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,”…

 
 

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


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My favorite online celebrity is Jenna Marbles because she is hilarious and weird. I like how honest she is.”

— Female, 22, CA

Millennials are looking for multicultural products. According to a new Harris poll, over eight in ten 18-34-year-olds say they love exposure to different cultures, and about 32% say that purchasing and consuming foods with “multicultural flavors” is very important, compared to 27% of 35-44-year-olds and 45-54-year-olds. Almost half of Millennials also say they’re willing to spend more on brands that understand multicultural needs, and 65% agree they’re more likely to shop with a retailer that offers a wide selection of multicultural products.
(Drug Store News

National Geographic Kids is joining the chatbot revolution with a T-Rex bot. Tina the T-Rex is one of the latest bots to join Facebook Messenger, and was created to answer kids’ questions about dinosaurs. Tina’s ultimate goal is to sell subscriptions—she prompts users to sign up for the magazine at the end of conversations—and to let the brand get “into the mindset of its readers,” to form more personal relationships. Since Facebook accounts are limited to 13-year-old and older, National Geographic Kids hopes that, like their magazine, parents will use the bot along with their kids. (Digiday

Universal has discovered the “magic formula” to bring in Millennial dollars. According to a Foursquare analysis of foot traffic to theme parks, market share for Universal’s parks increased from 11% to 15-16% between 2014 to 2016, and almost half of the visitors during that time were 18-34-year-olds. Wizards and zombies are reportedly drawing in Millennials: Universal’s 2014 launch of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter spurred a 25% increase in visits mostly from Millennials for several weeks, and a recently opened Walking Dead attraction bought in 35% more Millennials than usual. (Skift

Brands who have jumped into VR may be making a very smart investment. A new survey from Greenlight VR reveals that over half of adult consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that uses VR over a brand that doesn’t, most likely because 71% believe brands that use the technology seem more "forward-thinking and modern." Even consumers who have yet to try VR “had good things to say about the technology:” over nine in ten report “positive feelings” after watching an informational video on VR, 65% say they are interested in trying it, and 32% are surprised with its capabilities. (Adweek

GoldieBlox is continuing to go digital to spread the fundamentals of coding to kids. The educational brand “best known for its line of engineering toys aimed at young girls,” has launched their first paid app, GoldieBlox: Adventures in Coding. The puzzle-centric game follows Goldie, a young engineer delivering cupcakes, and asks players to “execute a sequence of commands,” to get her from one destination to another. The company has begun splitting their product development efforts between physical and digital, because “kids are spending increasingly more time playing on devices.” (TechCrunch

Quote of the Day: “You want me to list every concert I’ve been to in the past year? Are you nuts? I've been to like 30 so far this year.”

—Male, 29, NY

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