Cover Stories: Illegal by Bettina Restrepo

illegal.jpgBettina Restrepo's Illegal has a windswept but urban cover, which is an intriguing combination, I think. The book is about a girl whose father crossed the boarder from Mexico to the US three years ago. They've stopped hearing from him, so she and her mother make the hard decision to follow him into Texas and try to find him. "For the cover, I imagined two trailer-truck doors with the title in graffiti. But, I also knew that the art directors they have at HarperCollins could design something beyond my expectations. I only have a silly picture I drew (below). This is why I don't even try to suggest art. I leave the art to the experts.

illegal illo.jpg"I received pictures of the shirt the model wore and they asked if it was okay (it was, I have one similar to it!). Then, when the font came out wonky and Frankensteinish (below) - they quickly agreed [with my objections] and came back with the beautiful barbed wire font. frankensteinfont.jpg "They asked me if I like royal blue or the purple. Hands down - purple.

"When I saw the final cover, I cried and then hugged my laptop. My main character, Nora, only existed to me as someone in my head. I knew she had long hair and olive/Latina skin. But, to see her - she took my breath away. It's a model super imposed onto half of a burned out field, and half of the skyline of Houston (which is smudged up a bit with smog... just like the real city!)

"After the initial giddiness of seeing the cover, I noticed that Nora was wearing earrings. She wants pierced ears throughout the book, and doesn't get them done until the epilogue. I had to go back and give them to her earlier in the story - which I find kind of funny.

"I really love the cover because it conveys a sense of longing. It's wistful and shows movement. It was important NOT to see her face. Nora could be anyone... she could be you."

Thanks, Bettina! Yeah, I'm glad the art department got to do the final design (not that your illo isn't quite cute in that Book Report kinda way). And the font change is key -- I love the subtle barbed purple font (maybe inspired by your drawing?). Also: Those shirts like she's wearing are divine classics that never go out of style. I have one for summer! What do you guys think?