Monday, September 08, 2008

The Devouring

Well, it's officially Fall--okay, it's NOT officially Fall, we still have over a week of summer, but in the world of publishing, Fall starts on September 1st. And with Fall comes a new slew of books being published, and of course I'd like to talk about some of them on this blog.

I'll start with one I've mentioned before: The Devouring by Simon Holt. This book is a bit of a departure from the other books I've edited. Rather than being literary fiction, this one is more commercial fiction--which is not to say it's not well written, because it is. But it's definitely more plot driven than the books I normally acquire. The Devouring is young adult girl-oriented horror. It's gross, it's scary, it's fun. It's a popcorn flick. It remind me of some of the books I loved as a kid--Stephen King, Christopher Pike, Lois Duncan. It's Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Exorcist meets Scream. Get the picture?

The plot: Teen-aged Regina (Reggie) loves all things horror. She even works at a horror/mystery bookstore. One day, while sorting through a new shipment of books, she finds what appears to be a journal. She takes it home to read it, and discovers that it's about demonic creatures called the Vours who feed on people's fears, and on Sorry Night, the longest night of the year (the night before the Winter Solstice), they are able to devour people's fears, inhabit their bodies, and banish their souls into an alternate world called a fearscape where they are doomed to live with their greatest fears. Reggie isn't sure if the journal is fiction or real, or just the ravings of a lunatic, but when her younger brother Henry starts acting weird, she starts to realize that there may be some truth to the journal.

If you like horror, check out The Devouring--but you might want to avoid reading it around Sorry Night!

The Devouring just pubbed on September 1st, and has already gotten two great reviews. Kirkus called it, "A scary yarn spun at breakneck speed, perfect for those chilly winter nights."

And as a side note, I was shocked to see the cover of the UK edition. Check it out (beware: it's pretty gross! I could barely look at it):

Okay, and now let's look at the U.S. cover again:
Can you believe this is the same book?! And what's more shocking is that the UK publisher chose to tone down the horror elements in their edition. And yet they're using a cover that screams HORROR! So interesting. I'll be curious to see which edition is more popular.

There's a great website for the Devouring at www.theDevouring.com. Vote for your fear! Mine was "Real World Terror" which is currently winning by a landslide. 

There are at least two more books in this series, the next one coming out next Fall. And last but not least, props go out to my assistant Connie who was the lead editor on this book. She did a fantastic job. 

18 comments:

d-michiko-f said...

OMG! I'm so glad the US cover is NOT the UK cover. I would have never picked up the ARC. As is the story freaked me out (in a good way)! Looking forward to the next in the series! :) Congrats, Alvina! (Hi to Connie whom I met at Rutgers last year!) -debbi

Libby Koponen said...

Interesting post! The difference in covers in the two countries is surprising to me. I've heard that English publishers have really different rules/standards than American ones, is this true, do you know?

Meghan said...

Huh. That's funny. I love the UK cover--would pick it up in a minute. Not so sure about the US one though... seems a bit boring and not at all horror-like. It looks like your standard American teen cover.

christine tripp said...

The Brits have always been more frank, more in your face and more honest then the rest of us. American's constantly copy them, IE: All in the family and Three's company etc but with a much more "carefull" attitude:)
Even Harry Potter book covers are different, from the original UK publisher, US publisher and CA publisher.
Watching the BBC is veeeeery different from what is shown on the US networks... the cover then makes sense. I think their cover version will sell better then the photo of a girls face to tell you the truth (only in my opinion of course)

christine tripp said...

I read the post again and it's so interesting to hear the UK pub "toned down" the text? So strange, as they have broadcast, say nudity, on their prime time television for what, 30 years, yet curb horror in books? Go figure.

alvina said...

I know, it's odd...we grappled with whether or not to put a true horror cover on our edition, and in the end, this is the cover that won out--I think it's beautiful, but I do agree that it doesn't necessarily scream "horror"--and also might scare the boy readers off, which would be a shame. But as horror books go, I wouldn't necessarily say that the content is particularly shocking, so it's interesting that they toned down that aspect of the book for their market.

