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?