Is There An Ugly Truth Behind The 'Liar' Cover?

Today’s Youth Advisory Board post is from Megan Reid who weighs in on the recent controversy sparked by the misleading cover chosen for the U.S. version of the dark YA novel Liar by Justine Larbalestier. As always, you can communicate directly with any member of the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board by emailing them at youthadvisoryboard at ypulse.com…or just leave a comment below.

Is There An Ugly Truth Behind The ‘Liar’ Cover?

Liar+by+Justine+LThe first time I read Liar by Justine Larbalestier, I stopped a couple of pages in, flipped to the cover, back to the passage I was reading, and then back again to the cover. The description of Micah, the book’s main character, and the pretty cover image of a light-skinned, long-haired girl didn’t match to a degree that it was distracting. (“I’ve been mistaken for a boy before….I got the nappy gene so I keep my hair cut close to my scalp.”)

I know that covers that depict characters can’t always be totally accurate to what an author writes. But the fact that publisher Bloomsbury played with the race of a main character (who is bi-racial, but clearly identifies as black…or at least not white) is a pretty serious and unnecessary change. The uncomfortable, yet totally obvious question is: Why make it at all?

Bloggers like Mitali Perkins and writers at The Brown Bookshelf think it’s a sales choice, and I agree. Since covers help sell books, clearly somebody thought that putting this girl on the cover, and not a model who resembles Larbalestier’s character, would help “Liar” be more popular. Following that argument through, this change to Micah’s race by doing what Jezebel and Perkins called “whitewashing” suggests that publishers assumed that audiences prefer not to buy books with people of color on the covers. And for many, even in “post-racial America,”…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: Q: Is there anything you have cut out of your life (or something you’d like to cut out) just because it takes up too much time? What is it? A: “School takes up a lot of time. I'm learning stuff that I can't use in real life.” –Female, 22, NY

Over the weekend, news that nude photos of several actresses, including Jennifer Lawrence, had been released thanks to a hacker set the internet ablaze. But the reactions to the photos, including this trending BuzzFeed post suggesting that readers “not [be] scandalized at all,” reflect our predictions of the end of scandal as we know it for Millennials. A group that has grown up accustomed to having digital skeletons in their closets is increasingly reacting to “scandals” from leaked photos to drunken arrests with a resounding, “Whatever.” (BuzzFeed)

Paramount is tapping into the social anonymity trend to promote the upcoming Men, Women & Children, and attract young consumersThe trailer directs viewers to Whisper, where they’re being invited to share secrets under the hashtag #MWC and the movie’s tag will be featured as the Whisper of the day. The film follows a group of teens and their parents, focusing on the ways their online lives change their offline relationships. (Mashable)

Urban Outfitter’s disappointing sales point to an “obvious loss of cultural clout” with young consumers, and could be traced back to several PR “disasters,” including tee shirts printed with offensive designs, several products that were deemed derogatory to Native Americans, and the company president’s donations to conservative Rick Santorum, all of which do not appeal to liberal minded and politically correct Millennials. The brand has also lost its fashion clout and has more competition from affordable brands like Forever 21 and H&M. (Adweek)

New research by Eventbrite claims that one in five Millennials attended a music festival in the past year, and that festivals are “one of young Americans’ favorite pastimes.” The study scanned social media conversations from the last year and found that South by Southwest was the most-discussed festival, and EDM fests made up eight of the top 25 most talked about events. Ypulse’s own bi-weekly survey found that 31% of 14-29-year-olds planned to go to a music festival in 2013. (Quartz)

Millennials have a different approach to buying food than previous generations, and they are changing the way that grocery shopping is done. These foodies are more likely to plan their shopping around a specific recipe they’re planning to cook, to buy ingredients the same day they’re preparing a meal, and look for minimally processed and locally grown food and beverages. Their preferences put pressure on big-box stores and traditional groceries who need to adapt to attract the new generation of shopper. (Washington Post)

We don’t just deliver data. Along with our bi-weekly survey result data files, we provide our Gold subscribers with a topline report that synthesizes hand-picked, illuminating data points and our insights and expertise. Interesting differences between males and females, older and younger Millennials, ethnicities, and more are highlighted, and relevant statistics are streamlined into an easily consumed, concise, visual takeaway. (Ypulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies