Cover Stories: The After Girls

after girlsLeah Konen's debut novel, The After Girls, is out this month, and the cover is nothing like what she expected. Here she is to tell the tale: "I thought a lot about the cover for The After Girls once I knew it would be published. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but truthfully, we all do. It sets the tone for the book, it puts an idea of the characters in your mind, and it's often what makes you want to pick up the book in the first place. The After Girls follows two teenage girls attempting to uncover the mystery of their best friend's suicide, and so I imagined a cover that was moody, dark and, most of all, about friends. I saw blue and purple hues, storm clouds, woods, friends hands tightly clasped together, maybe even an image of the skeleton key that figures so prominently in the story ...

"Needless to say, the cover was nothing like what I'd expected. I actually received an early image as I was packing up my whole apartment in preparation for a cross-country move from Brooklyn to San Francisco. I was already on edge (moving does that), and as I read the email I was both elated and completely nervous. My agent's words in the email: 'It's different than I imagined it would be, but in a good way.' I was terrified to download the image--I hadn't had any input on the cover, and I had no idea what to expect.

"After several minutes of freaking out, conceiving the worst covers I could possibly come up with (my agent did say it was 'different'), and coaxing from my boyfriend, I finally opened the file. I saw the colors before anything else. Subtle blue-greens and yellows, with just a hint of darkness, like something was off. A girl's image hovered at the top over two friends walking, their backs to us. It wasn't what I'd imagined--and I loved it. It did what my imagined covers hadn't: it portrayed the eeriness, the spookiness, the ethereal sense of loss, but it also showed healing and moving on. It showed what I had always felt, that even though The After Girls is dark and gothic, it is more about love and friendship than death and grief.

"Though I did have some tiny tweaks, which were taken into consideration, the cover changed only slightly from the initial version I saw--and I was fine with that. Even though I had little input, in the end, I think it's very me. It's youthful without being overly so, mysterious and hopeful. As a good friend (who doesn't read YA) said when I first showed it to her: 'It looks like a book I'd actually want to read!'"

Thanks, Leah! The trailer is lovely as well -- the watercolor atmosphere of the cover and the look in the trailer appeal to me a lot.

What do you guys think?