Thursday, December 8, 2011

When YA book covers get their sexy on...

For the past few weeks I've been highlighting some different cover themes and today I decided to talk about the sexyfied book covers. The covers with people kissing, about to kiss, or just giving each other that "lets go downstairs baby" kind of look. Feeling uncomfortable yet? Well I'm just getting started!

I'm not a fan of this cover trend at all. Its slowly been building up steam in the YA world and honestly it bugs me even more than the shirtless covers. If a cover has people about to make out/making out on it I will flat out not read it unless a bunch of people are recommending it like crazy and even then I won't normally pick it up.

The biggest culprit? Simone Elkeles books. I have nothing against Simone Elkeles. In fact I hear she is a wonderful individual and that she is absolutely hilarious. However her books just don't appeal to me, mostly because of the covers. Just about every Simone Elkeles book has people kissing on it. No joke. Just look at the Perfect Chemistry Series:

Gahhhh I can't even believe I'm posting a picture of these covers on my blog. They scare me that much. Especially the Chain Reaction cover. Ummm is it really necessary to have a picture of your sexy times on the cover of the book? *shudder* I can't even look at these covers without feeling awkward....

Even Simone Elkeles' other series the How to Ruin Trilogy got a schmexified makeover. The covers were originally rather nice and mundane:

But now they look like this:

Okay so these covers aren't as kissy as the Perfect Chemistry ones but somehow they manage to make me feel twice as uncomfortable. I think its a mixture of:

1. The cover models looking like they're in their late 20's/early 30's but the books are for teenagers. Honestly the cover models look about the same age as some of the parents I babysit for and I don't know about you but that's just GROSS.

2. The awkward "looks" the models are giving each other. Just no..... >.<

Why did they have to change the covers from the original ones? Sure they maybe weren't as "flashy" but they also didn't make anyone cringe....

Of course Simone Elkeles' books aren't the only ones with sexy covers. Recently Lisa McMann's book Cryers Cross got a schmexy paperback makeover:

You know the saying "If its not broken don't fix it"? Well it applies here! The original hardback cover of Cryers Cross was absolutely perfect. It was creepy, and eerie and mirrored the content of the book exactly. So why did they feel they had to redesign the paperback to look all schmexy and not even be a good representation of the book?! IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!! *bangs head against desk*

Just in case I haven't shown you enough sexy awkwardness here's one final dose of covers:

Oh look! ANOTHER Simone Elkeles book! What a surprise. Hahahahaha.

This batch of covers here is my "favorite". My friend and I have so lovingly dubbed these the incest covers. Why? Because the couples on each cover look so alike that they could practically be siblings. Awkward but true.

I have made my stance on these covers pretty clear: I am not a fan. They make me feel uncomfortable, and they are even more awkward to read in public then a book with a shirtless guy on it.

Not even romantic comedies/romance movies find the need to have people kissing on their DVD covers! Okay besides The Notebook.... What I'm trying to say is why do publishers feel the need to make YA covers sexy? Do they think it will bring in more readers? Do they think its more modern? Why? I just feel like its completely unnecessary. Even if a book is a romance (like the books in the  Perfect Chemistry series) I feel like a super sexy cover is unnecessary especially when its marketed towards teens. We already get bombarded with sexual images from every other area of the media, why do we need it from our books too?

Sorry if this post came off as a bit ragey. I'm not trying to cut down Simone Elkeles or any other author with a sexy book cover. I just want to make that clear.

Now that I've said my opinion I really want to hear yours. What do you think of sexy YA covers? Are you for them? Against them? Do you have any funny/awkward stories from when you were reading one? I wanna know!

Julia :)


  1. I don't like the Perfect Chemistry book covers at all either. I think that's one of the reasons why I haven't bother reading it. I have no problem with sexy covers in adult books, but in YA, I find it a tad creepy.

  2. I've read all the books by Simone Elkeles at school... It is very awkward when you pull a book out of your backpack looking like a steamy adult novel. I would always try to hide the covers when I read out in public.

  3. I now officially LOVE you. As a mom of a 12 year old daughter who in entering into reading these books, I just cringe when I go to the book stores. It irks me to no end that the books targeted at young girls are all starting to look like steamy Adult Romance novels. I also agree that the models on the covers look like 20 Somethings, nowhere near the target audience of the readers! So thank you for speaking up on this trend. I no longer feel like I am the only one ranting!

  4. Honestly,, I don't really care either way. They don't bother me because they aren't as smutty as the romance covers with half naked guys and woman but I can see where it could make others uncomfortable.

    Love the incest covers thing! I didn't even notice that but I think you're right. Fun post today.

  5. It doesn't bother me as much as it bothers you, but I still agree with everything you're saying. Some of those covers definitely do make me uncomfortable, especially the one where they're in the shower together. Sometimes I think 'sexy' covers can be effective (I actually think the rules of attraction one is cute) but I think they're just way over done. If the only reason you're reading a book is for the 'sexy' parts, there's something wrong.

  6. I've read all of Simone Elkeles books and I love them. The covers are based off the books and if you are uncomfortable with them then you shouldn't read the books. The covers never bother me. I don't really care about the covers anyway, just the stories.

    I actually like the new Cryer's Cross cover, though.

    But I think you are right about the others looking like siblings...weird. I hope those models didn't get together after the shoot. :)

  7. I don't mind them for contemporary, but I serious doubt I would have even looked at Cryer's Cross with that new cover.

  8. Yep. I could do without sexy times on the cover too.

  9. i don't mind most of the covers...the ones where they're kissing are okay. kinda cute at times, but i don't like the one in the shower. that's pushing it...

    i liked the other cryer's cross cover. i love creepy books, and the new cover looks twilighty. not likely for me to want to pick it up...

    wow, they DO look like siblings! i never noticed that before...awkward.

  10. I don't mind the covers if they fit the genre more, like on Romance novels were it can be a little laughable.

    I think YA covers could be a little less risque, especially if you carry the book around and you are on the younger end.

    On the brightside, If it's on an e-book at least less people will see the cover.

  11. Some of these covers are pretty awkward, but I loveee the covers of the Perfect Chemistry series! I like a little sexiness every once in awhile, so I appreciate that these covers are letting me know what I'm getting into!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  12. "Honestly the cover models look about the same age as some of the parents I babysit for and I don't know about you but that's just GROSS."


    Really great rant. Whether or not people agree -- and we suspect that there will be plenty of readers on both sides of this issue -- you've stated your opinion and your reasons very well.

    Personally, we're not in love with sexy covers, although they make a lot of sense for the Perfect Chemistry series, from what we understand. (Only one of us has read one of the books.) The Cryer's Cross "makeover" is a tragedy, and our guess is that the other books in these examples could have had different, non-kissy covers. But we're fairly certain it all comes down to marketing, and publishers (right or wrong) think this is what sells.

    Perhaps we should link them here to let them know there's some dissent...

  13. I completely agree with you. These make me feel uncomfortable.I really like what you said about incest. So funny! Great post.

  14. It is SO awkward! I really don't want to be seen carrying around a book that looks like THOSE. And my mom... she would freak!


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