Saturday, January 13, 2018

Judging By The Covers: Just As Long As We're Together

The other day I suddenly had the question: Why do some books have different covers? I realized that sometimes the publishers have to update a book's cover because the book has been around a while and the original cover looks dated. But what other reasons? I mean, why mess with a good thing?

So I Googled my question, and the answer hit me like the big fat "duh" that it was....

The reason publishers change up the covers is: To appeal to as many people as possible and to sell more copies of the book. 

Ah! Money! Of course!

So I thought I'd do a few posts where I talk about some of my favorite books/series... and their covers. Cuz it's a long weekend, and why not?

I decided to start with Judy Blume's 1987 novel Just As Long As We're Together. This was my favorite book for a long time. (I still like it, but I'm not sure I have a singular favorite book anymore.)

Just As Long As We're Together is the story of Stephanie Hirsch, a 12-year-old girl who has been best friends with a girl named Rachel for several years. The summer before seventh grade, Stephanie's family moves to a new neighborhood, which happens to be right near Rachel. A new girl named Alison moves into that neighborhood just before school starts. Alison is friendly and fun, and Stephanie takes to her right away. The three girls begin seventh grade, attempting to all be "best friends." But the issues going on in their family lives start to creep into the picture, making things difficult. The novel covers about 2/3 of their seventh grade year, with all its ups, downs, bumps, bruises, and preteen awkwardness and humor.

The first time I read JALAWT, in middle school, I read the hardcover version, which looked like this:

The picture on this cover is a scene described in the book -- the girls are posing for a photo with Alison's dog and Rachel's two cats. The purple frame is also mentioned in the book. I guess their 80s clothes and hairstyles are a bit dated, now, but I still really like this cover. Whenever I re-read the book, that Alison (left) is the Alison I picture.
This was one of the early paperback versions. This illustration also depicts a scene from the book -- when the girls are exchanging Christmas gifts and singing the titular song. Rachel's hairstyle is a bit outdated, but I don't think that detracts much from the overall picture.

Ummm... I found this on Google, and it frightens me. I don't recall any bike-riding in the book. I'm assuming the middle one is Steph because her hair is shorter than the other girls'. The girl on the right (Rachel?) seems to be set forward a bit, so maybe she is indeed the tallest (as she should be). They kind of look like they're embarking on an adventure in the woods or something. I'm not a big fan of this cover.

Simple. I can't fault simple. And purple was Stephanie's favorite color.

These are cute, but I don't love them.

I think this version might be from the UK or something. I don't really care for it, although one could argue Steph being sad/depressed was a big part of the book. Still... I want happier covers, please!

Well, this one's happy, anyway. I just want to know who is who. Sure, Alison is the one on the right, but which one is Stephanie and which is Rachel? I can't tell who's taller, and neither has curly hair. This bothers me more than it probably ought.


This is killing me. Okay. We have a bunch objects from the book, I see. Stephanie liked to talk on the phone, she had braces, she used apple shampoo, and the girls did play cards. Plain donuts are eaten, but not frosted ones. Paint is mentioned toward the beginning of the book, as Stephanie's room has just been painted. The scales and the pink & blue object in the upper right corner are baffling me, though. What IS that pink & blue thing?* And the turkey!! I mean, I guess that some major stuff happened circa Thanksgiving in the book, but wtf, that turkey looks ridiculous. Go away.

*I just figured it out. It's the lightning-bolt earring Stephanie's mother wears at one point. An earring. On an ear. That... is not cool.

This is the cover of the book that I owned as a teen; I got it for one of my birthdays. I think this is a pretty good cover. Although Alison doesn't look quite right to me, Stephanie is perfect. This is how I picture Stephanie. When I picture Rachel I either picture this one or the girl on the yellow cover, above.

Bwahaha. Okay, first of all, THE HAIR! Stephanie and Rachel are still a little ambiguous (which is which?), but they gave the girl on the right the locket, so I guess that's supposed to be Stephanie. Alison looks like she's been smoking something and could care less about who's who. Meanwhile, a miniature Maisie dog and Jeremy Dragon jacket look on. This cover is so crazy, it's almost awesome.

This is a really pretty cover (I love that blue) but... do cupcakes have anything to do with the book? I don't believe so. Sadie Wishnik's brownies, yes, please!

Again with the who-the-heck-is-who? Also, the skirts bother me, because I can't picture the girls wearing skirts too often, except maybe to go to the school dance or somewhere fancy. Not to wander through a field. Also, they're all the same height, here. No, no, no. Alison is supposed to be very short and Rachel taller than average. I can not accept this.

"Wheee! We're having fun! Which one of us is which? We don't know and we don't care! Why are we ALL at the beach? That never happened in the book! Oh well! Resume cavorting!"

Annnnyway. So those are all the covers I could find. In the end I think this one is my favorite...
Although I really like the hardcover version, this one just has more pizzazz. It manages to give the three girls their distinguishing features while also depicting a scene from the book. It's cute and I like it.

Which cover would entice you to pick up this book? 

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