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  • Writer's pictureIshta Mercurio

Cover Collection 20: LOST BOY, written by Shelley Hrdlitschka, with art by Marie Bergeron

Welcome to Cover Collection, my (mostly) weekly blog series in which I talk about book covers I love and why I love them. This week, I'm posting a couple days late (sorry! But I birthed a book into the world a few weeks ago, and things are kinda busier than I expected them to be. I thought this would be a quieter time. I was very wrong!), so the end of the week is going to be blog-post-heavy. (YAY!)

I want to talk about the cover of Shelley Hrdlitschka's YA novel, LOST BOY, which was created by Marie Bergeron. It's one of those spare, bold cover designs that drew me in right away and kept my attention. Take a look!

A red-headed boy wearing a black shirt is shown in front of a green background and the words LOST BOY obscure his face

I like the way this image interacts with the meaning in the title. The phrase Lost Boys has meaning in our culture: thanks to Peter Pan, it evokes thoughts of boys who have gone astray, who are a little bit wild, who probably smoke and drink behind the bleachers during the high school football game. The jacket copy tells us that this is a story about a boy who gets caught kissing a girl and, as a result, is banned from his polygamous community. So he has broken a rule, but he's not exactly running a drug ring or nursing an alcohol addiction. And what we see here is a boy, conservatively dressed in a plain black shirt, red hair a little tousled, but not much. The tousled hair and the set of his jaw hark back to those Lost Boy references we all know, but Bergeron stops short of putting a cigarette in his mouth. He's lost, but he's not bad. (And by bad, I mean in the "George Michael, bad boy" sense, not the "I'm the judgmental mom of a teen" sense.)

I also like the placement of the title: right across his face. He feels himself to be lost, as much as anyone might see him as lost. Maybe even more so. And it also makes the viewer wonder about this boy: Who is he? Why is he lost? And will he find his way again? We have sympathy for him, and that's not easy to achieve with just a cover image.

Finally, the arsenic green background sets it all off and makes it pop, and also lends an air of unease to the cover. This isn't the fun, adventurous kind of lost; this is the awful, heartrending, lonely kind. He might be lost, but we don't want him to stay that way.

That's all I have time for! Now it's your turn: what do you love about this cover? What did I miss? Drop your thoughts in the comments and let's continue the conversation!

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