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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cover Stories: Zen and Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Amy Kathleen Ryan's Zen and Xander Undone got a starred review in Kirkus (that's tough!). They said "...touching, urgent and involving. Zen's frank narration--full of longing and hard-won insight--draws readers in and won't let go." --Kirkus Reviews, starred. Cool!

The book also has a dramatic Cover Story that involves a big bookstore. Here's Amy to tell it:

"When I was writing Zen and Xander Undone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010), I had a very clear image in my mind of what I wanted the cover to look like. The book has two protagonists, and the contrast between their personalities is the driving force of the story. Xander, despite her extraordinary intellect, is descending into a self-destructive spiral with drugs, parties, and bad men. Zen is much more reserved, but she has a black belt in Shotokan and violent tendencies that get her into fights that sometimes she can't finish. This book has lots of action and danger in it, which I hoped the cover would get across. So I imagined two girls on the cover, both of them looking defiant. My image of Xander had heavy black eyeliner, tattoos, facial piercings, and she was wearing skanky clothes. Zen I imagined in her Karate uniform, standing in a battle-ready pose.

"What my publisher sent me was very different. The first version of the cover looked like this..."

Read the rest of Amy's Cover Story at melissacwalker.com.


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