Last week I read GETTING THE GIRL, an early book by Markus Zusak *. Here’s the cover of my GETTING THE GIRL and an alternate cover of the same book:
I mean, GETTING THE GIRL is actually all about a character who, unlike his brother, sees the girl-in-question’s humanity and personality rather than just her body. And yet.
Sarah Dessen has made a virtue of these covers, of which she’s very enamored. I read an interview with her where she talks about how she’s insisted to her publisher that her covers never show a girl’s face because she thinks “any girl” should be able to see the cover and feel like it’s her. Which kind of re-raises my frustration with her sense that all girls are white and thin (and, actually, blond, if they’re going to be one of her protagonists), but not my point at the moment.
My point is: I get why they use these covers; they work on me. I mean, I love these covers; they make me pick up the book:
… But they also kind of creep me out.
Meanwhile, you sometimes are invited to fetishize the girl’s face instead:
For all that I expressed puzzlement at John Green for covers featuring girls’ faces on books that seem ostensibly to be for boys, I give him huge props for using normal-pretty, instead of model-pretty, girls:
* who you might know from his book THE BOOK THIEF, which won a million awards including the National Book Award and is one of the best books I’ve read in many, many years, a Holocaust novel narrated by death and the only one I can think of that humanizes the German populace, but not the point of this post.