Cover Stories: Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

Cover w TaglineTerra Elan McVoy will be teaching with me at Smith College this summer (yay!) and she's back with a brand new book and a cover that somehow is both very in keeping with her past covers and also very different. Here she is to tell the tale: "I know I'm like a broken record at this point, but the case of Criminal's cover, as with all of my other books (save the paperback edition of Pure), I didn't have much to say when it came to the design, other than, 'BAM! This is awesome!'

"Since Criminal is in so many ways a very different book for me though (edgier and darker, with a much less confident protagonist), I was curious how the design team would work to set this book apart from the beautiful sweetness of the others, and yet keep it in line enough so that they would all look good together. I knew I didn't want anything that too strongly focused on the violence of the book (a gun, for example, or handcuffs or jail), though I did wonder about utilizing police CRIME SCENE tape or something like that.

"What makes the final cover so perfect to me, is that it is definitely different from the others (all black, notably different font), but it also blends with them. Like the rest (below), there's the title, and my name, a solid background, and one stand-out visual that makes it pop. (In this case, the golden bullet.) Even though there is a hint of the violence on the cover, it feels perfect because it is so simple, and so symbolic. That the bullet is tearing through the title, shattering it into little bits, is perfect not just because it looks cool, but because this violent act of Dee's completely shatters Nikki's life.

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"I will admit that when I saw that the cover was completely black, I did have a moment of, 'Oh no! How is this going to stand out now?' since my friends have had fun sending photos of Pure, especially, popping out on the shelf amidst a field of darkly-covered YA titles. I think the end result is so perfect and gorgeous, however, that I'll be able to handle it. All in all, I'm very pleased with the whole jacket, and I hope it entices readers to pick it up and read what's inside!"

Thanks, Terra! I really love your covers and the way that one symbol stands in as the full design. (See Terra's past Cover Stories for Being Friends With Boys, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, After the Kiss and Pure.)

What do you guys think?