readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cover Stories: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

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Jeri Smith-Ready's latest book, SHADE, is the first in a young adult urban fantasy series about a world of ghosts only the young can see. When Aura's boyfriend meets a most untimely end, she is forced to reconsider her relationship with the living and the dead.

Ooh! Here's the deal with that dark and stormy cover:

"I imagined your typical young adult urban fantasy cover for SHADE--girl's face, maybe half cut off. I've always loved Simon Pulse's covers. They're so sophisticated and evocative, so my expectations were pretty high. Since violet and red are important elements in the story, I assumed they would be used on the cover.

"My editor sent me their ideas for the cover concept, but it was more of a, 'Here's what we're thinking' rather than a 'What would you like to see?' e-mail. Which is fine, because I'm so not a visual person. I would've been like, 'Um, how about a girl's face, half cut off? Maybe some swirlies? Oh, and definitely use black.' So helpful.

"The first time I saw my cover, I was Blown. Away. Seriously. I've been super lucky with all my covers, but when I saw the SHADE cover and jacket wrap-around, I cried. I felt like I was in the presence of genius--the designer was Cara Petrus, who designed the House of Night cover series (see book 1, Marked, right) when she was at St. Martin's. She's a goddess.

"My only comments were a series of incoherent noises of glee, so my agent was the one to respond with, 'We unequivocally LOVE THIS SO MUCH. We love EVERYTHING. Really. Home run...THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!'

"Oh, and when I met Cara in November, I had a doughnut in my mouth, so all I could do was bow to her, Wayne's World 'We're Not Worthy' style. I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm a dork, and I'm also pretty sure she's right.

"There were no changes, other than to add a tagline and cover quote, plus a short scene on the back cover. They also changed the font on my name (see the full jacket wrap photo with the original font on melissacwalker.com). It probably changed before I saw it, though.

"It was shot with a model one night on a Brooklyn rooftop. I need to find out which building so I can visit it and take a picture...."

Read the rest of the story, and see the full jacket wrap, on melissacwalker.com.


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