Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Difference a Cover Makes

Clifton, Lutricia. Freaky Fast Frankie Joe.
Publication date 1 April 2012, Holiday House
Frankie Joe is perfectly happy in Texas, at the Lone Star Trailer Park. He knows most of the residents, and they all take care of each other. When his mother is sent to jail for drug dealing, Frankie Joe must go with the father he has never met, his new wife, and his four young sons. It's tough to get used to being with a large family, especially since one of his brothers is veyr smart, and Frankie Joe struggles in school. The oldest brother also is very mean, and taunts him about his mother being in jail. Frankie Joe makes plans to run away back to Texas, and is very methodical-- he makes a list, gathers supplies, and gets a variety of jobs to earn the money he will need. In the process, he gets to know his neighbors and schoolmates, and starts to realize that his new family isn't so bad. Is going back to Texas still a good idea? Is it even a possibility?
Strengths: It's somehow refreshing to read books about children who are in difficult but not dire circumstances. Not every family is intact; not all parents are able to take care of their children. This book realistically portrays the troubles that Frankie has changing environments, but also provides him with a lot of kind, supportive people. I ended up liking this one a lot more than I thought I would.
Weaknesses: Why did I think this one would be bad? The cover is awful. The ARC I have has a much darker cover. It will take active persuasion to get students to read this.

Compare the cover above to this one for Aaron Karo's Lexpros and Cons. This is an awesome cover. And it would be great for a series, because it could have about the same image in different colors, to reflect the main character's moods, which he expresses through his shoes. I could put this one up in a display, and it would be checked out in five minutes.

Too bad it's REALLY a high school book. Or a book that one checks out from the public library. Here's the thing: The Edumacation of Jay Baker, was read by one of the teachers during SSR. He laughed so much that the students were interested. I keep the ARC on a shelf behind the circ desk and know NOTHING about it. (Or that copy of Miracle Wimp that is hanging around. )If kids pick it up, I have no idea how he got it, since it's not quite appropriate for the middle school. This one? I'm not even taking the ARC to school. I'd feel super creepy if boys got the book from me.

Great cover, though. 

1 comment:

  1. The difference a cover makes, indeed: three books I could barely GIVE away to HS teens with their first cover: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, The Good Guy by Dean Koontz, and Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles. Each of them was redesigned, and (especially Elkeles') went on to be checked out regularly.

    I know a librarian who prints the redesigned covers and tapes them over her older copies - it makes that much difference!