weird looking...) The only face-book covers I've really loved is Finnikin of the Rock and all the Gallagher Girl books (the UK editions have half a face with an eyeball). I'm not such a fan of the generic faces, though. Another epic topic!!

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  19. I like the rising profile trend too! And the headless trend doesn't bother me much... but I generally don't like to see a face on a cover. I hate that you then have an image of the character in your head!

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  20. I agree with you, I really like the covers that play with the outline of a head. Did you see the cover of Plus One by Elizabeth Fama? I absolutely love that one!

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  21. Book covers with headless covers are really in right now, so is huge faces with blank stares and I'm not really a fan of both trends. But I really love the cover for The Forsaken and What's Left of Me. *_*
    -Farzy @ Books Keep Me Sane

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  22. I think I like the profiles the best, they usually end up be so creative, like the Forsaken. I do love the cut of face too haha. I'm not a huge fan of the giant face on the book either, though. I feel like there's not much of a connection between cover and book. Great post!

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  23. I'm starting to like the heads in profile, they're just more interesting and less fashion magazine looking. Headless covers always seem strange to me. :-) Awesome roundup, love these posts!

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  24. Hah hah hah, JEN. I love this feature, not only because it's so great in spotting trends, but c'mon, BIG HEAD trend makes me laugh. The missing head seems to be so big, too, maybe so you can fill in your own...eyes? face? I would love to pick apart an art director's brain for real, not just the diplomatic answers you'd get out of an interview.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  25. Love this--sometimes you spot things that go right over my--wait for it--HEAD. Heh, heh. :) I actually still kind of like the headless/ semi headless covers because I HATE when a cover model is not what I envision the character to look like. That's a total tun off for me. In fact I rather go covers that have no human figures on them, or at least not photographic representations--I'm more into graphic designed covers like Sara Rees Brennan's Unspoken or Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red. :)

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  26. I don't tend to be a big fan of heads on covers (especially ones with huge eyes staring at me). As I've shared, I just like a pretty dress because I'm simple like that :)

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  27. Love the covers of What's Left of Me and Forsaken! These books are great on the inside too! Great post.

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  28. I prefer the head profile covers, they tend to have more interesting graphics to go along with them. One thing I really hate is eye covers though, so freaking creepy! I don't want my book staring at me and I'm pretty sure the random people who see me reading don't want it staring at them either.

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  29. I'm with you on giant faces on the cover, like a magazine, I'm just not a fan. I don't mind the headless shots but I prefer the profiles of faces that are a bit more artistic with graphics.

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  30. Can't wait to see what you think of Half-Bad.

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  31. I've thought the cover of Plus One by Elizabeth Fama has an interesting cover with two profiles that seem to play on the theme of the book, a night versus a day dweller. Love these posts, Jen!

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