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January 7, 2014 • Cee • Holy Mother Cover


Inspired by Pure Imagination Blog and Stacked.

Let’s be honest, nobody follows the age-old cliché that tells us not to judge a book by its covers. If you say you do, I am side-eying you. Book covers are the first thing that attracts any of us readers to a book. Before you pick up a book, the cover can essentially make or break a book. If I don’t like a cover design, I won’t pick it up. Lucky for us, publishing companies publish different cover designs, especially when a paperback book comes out. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t. Let’s discuss these cover changes, shall we?

Today, we look at the cover of Just One Day by Gayle Forman!

I’m kind of indifferent to both covers. They’re okay, but not the absolute greatest. However, if I am forced to pick (like if you ask me in caps-lock), I’d most likely say the hardcover one is the best one.

The main thing I love about the hardcover design is the scene it portrays. In it, we see the cover model, posing as the main character of the book, waiting. It’s a very good interpretation of what happens in Just One Day because it emphasizes on time. We see a watch on the cover (which my eyes is instantly drawn to). It’s an extremely important item for Allyson — both physically and mentally. Time is something that is emphasized throughout the story, especially during the scenes with her and Willem. We know that

Spoiler title
Allyson received a watch as a graduation present from her mother, and Willem takes it away from her so she’d enjoy herself better without a constant reminder that time is passing and that moments like the ones they’re experiencing are extremely fleeting.
Allyson seems to be forever stuck, waiting for Willem. I just love that.

Also, I loved that we’re seeing her through glass. There’s a barrier between her and the rest of the world, as if she’s in a bubble that’s preventing her from knowing why Willem disappeared. It’s great!

The paperback cover makes me cringe a bit because the color tone of it is a bit washed out. Whoever developed this picture used too much cyan in the dark room. The blue and the teal font color do not work either. It just makes the book even more…blue. I do like that the two characters are walking, hand in hand, since it happened in the book, and that there’s a camera glare right on Willem, blinding us from properly seeing his full form (y’know, almost like a symbol of how he suddenly disappears without a trace and how we and Allyson have no idea who he is and what happens). It’s fitting.

Okay, so it turns out I like the hardcover design a lot more than I expected after I typed this post? Huh.

Which cover design do you prefer? Is there anything you would change in it? How do you feel about the color tone of the paperback cover?

October 12, 2013 • Cee • Events

Tuesday evening, I went to Not Your Mother’s Book Club (NYMBC)’s Awesome O’Clock event at Books Inc to see Gayle Forman and Tamara Ireland Stone. (It’s also called “She Said, He Said: Exploring Character, Story and Perspective in Duet Novels.” :D)

If you haven’t guessed it already, the theme of the event was about DUETS! (Y’know, because Gayle and Tamara have books written from the male and female perspective.)

Gayle Forman was wearing a double happiness t-shirt and she had on the loveliest Oxford shoes! She actually took her shoes off and set them on the table. Ha! (But she eventually put her shoes back on because it was too weird to leave it on the table.) She is such a hoot! She made me laugh a lot with her puns and pure awesomeness.

The two authors began talking about writing duets (companion books). The first question was about whether they knew ahead of time that they were going to write companion books. Tamara wrote Time Between Us, hoping it’ll be part of a series, but when she got to the end of the book, she realized she really wanted it to end. She ended the book in a way that allowed readers to not read a second book if there was one or if they didn’t want to read it. With If I Stay, Gayle didn’t know that she’d write a companion book. She didn’t think it was a viable book for a sequel, but the characters kept waking her at night. With Just One Day, it was going to be a standalone for like a week (and she was going to end it exactly where she ended it in the book. *gasp*). After she finished writing the book, she realized that writing the second book would connect the books together and take the story to a different level. She said it would be more ambitious and challenging.

They read parts from their books. In Time Between Us, Tamara read the scene where Anna goes to Bennett’s grandmother’s house and sees all the family pictures. In Time After Time, she read the scene from Bennett’s perspective of his family’s pictures. Gayle read scenes with the watch in it – in Just One Day, when Allyson tells Mrs. Foley what happened and Mrs. Foley inquires about her watch, and in Just One Year, when Willem goes to Celine, hoping that Allyson stopped by and when Willem tries to find Allyson by calling touring companies in England.

Both Gayle and Tamara are pantsers (they write by the seat of their pants. No planning. No outlines). Tamara writes whatever scene enters her head. Gayle writes in chronological order, but had to experiment with skipping around in Just One Day.

They talked about how they always have families in their books because it’s a big part of the characters. “Yay for good parents,” Tamara said.

They get a lot of calls for a third book, but Gayle doesn’t want to do a third book because it wouldn’t be interesting. It’d either be about their mundane day-to-day life or about terrible tragedies like Mia from If I Stay getting pregnant and then losing the baby. Nobody wants that. Oh, and Gayle says she’s done writing duets.

Gayle and Tamara talked about why they always start writing from the female perspective and how it was to write from the males’. Gayle asked why Tamara wrote from the female’s perspective when Bennett’s the one who’s struggling with his ability. Tamara said she liked the idea of a reluctant hero and found it interesting to show that by writing in the perspective of the girl who loves him (like if Spiderman was written from Mary Jane’s POV). She was scared to write from a teenage boy’s perspective. She had her husband help her with what guys would say and found it hard when she had to write guys interacting out with other guys because they say nothing. For Gayle, it never occurred her to write from the guy’s perspective. Adam was easy to write because Gayle is like him especially when Adams is being unpleasant in Where She Went. Gayle struggled with Willem because she didn’t know him and he didn’t use the slang that Americans do (because y’know, he’s Dutch). And she didn’t want Willem to have a Dutch cultural background and tried to find something that fits.

