Covering and Recovering YA Fiction

Leanne Hall from Readings Carlton blogs on the art of re-jacketing our favourite YA reads.

It’s not often that I geek-out over book covers, but I did recently, for the new US jackets for Holly Black’s brilliant Curse Workers trilogy. They are extremely beautiful; somehow managing to look both Art Deco and extremely contemporary. It’s a good fit for these books, which are set in an alternate modern-day world, but which also manage to give off a Prohibition era-slash-mobster vibe.


I think they’re an enormous improvement on the original US covers, although I’m also quite fond of the Australian covers. Here’s the Australian cover for the third book, Black Heart, which has just been released here.


Look at that visceral, ink-splattered heart! Doesn’t it look like it’s just been ripped out of someone’s chest, Temple of Doom style?

Sometimes books are re-jacketed to enhance their crossover appeal. The Harry Potter books were released concurrently with kids and adult jackets, to protect the delicate sensibilities of adults who wanted to read them on the tram without shame, and they have also since been re-jacketed in white ‘signature editions’, which I must admit I prefer to the originals.


The newer, more sophisticated covers for Suzanne Collins' enormously-successful Hunger Games trilogy are currently selling better than the original covers.


The very first paperback print run of The Hunger Games in Australia had a nifty foldout cover with a die-cut window through which you could view either Katniss or Peeta, depending on your mood, which I thought was a fun novelty, but there’s no denying the new covers are more stylish.


I don’t always side with the adult look though. I definitely prefer the kids cover for Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book to the adult version, mostly because I believe that illustrator Chris Riddell can do NO WRONG.



And finally, sometimes a well-established and long-lasting series can receive a new boost of life through re-jacketing. We received an exciting shipment last week, the fourth book in Carole Wilkinson’s superb Dragonkeeper series, Blood Brothers. The first three books have been re-jacketed to match the new look for the series, to stunning effect. By my count, this is the third time the covers have been updated, to keep in line with the evolving visual tastes of readers.


The beautiful new cover illustrations are by artist Sonia Kretschmar, who is also responsible for the illustrations on Cassandra Gold’s three novels: Clair de Lune, The Museum of Mary Child, and The Three Loves of Persimmon.


leanne-hall-pic Leanne Hall is a children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton, and a writer of young adult fiction. Her novel This Is Shyness won the Text Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Writing, and her latest, The Queen of the Night, was released in 2012.

She blogs at the and you can follow her on twitter - @lilymandarin.



Carole Wilkinson

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