Cover Stories: Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger

jessicashine.jpgNeesha Meminger's Shine Coconut Moon is high on my to-read list (also: The Gossip Girls are reading it!). I heard an excerpt from it last year, and I just know I'll love it! Read the very cool Lyn Miller-Lachmann's review on readergirlz.Plus: The Cover. I had to find out the back story. Here's Neesha: "Thank goodness no one asked me for my thoughts on what should go on the cover! As I was writing the book, the only thing I could think of was a giant coconut in the shadow of a waning moon. Ugh. "The only thing I said to my publisher was, 'I'm fine with anything except a headless woman.' Obviously, you know just how far that input got me {grin}. shine_coconut_moon_final_cover_y53d1.jpg"Okay, truly? When I first saw my cover, I was disappointed with the headless model. I really had a hard time moving through that. For South Asian women, it's a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we're absolutely thrilled that there is SOME representation--especially if that representation is not of the usual, passive, submissive, sari-clad, new-immigrant variety we're used to seeing on television and in movies. On the other hand, yes, it absolutely objectifies young women as does all of the mainstream media we see every single day. "But, when my husband came over to look at it over my shoulder, his first response was, 'Holy #$%@! That's an AWESOME, eye-catching cover.' As he walked away, he mumbled, 'Arresting . . . that's what it is. Arresting' I started liking it a lot more almost immediately. "The one big thing I asked them to change, they did (see Neesha's post, which goes into great detail about the important back cover changes). My editor was completely behind me (thank goodness!), and the final result, at least in *my* humble opinion, is stunning. I love the juxtaposition of the traditional painting on the back and the modern, tough, sexy girl photo on the front. "Only the back cover changed. The front was pretty much the same as it was in the sketches I saw. The front cover was shot with a model. "I quite like it now, actually. I totally agree with the headless/objectification argument, and yet, at the same time, I see how rarely young, Indian-American teens get to see themselves as tough and sexy and hip in ANY mainstream media. While we can't see the model's face, I still love that she exudes confidence, she's a hip young Indian-American woman who is facing forward, thumb hooked into the belt loop of her jeans . . . ready to take on what life throws at her." I love this final assessment of Neesha's, and it's fascinating to hear about the back cover battles. In the end, I agree with her husband: Arresting. What do you guys think?