Cover Controversy: LIAR

There is a major controversy surrounding the release of a new book called Liar by Justine Larbalestier . The book will be released in September but the release of the cover art is causing a some bad mojo.As readers are beginning to read the ARC of LIAR they are questioning the cover look of the protagonist that is clearly NOT “black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short.” as Justine has written her character to be. Justine had a well written post on her blog about the cover controversy HERE. Accusations of white washing and racism are going around.
This subject was also addressed on Publishers Weekly HERE

This is the Austrailian cover version of the book. Which I personally like better as does the author and she states “I want this dialogue to go beyond my book. I want every publishing house to think about this.”
I know that it saddens me that publishers find it necessary to make a cover more mass market presentable. I understand that they feel that the character is a "Liar" so why would should cover look like protagonist when she lies about everything...why not her appearance. Nice try, but I am not buying into it.
After reading those posts. What do you think?


  1. I'm not buying it at all. Publishing houses feel that covers with unpretty ethnic girls are a hard sell. When you're cover browsing, especially 13 year old girls, what cover do you pick? the ugly girl or the one you want to look like. It's sad and it sucks. But the publishing house is not going to say it. It's not in their interest.

  2. I wish the authors had more of a hand in picking the cover art for their books. John Green was able to pick the girl for his cover of "Paper Towns" in which he thought best represented Margo. (In fact they actually let him pick two different covers, each representing the way people see Margo). Which I think gives readers a good insight on what the character is actually supposed to look like.

    I always connect the person on the cover, with the protagonist. For example, while reading the maximum ride series, I always pictured Max as a blond headed white girl, because the girl on the cover was a blond headed white girl. (or at least she was on the copies I found) Then, I think in the 3rd book, we find out that Max is actually half hispanic, with brown hair. I found it frustrating that I already had this image of Max burned in my imagination, only to find out that she doesn't look at all like the girl on the cover!

    As for Liar, I haven't actually read this book yet, but from a creative perspective, they could have easily published a similar cover to this one, with a girl that actually fits the description of the protagonist! And I think they would sell just as many copies! Actually, if that is their concern, they might actually sell LESS copies because of the controversy. I still want to read the book of course, because I care way more about the author's writing than I do about the publisher's opinion :P

    wow, this is way too long, sorry!

  3. No problem Kelli. Your point was well spoken and understood. This topic is very much on our minds and it is important.

  4. Should have stuck with the Australian cover. How can they think putting a white girl on their cover when the female protagonist is black is perfectly okay? Pisses me off.

  5. I think people are making a big deal out of nothing. It kinda does make sense though if shes a liar....

  6. While covers with people are ok. I think there's stills something to say about a cover with just the title. The author is supposed to create a character and everyone of us pictures them differently. Then here comes Big Brother Publisher who puts a pretty girl and superimposes the image for you.

  7. I've been following this controversy with interest and feel that they should probably have stuck with the Australian cover if they didn't feel OK with an ethnic face on the cover. It's so sad that the publishers feel this will make it harder to sell - and even sadder if it is indeed true. I do think covers are important. I pick books up if the cover is distinctive or attractive. I can sell them easier. This does not mean I don't read or sell books with bad covers and it does not mean I won't read Liar. I do think, however, that sometimes the people who pick the covers haven't actually read the book - and it shows. I do wonder if this controversy will help or hinder this particular book - I guess we'll see


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