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Go ahead and judge these young adult books by their covers

By in Press Enterprise on October 7, 2017

By Mark Givens

There are a lot of attractive books out there on the shelves. The level of artistry — the colors, design, typography — continues to increase as artists push the boundaries of book cover design. One of the greatest areas of experimentation has been in the young adult market.

There’s been somewhat of a revolution in young adult fiction. In the past 10 years, we’ve seen a wonderful rise in literature for readers 12 to 18. According to the Association of American Publishers, the number of young adult books has more than doubled recently with more than 10,000 titles in 2012 versus about 4,700 in 2002.

Vibrant illustrations and creative typography have added to the visual appeal of this genre, sometimes crossing over in style and content with adult literature.

Brian Selznick, the author and illustrator of books such as “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and “Wonderstruck,” has changed the landscape for the better with his deep woodcut-inspired illustrations and cinematic eye. His breakthrough novel was adapted for a motion picture (“Hugo”), a film that drew heavily on the visual style outlined by Selznick.

Brian Selznick, the author and illustrator of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and “Wonderstruck,” has changed the landscape for the better with his deep woodcut-inspired illustrations and cinematic eye. (Handout/MCT)

There also are books like the just-released “That Inevitable Victorian Thing” by E. K. Johnston, which features a beautiful line illustration by Elizabeth Traynor on the cover, its dark colors and slim type adding an appropriate elegance to a beautiful volume.

The stylistic choices of these young adult books cross over and to resemble something more grown up, boosting the artistry to a decidedly higher intellectual and adventurous level, breaking further away from the children’s market and nudging closer to the adult market while retaining some of the playfulness and […]    

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