The Updated Covers of YA

Thanks to Jennifer Echols for the link: from the April issue of Print magazine, which is devoted to graphic design, an article about the changing and updated covers for YA books in the US. Sweet Valley High is featured, as is Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, and Nancy Drew.

The glitz and gleam of the Gossip Girls is mentioned, along with the updated SVH’s, but what caught my eye was the varying styles of art used for YA books now. When I was younger, I have this memory of most, if not all, being illustrated covers. Either way, with the covers for books like Melissa Marr’s and Stephanie Meyer’s series renovating my definition of “whoa damn awesome,” it’s cool to see a graphic design mag examining the YA genre’s art.


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  1. 1

    I’m so glad you were able to find a link to this!

  2. 2

    Thanks for pointing out this article; it’s an interesting read! (I especially love that it’s about YA books.) I think book covers can get someone to pick up a book—or get them to ignore it. I know book covers, the way they’re designed, affect me. So I enjoyed your post and the article.

  3. 3
    KimberlyD says:

    I’m disappointed to find out that Nancy Drew was written by a team of writers.

    Otherwise, I really liked the article. And it definitely makes sense that they have to update older covers. The target audience is very concerned with appearances, including their possessions.

  4. 4
    SonomaLass says:

    I loved it when my kids read and enjoyed the same books I had.  With the boys it tended to be fantasy and sci-fi, mostly.  My girls and I shared Nancy Drew, including the wonderful 1940s editions that I inherited from my mother.  We preferred the older versions that weren’t updated, though.  I still have my collection, and my girls pretend to fight over “who will get them.”  I say I will KEEP them, thank you very much, for my grand-daughters to read.  I’m sure to have some of those some day.

  5. 5
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    FYI, the original Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books were re-released a few years ago as replica editions, complete with original covers and artwork.  I believe they were printed in fairly limited quantity but some may still be available.
    Interesting how the perceptions of what is “hip” in cover art have changed.  For instance, I would have found the original cover for The Outsiders hopelessly out-of-date in the late ‘70’s when I first encountered the book, but now it looks fresh and the most interesting of the lot.

  6. 6
    Catherine says:

    The link doesn’t work for me… :(

  7. 7
    Stephanie says:

    I LOVE the very-old, pre-1958-revision Nancy Drews. Yeah, she was a lot more ‘30s, but she was also a lot smarter. She used words with THREE syllables occasionally!

    Of course, I reread #1 (The Secret in the Old Clock, or something similar) a few weeks ago, and was a little disappointed that it wasn’t as cool as I remembered, but still.

  8. 8
    Cora says:

    One of my favourite series of childrens/YA books (Pucki by Magda Trott, though I doubt anyone has heard of it, since it’s a German series) had beautiful retro-style covers, which I loved, because they were so different from anything else out there. I read the series in the 1980s, my Mom read the same books in the 1950s and she told me that her books had the same covers. I eventually found out that the covers dated back to the original edition from the 1930s. The books are still available and they still look the same.

  9. 9
    Ramon says:

    Great review. Keep up the fine work.
    Beau Bra Lingerie

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