A Real Mystery…

Cindy: I recently ran two book fairs in my middle school libraries and ran into a real-life mystery: WHY is this cover art on the paperback of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It???? Seriously. Look at this photo I took of the trilogy as displayed in the sale cases:

Which one of these things does not belong? Where is the fabulous blue cover with the striking looming moon threatening Miranda’s world as tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, and communication interruptions change everything? The cover that drew boys and girls to the hardcover when the book was first published? The cover that spawned two look alike sequel covers? This purply-pink dresser makes it seem as if the biggest problem facing Miranda is which lipstick to choose tonight.

One of my 8th grade teachers saw the cover in the book fair and debated for three days and then refused to buy it. Pfeffer’s book is popular in her classroom and in the science fiction unit we teach and she wanted another copy or two, but decided to wait to find it elsewhere. I don’t blame her. This dystopian series has been popular with both boys and girls in my middle schools but this cover does not represent the story accurately…even with Miranda’s longing for prom and driver’s license and a normal teen life amidst the major crisis she is facing.

The publisher for the hardcover and the paperback with the original looming moon cover is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the paperback with that cover appears to be available in the prominent online book vendors. So…I am kicking myself for not looking at the imprint on this book fair edition. Was it also HMH or was it a special book fair publication? The plot thickens. Do any of you book cover sleuths have any clues for me?





About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "A Real Mystery…"

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  1. thereadingzone@gmail.com' Sarah says:

    The Life as We Knew It cover is old. It’s from the Scholastic Book Clubs. I know I had a few copies five years ago in my classroom library.

  2. Thank you, Sarah. That was what I suspected. It was a Scholastic Book Fair. I don’t think I sold any of them but I did generate interest in people seeking out the original cover elsewhere. I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but…

    The hc published in 2006 and the Harcourt pb in 2008 so if your memory of five years ago is correct, this was probably the cover on a special early pb available through the book clubs as you say.–Cindy

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