Cover Stories: Lifted by Wendy Toliver

Lifted[1].jpgWendy Toliver's new book, Lifted, is already getting rave reviews. Wings author Aprilynne Pike says, "Lifted is the story of an imperfect heroine seeking her place not only in school, but in life. Its exploration of the amount of truth behind social and religious stereotypes escalates into a double-dog dare to believe them. A haunting morality tale that will leave you questioning just what it means to be 'good.'"Ooh... intriguing! Wendy's here to talk about her cover: "I had a vague idea of what the cover might look like. I visualized dark or bright colors rather than pastels, and maybe a part of a girl (not her whole body and face) or several girls with cross necklaces. "In fact, the cover was complete surprise. When you put so much of yourself into a book, it's always scary to see the cover for the first time, particularly if you know it's pretty much set in stone. My agent is always really good to call so we can discuss our first thoughts together. If I remember correctly, I could change a color or something (like if I wanted her hoodie to be a different color) but couldn't add something, for example, the cross necklace I'd proposed. 51wT0I6bq4L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg"I think when people read it, they'll be able to see that the girl in the photo does look a lot like how I describe Poppy, so that's good. And I love the colors and the bold font (which is carried throughout the book in the chapter headings, etc.) When I started sharing the cover image with a few author friends, someone called it to my attention that it's the same cover (well, the same image) as AnnDee Ellis's Everything is Fine (right). The weird thing is, Ann Dee and I both live in Utah and we see each other at local author gatherings. My agent and I brought this up with my editor and she mentioned our concern to the art and marketing departments but they really loved the cover Cara E. Petrus had designed for my book and didn't want to change it. 41jEBmZ98nL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg"Honestly, I wasn't sure what to think but by this time I had fallen in love with the cover. I wrote Ann Dee an email so she wouldn't be surprised when she saw the similarity. Then someone else pointed out yet another YA book with the same image: Safe by Susan Shaw (left). Sheesh! "I can't say I'm thrilled about the same image being used so often (are there more?) but as some of you might know, it isn't entirely rare for this to happen. For example, there's North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley and Evermore by Alyson Noel which I believe Alyson mentioned coming out at about the same time (read their cover stories here). The thing is, and I have to keep telling people this, it's not like the artists at Simon Pulse got together and said, 'Hey! Let's copy another cover!' It just happens sometimes. "I love the girl's body language. It's a great mix of good girl, bad girl. Love her clothes (very Poppy-like) and the Converses are spot-on. What I don't love is the background. I get that she's in a classroom (with the blackboard behind her) but I don't get the 'Southern private school' vibe from the wood paneling and rickety stool. The background seems too old-fashioned, like a school from the 1970s or something. I'm a major font fanatic and I absolutely love the font and color palette. I also really, really like the spine. It really stands out and looks interesting." Thanks, Wendy! I really love the font treatment as well, and I also like the way there's a shadow around Poppy but she herself is lit up in a spotlight, almost. I think the presentation of this photo looks really different on all three books. And I can't wait to read Lifted! What do you guys think?