I’m always fascinated by cover designs and its process. And as a huge supporter of diverse books, I have a special interest in their cover treatment. 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger is a book I’ve had my eye on for a long time now (it’s sitting on my shelf now, just waiting to be read!) because I love novels in verse and the synopsis intrigued me as it reminded me of the documentary It’s a Girl (super powerful and I encourage you all to check it out). Plus, the cover is so creative! If you’re just as curious as me about how the cover designer, Jen Heuer, came up with this work of art, check out the interview with Holly and Jen and enter for a chance to win a copy!
Welcome, Holly and Jen!
Interview with Jen Heuer, the cover designer for 5 TO 1
There’s really no way to explain how it feels to see your book’s cover design for the first time. Some authors jump up and down and squee. Some rage. Some cry. Some stare at the screen for hours letting drool puddle onto their laps.
When asked how I felt when I saw the cover for 5 TO 1 for the first time, I described it as feeling as though someone else had crawled inside my head and harvested the thoughts that were scattered about. The design was beyond what I could have imagined, and yet it was so perfect, I really did wonder why I hadn’t imagined it.
Since that first reveal, I have been dying to ask the cover designer, Jen Heuer, how she came up with the concept. And so, without further ado, here are my questions for Jen!
Holly: How did you first start off the cover design for this project? Did you know that you didn’t want to work with stock imagery?
Jen: This had such a unique style in writing that I felt as though a stock image would just water it down. I’d been looking for something that could both convey the human element as well as the setting and began searching for decorative elements at the New York Public Library’s image library (seriously some of the oddest people chill there all day). It dawned on me that if I want the human element to it, henna style body art would give me that chance.
Holly: Where did the idea to add the double fish come from? As the author, I’ve always assumed it came from Kiran’s poem (although I like to joke it had something to do with me being a Pisces which I doubt you even know!)
Jen: The double fish was honestly, a very, very lucky find. Once I saw that image in a collection of henna designs, I knew it was perfect for the book based on the poem Kiran gave Sudasa. Or perhaps it was the universe coming together, since I’m also Pisces, but probably just luck.
Holly: The creepy eyes really make a huge difference in making this cover look dystopian. Did you know you wanted these from the start or were they added afterwards? Was that what you were going for when you added them?
Jen: In the start, I had a cover that was just the design, on a solid colored background. It almost felt ‘cute’ rather than this sense of a dystopian society. The eyes, based on hindu paintings, had the overbearing weight that Sudan’s grandmother fills. It also gives this bright punch of color to represent the spectacle of the Tests.
About 5 to 15 to 1 by Holly Bodger
Published by Knopf on May 12th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Amazon・ Good Books・Book Depository
In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.
Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Contestant Five, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Five’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Five thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.
This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Contestant Five’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.
Random House is giving away one finished copy of 5 to 1 to a Cuddlebuggery reader. Enter below to win!
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