These are the questions I remember that was asked by the audience:

QUESTION: Any new projects they’re working on?
TIS: She sold a book “Every Last Word” that’s due to come out in 2015. She noted it was good therapy writing it.
GF:  The book she was writing along with Just One Day was recently sent to the publishers. She said the guy in that story is “the hottest guy ever. The hottest of the hottest.”
(Both are working on standalones; no more duets.)

QUESTION: Do they have things they have to have to write? Any routines?
TIS: She can write anywhere, but she needs her headphones. She doesn’t have to play music, but when she does, she listens to a lot of movie soundtrack. She loves writing in coffeehouses and her office.
GF: She needs to get her kid out of the house and have coffee.

QUESTION: Do they write for a specific amount a day?
GF: She writes until she feels done or when the wine bottle is depleted.

QUESTION: Do they have a celebrity that they see playing their characters?
TIS: For Bennett, Jeremy from The Vampire Diaries and for Anna, Lorde the singer (Her son reminded her). And George Clooney as the dad. ;D
GF: She doesn’t think about it ’cause it’s hard. She said the guy from the Lumineers (Wesley) would be her Willem, but only if he was less pretty and had brown eyes and looked craggier. She said he looked too earnest. LOLLL.

QUESTION: What inspired them to become writers?
TIS: Wrote for herself. It’s cathartic. She credits Judy Blume.
GF: The romance answer is that the story inspires her, but poverty inspires her. ;D (She used to work as a journalist and that did not pay well.)

QUESTION: How do they name their books?
TIS: She wanted to name Time Between Us Möbius because she found the Möbius strip to be fascinating because it said that time could be manipulated. She liked the idea of events coming full circle. Her editor named Time After Time. 
GF: She filed If I Stay as “Why Not,” then it changed to “If” and then to “If I Stay.” She said Just One Day came to her in a dream.

QUESTION: How do they name their characters?
TIS: She always liked the name Bennett and she chose Anna because it’s simple and a classic name. It’s also a palindrome!
GF: With Allyson’s name, she wanted an everyday name with a weird spelling. And with Willem, it’s a common Dutch name. (Note: she named him Willem before she knew William Shakespeare was going to be an element in the book.)

They sang a duet too! Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and it was sooo awesome.

(*The two pictures of Gayle and Tamara were not taken by me.)


I told Gayle Forman I am living vicariously through her books since I can’t travel (even though I want to since it’s an absolute must after college but I haven’t yet). She said I still have time since I’m young. :D She gave me some free swag (the double happiness tattoo, two postcards, and a fucking awesome bookmark). I really love that you wrote “all the feels” in If I Stay. :D I wanted to take a picture with Gayle but my camera’s battery died :((((((, but luckily, Gayle use her phone to a picture of the two of us and emailed it to me. :’D So sweet of her!

I did not get anything signed by Tamara Ireland Stone. Only because I plan to see her and Veronica Rossi (again) on the 23rd. *crossing my fingers that I do!*

I’m so happy that I went. I just hope I like Just One Year.

August 16, 2013 • Cee • Holy Mother Cover


Inspired by Pure Imagination Blog and Stacked.

Let’s be honest, nobody follows the age-old cliché that tells us not to judge a book by its covers. If you say you do, I am side-eying you. Book covers are the first thing that attracts any of us readers to a book. Before you pick up a book, the cover can essentially make or break a book. If I don’t like a cover design, I won’t pick it up. Lucky for us, publishing companies publish different cover designs, especially when a paperback book comes out. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t. Whatever the changes with cover designs, I will discuss it. 

Today, we look at the cover of If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

I actually like both covers of If I Stay. I like that they portray aspects of things that are in the book. I don’t have anything that I absolutely dislike about them. They’re both different, yet attractive to my eyes.

I really love the colors in the hardcover cover, aka the “before” one. The sky blue makes me think of moments when you’re laying on the ground, looking up into the sky and pondering about life. That’s what happens in If I Stay, the main character, Mia, reflecting on her life or death choices by remembering the past as she lay in the ICU. I love the white branches and the pink flower. Over at the Reader Girlz blog, there’s a cover story about the cover. Apparently, Gayle Forman said, “thought about how the flower amid the barren branches represented Mia holding on, the living thing amid all the death. But also how those branches represented the roots of her extended family that could sustain her if she chose to stay.” I thought it was a perfect/accurate analysis of what I thought too.

What I like about the paperback cover, aka the “after” one, is how the girl is pictured. She’s looking up into the sky, which makes me think of my interpretation of the “before” cover. It makes me imagine Mia lying on her back, not moving an inch, her eyes staring up, and having her life flash before her eyes, after she’d been thrown out of the car after the accident. I like the effect of the smoke (or fog) in the background. I am reminded of car smoke and how she is living in a fog, not sure of what her decision will be. 

I’m not a fan of quotations from authors on the front cover. It clutters up the space. I prefer my covers to be nice and clean. I would rather have the cover speak for itself. And for this particular cover, the quote irks me because it’s extremely misleading. How so? It suggests that If I Stay is similar to Twilight, like it’s also a vampire love story, which is totally wrong. For those who have read this book and know what this book is about, If I Stay is the opposite. It’s a contemporary YA novel about a girl who gets into an accident and has to decide whether to live on or let go as she examines both her past and present. It’s a book that deals with living, death, romance, music, choices. For someone to liken this to Twilight is absolutely shoddy advertisement.

Final thought: I like both covers. To me, they’re great representation of the If I Stay story. 

(And if you want to read the cover story of the hardcover If I Stay, check it out here. It’s a great read.)

What did you think of the cover design and the changes? Do you like it? Is there anything you would change?