The Break-Up Artist: how covers tie into the book


Like any author, I was equal parts excited and nervous to see my cover. I had no idea what to expect. It had to be better than what I could come up with on my own, since my art skills started and ended with stick figures. (My stick figure heads always came out oval.) I filled out a sheet months before which asked for character descriptions, themes, major plot points. And I just had to hope that the art team would take all that info and pop out a gorgeous cover.

And they did. Did they ever!

Now, when most people saw this cover, they immediately thought of JUNO, which makes sense. There is a definite Juno vibe, especially when you think about the opening sequence of the film.

But really, what the art department used as creative inspiration was the poster for the 2009 film Away We Go (directed by Sam Mendes, who directed one of my favorite films American Beauty). I’ve always been a fan of colorful, real-people-against-illustrated-background covers, and luckily, they were on the same page.

The big difference was that they switched the color palette from the muted greens and blues to brighter reds and oranges. The latter better reflects the lighter tone of the book, and they figured teens would respond better to the brighter palette. Overall, I adore the cover. I love the warm, almost retro-y vibe. What I’m most fond of are the tiny details throughout the design. Each time I looked at the cover, I found something new.

Some details you may have missed, or that you have been scratching your head over, on first glance:

the break-up artist cover post shirt

Look a little closer at the girl’s shirt and you’ll see it’s dotted with breaking hearts. I think that’s an appropriate wardrobe choice for a Break-Up Artist.

the break-up artist cover racoon

Part of Becca’s Break-Up Artist disguise is wearing this raccoon mask. Every great superhero has to protect his or her identity. When talking to her clients via webcam, our girls’ gotta go incognito. Of course she doesn’t wear this in public, because that’d be the opposite of incognito. (Outcognito?)

the break-up artist lipstick pizza

These may seem random, but both are essential components to Becca’s main break-up scheme. It’s the little things that make a big difference.

the break-up artists cover break

Do you see what it spells? “Break.” Seriously kids, don’t graffiti your school. Fun fact: the singular of graffiti is graffito. I learned that nugget from an episode of Felicity.

the break-up artists cover hyphen

Even the hyphen for the Break-Up Artist can’t stay together!

phillip siegelPhilip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, which he insists is much nicer than certain TV shows would have you believe. He graduated from Northwestern University and promptly moved out to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC Page. He likes to think that the character of Kenneth on 30 Rock is loosely based on his life rights. Currently, he lives in Chicago and does his best writing sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El.

His novel, The Break-Up Artist, comes out from HarlequinTeen in April – and yes, the artist did pay attention to the details of the book. Learn more on his website or follow him on Twitter.

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