Earlier this year Betsy Bird (A Fuse #8 Production) published a post about works of historical fiction with covers that imply a modern setting in the name of shelf appeal. In the post, Bird mentions the most infamous example in recent memory, that of The Romeo and Juliet Code. The book caused a fair share of controversy in the blogosphere due to its anachronistic cover. The smoking gun? A pair of colored Chucks, which, although stylish, were not produced until a good twenty years after the novel is set.
Fast-forward to the present day.
The scene: dusk, a dwelling in a Midwestern university town.
A librarian settles down with an e-galley of the latest Cristina García book for young adults, Dreams of Significant Girls.* A story about unexpected friendships at a posh summer camp in 1970s Switzerland, she thinks as the file loads. This has potential! Then her eyes widen as she sees the cover up close for the first time. Are those…skinny jeans?
Outside of repeated viewings of Mary Tyler Moore I don’t know know a great deal about 1970s fashion so please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think skinny jeans, long untucked shirts, and hoodies were popular in the early 1970s. But if you tell me that these girls are so rich that they are that on trend, thirty-some years early, I’ll believe you.
Oh, I kid. So what if a marketing person took a tasteful stock photo and passed it off as historical? (At least these girls get to keep their heads, unlike the much-maligned Sarah Dessen and Maureen Johnson heroines.) It’s a pretty, eye catching cover and I think it’ll encourage people to pluck it off the shelves. And, since I’m really enjoying the book so far, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Anachronism for good? I vote yes.
* Forthcoming July 2011, thanks Simon & Schuster Galley Grab!