Anonymous said...

Alvina,

I see another of your books is reviewed today by Fuse #8. I love the cover of Wabi Sabi-and the story of the lost artwork. Where, oh where can one see more images from the book?

I find it very interesting that some of the most talented illustrators do not have websites. Chris Raschka, David Wiesner, Ed Young, etc.

Katherine

Meghan said...

Alvina, is this book for boys too? I hate to say it but I can't see even one boy picking the purple cover version up. It is a very nice cover but if I didn't read the description I"d think it was some sort of love story--one of those involved, eat at your soul love stories. Boys are out on this one. The red cover, though... boys will dig that.

alvina said...

I think boys will like the book, but it's really aimed at girls (the main character is a girl). We originally tried to have a cover that would appeal to both, but we were finding that the results just seemed generic and watered down. But it wasn't an easy decision at all! We were also trying for more of a horror cover, but we didn't want something that would turn OFF the girl audience, either. Covers are so hard! We figured the boys could just take off the jacket if they read it. There's a foil spider on the spine!

Katherine, I just found out that Ed Young is building a website: http://edyoungart.com/

It's not updated/completed yet, and there are no images on it from WABI SABI, but I promise to post some interior images in the next few weeks. There's a long story to tell about this book...

Susan Sandmore said...

That UK cover looks kind of Hi-Lo, like they were going after whatever would grab the most readers (had they just gone to a Bodies exhibit?).

Heather said...

American cover intrigues me. Does it misrepresent the content? With the UK cover, which freaks me out, you get a glimpse of what you may be in for. my children are younger so was not aware this genre existed. I am happy my house is still in cute puppy mode. Although I would probably enjoy the read myself and to see how horror is approached at the teen level of reading.

Anonymous said...

You know what it is - the purple smoke (?) looks like flowers to me... and the girl is almost smiling. She doesn't look scared or sad or anything like that.

It will be interesting to see sales and compare readership if possible between the UK and US covers. I will say that the UK cover will definitely turn of squeamish girly-girls... but those aren't the type to read horror anyway, are they?

meghan

christine tripp said...

It's probably wrong to judge the cover if I haven't read the book (though often covers for YA are interchangeable with each other, just a different model, same look/pose) but I DID finally see something that I hadn't noticed before... there's a skull in the purple smoke. Cool but I still feel like the model should have perhaps looked more pale (or even white/blue) implying still walking but no soul, and less happy. Of course, that opinion could all change depending on the story line. Perhaps there is a reason for her being somewhat amused by her situation.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see the skull! That's funny.

Aside from me picking on it -- as in fitting the horror story, etc., it is a nice cover visually. I don't want to be too harsh on Alvina's baby!

Anonymous said...

that's me that said that - meghan (too lazy to sign in)

Anonymous said...

WHO said that. I just woke up. - meghan

alvina said...

It's funny the different impressions people have--I always saw this girl as looking distressed--like something horrible has happened to her. But she's also the tough one who is fighting evil, and there is definitely humor in the book, so...

(And I'm so glad you saw the face in the smoke! That was a last-minute addition to add more of a horror element, and I think it's really cool)

At any rate, don't worry about being too harsh, because we've been over and over and around and around regarding this cover in-house. I just love it, though(designed by Alison Imppey, btw). There really is no way to please everyone and attract everyone. That's always the challenge.

Maybe Debbi or others who have read the book can comment on whether they felt the cover was misleading or not? I think even if the image doesn't say "horror", if you look at the tagline, title, excerpt on the back, and jacket copy, you know what you're getting yourself into.

christine tripp said...

Alison Impey? I love Alison, she was one of the few AD's that would always reply to my promo submissions and ask for more, not that anything came of it but it was encouraging non the less and kept me going when I was ready to quit!:)
If you think of it, please say hi to her for me Alvina!