Girls Missing From Book Covers

I wanted to post this sooner, but the past few weeks I’ve had connection trouble so it hasn’t worked out. My connection is back to working fine again and so now I want to write this post I’ve been thinking of for the past few weeks.

About two weeks ago I read this post: Anne of Green Gables gets a blonde makeover

It is on the blog Reel Girl, which is a really great blog that I read often. The blogger has a few posts from a few weeks about new book covers of classic books, such as Anne of Green Gables. I first read the book about three years ago, but I’ve loved Anne since I was a child, thanks to the miniseries and that starred Megan Follows as Anne.

Anne has red hair and it is an important thing. Whether you’ve read the book, or only seen the miniseries, you will know this. But if you look at the link posted above, you’ll see the new book cover for Anne of Green Gables. There is a girl on the cover, but that is definitely not Anne! How could they do that to such a wonderful book?

And the more I’ve thought about book covers since the reading that blog post, I’ve noticed something else as well.

Three of my favorite authors are Lois Duncan, Joan Lowery Nixon and Diana Wynne Jones. All three authors have been around for quite a while and that being the case, their books over the years have been republished with new covers. Some of Diana Wynne Jones’s rarer books have been republished since her passing in 2011. Lois Duncan made a deal with a publishing company a few years ago and they been releasing her older teen suspense novels that are updated and have new covers. And since Joan Lowery Nixon’s passing in 2003, some of her books have new covers as well. There is one thing in common I’ve found with some of these new covers compared to the old ones: the covers once had girls on them, but no longer, or the faces are sort of blurred, which is the case with Joan Lowery Nixon’s newer book covers.

I will show some examples.

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones has recently been republished after being out of print for a number of years. These are some older covers of the book:


And this is the new cover, released in 2012:


The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore by Joan Lowery Nixon. It was first published in 1980 and its newest cover was released in 2004, I believe.

An old cover of the book:

The new cover:


Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan. It was originally published in 1974 and it’s most recently been republished in 2011.

Old covers:


New covers:


Those are just a few examples. You’ll see with Joan Lowery Nixon’s one book, there is a girl on the cover, but it’s blurred and you can’t see her face. With Lois Duncan’s, on the newest cover of Down a Dark Hall, there is only a shadow of a girl. The newest cover for Fire and Hemlock shows no girl at all.

Maybe for Lois Duncan and Joan Lowery Nixon the publishing companies thought the new covers are more suspenseful, And as for the new Fire and Hemlock cover, I don’t know what the publishing company was trying to go for. Maybe they were hoping it would appeal to all readers of fantasy if done in that style. But I prefer the old covers.

I’ve noticed this happening to covers of my some of my favorite authors, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is happening to other authors whose book covers originally featured girls.

So, girls are either going missing on book covers that they were originally featured, being blurred or only showing a shadow. Or you have book covers with girls on it like Anne of Green Gables and can clearly see that girl on the cover is not Anne.

It’s kind to see this happening to classics and books by some really great authors who create strong female characters.


2 responses to “Girls Missing From Book Covers

  1. I prefer the old covers, too.
    I think when most people are “attracted” to a book initially, it’s because of the cover. I love strong girl/women characters and like to see them on the cover.
    But, I think the person on the cover should match their description in the book. 🙂 I’ve read some books where a character was dark haired, with dark eyes, and on the cover they are portrayed wrong…wrong hair color, etc. Ha. I don’t like that. 🙂
    Good post!!!
    HUGS!!! 🙂


  2. Interesting point about females disappearing from covers. I think it’s down to publishers trying to ensure their titles will appeal to a broad market and draw in some more male readers when the titles are republished. But it’s unforgivable when they misrepresent the appearance of the main character. Perhaps controversially, they think a redhead will put readers off?!

    The reverse process hit the news recently. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar was republished, not with the usual abstract cover (spiral or, literally, a bell jar) but with a slightly sexy picture of a young woman applying make-up (


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