Monday, 10 October 2011

Compare the Covers: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

UK cover                                                                                US cover

This is a book I've been eagerly awaiting and much of my eagerness was down to the US cover on the right. Yes, I know it's another 'Sad Girl in a Pretty Dress'-style cover and to say they are overused in YA is the understatement of the year. But you know what they also are? Pretty! And while I'd much rather have an original, interesting cover, it's hard not to be attracted to what looks good. 

At first I was pleased to discover that Dearly, Departed was being published in the UK a week or so before the US release. Then I saw the UK cover on the left. I have to admit my first reaction was complete horror. No. Just no. Where has my prettiness gone? It's been replaced by a couple who look like they put on Civil War-era costumes to pose for one of those Old Time Photo studios you find in shopping malls. And the guy is a wanted serial killer who is sick with the flu. 

Once I calmed down, I realised it wasn't all bad. The UK cover does try to represent the actual storyline, as Dearly, Departed features a romance between a girl and a zombie (the guy's not sick, he's dead and you can see zombies staggering in the background). And all the early reviews say Dearly, Departed is hilarious and off-the-wall, so the UK cover is much more representative than the US one, which looks like it's for a sombre paranormal romance. The UK cover is obviously trying to parody Gone with the Wind and does suggest a fun, campy read. But I can't get past the tacky costumes, badly photo-shopped over the background.

Like I said, the US cover is far from original. And it tells you nothing about the book (where are the zombies?). But I can't help it, I like the dress, I love the parasol and I like the colours. I think this time, pretty wins.


  1. I have this theory that covers are only meant to be there to grab your attention from all the other books on the shelf and hands down the US cover does that. Once you read a book however, the cover is annoying if it doesn't truly represent the story...rock and a hard place.

  2. I love the US cover...although the UK one is kind of spooky.


  3. I was sent an ARC of this book and I will admit it got put aside because of the cover, I have the UK cover. Now that I realise what book it actually is I will be getting it out to read. I have seen the US cover all over and was really drawn to the book.
    I know they say don't judge a book by it's cover but sometimes it's hard not too. I love the US cover.
    I work in a bookshop and I often tell people not to be put off by the cover but as you have just read, I still judge myself.

  4. Lan - I think the problem with misleading covers is when they stop books from reaching their right audience. There might be a reader who is looking for something fun and a little different - and a zombie steampunk novel would fit the bill perfectly. But seeing the US cover, they might assume it's another paranormal romance and pass it over and that would be a real shame.

    Sarah Darlington - The US cover just looks good, doesn't it? I appreciate what they were trying to do with the UK cover, but I don't think it worked.

    Bungle - It's very hard not to judge a book by its cover - the cover is the first thing you see and it has got to attract you. I wonder if this book is marketed in a different genre in the UK? I remember the Sookie Stackhouse books originally had campy, cartoonish covers. I'm glad you're going to read this one now, though! I'll look out for your review.

  5. I find it so weird that UK and US covers differ so often! I just don't get it! Sometimes it works out nicely if you are in the country with the prettier cover.....but you would think that the publishing companies would try to market it the same. I wouldn't think that the demographic in the UK would be much different then North America....

  6. I actually like the UK cover! I like both of them though! The guy does kind of look like he has the flu though! Bwuahaha! I'm not sure how I feel about zombie books. -.- I've never actually read one. :O

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza


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