Cover Stories: Torn

Stephanie Guerra's debut novel has a cover that really tells a story, especially when you look at the entire jacket. Here's Stephanie to talk about the process:

"I love the cover of Torn, because by some amazing coincidence, the model looks like the friend on whom Stella, my narrator, is based (see the picture of 'Stella' and me in high school, below right). I also like the model because I can see both Latina and Eastern European characteristics in her face, and Stella is biracial Mexican and Croatian.

"The art department used stock photos, and I’m grateful for the level of input they allowed. While I wasn’t consulted about the original design, I was given seven possible head shots to choose from, and asked for feedback about framing. The whole process was fun, collaborative, and stress-free.

"As far as the design itself (the close-up of Stella on the front is mirrored by one of Ruby on the back--see full jacket below), I feel it's perfect. Torn is about what it means for a woman to be a true friend, and what it sometimes requires from us. There’s a lot of YA romance in the marketplace right now, but when I was a teen, my friendships defined my experience more than my romances did. That comes through in Torn; there are men in both girls’ lives, but ultimately their friendship is deeper and more sustaining than their respective romances. I think the dual head-shots keep the spotlight where it belongs: on the girls.

"While I had choices around Stella’s headshot, the art department only offered one option for Ruby. At first I thought she looked scary (those eyes!), but now that I have the actual book in hand, I see that she was a good, dramatic choice. Ruby's character is fiery, and it makes sense that her image should reflect that intensity. The only quibble I had was that Ruby's red hair is a dye job, while the model is clearly a natural redhead. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things! By another stroke of luck, I met a young mother at a playground who resembled the Ruby model. I asked the woman if she’d like to act in my trailer, and she agreed (thank you, Michelle!).

"The cover came together fortuitously in so many ways that I feel a sense of peace that it’s just right. I even love the end papers. Maurice Sendak once compared the end papers of a book to the curtains of a theater, and I think it’s a great analogy. My end papers are a delicious, candy pink—not quite bubblegum, not quite cherry blossom. The pigment is rich enough that the color feels strong, but not shocking. Somehow it reflects both the estrogen and the edge of Torn.

"And now I could go on about why I love the type-face… but I have to stop somewhere. I’ll close by saying that as a lifelong book lover, it’s very satisfying to have my first book feel aesthetically right, and I’m grateful to the designers at Marshall Cavendish (now Amazon Publishing) who made it happen. Thank you!"

Thanks, Stephanie! Below are various headshots for Stella, below. I love the final pick! And check out the Torn trailer too. How cool that Stephanie found a real-life Ruby lookalike to use for the filming!

What do you guys think?