Digging through a box of books the other day, I came across what I thought was a new Scott Westerfeld book. “Yay!” said my brain—until I realized the title read Uglies. “Wait, what?” I thought. “This isn’t Uglies!”
The “trilogy plus one” is receiving a full redesign (in hardcover, no less) by publisher Simon Pulse, from the covers to trim size and page design. While the new jacket for Extras does pay homage to the original, the new Uglies cover with its haunting covered face bears a closer resemblance to the opening credits of the (adult) TV show Dexter than it does to the original cover. The new Pretties cover reminds me of another grown-up show, Nip/Tuck, making me wonder if the makeovers are an attempt to market the books to an older audience. Though the new covers don’t appeal to me personally, I’ve seen plenty of positive buzz about them online from adult bloggers.
I feel these remakes lack the pizzazz of the original books: their smaller size, mysterious teenaged faces, and eye-catching spines. And while the images on the new covers are startling (as is the use of sterile white), they just don’t do justice to the uniqueness of Westerfeld’s dystopian world. Ironically, the new versions look like New Pretty Town–style extreme makeovers of the originals—sexed-up and stripped down. I’m the first to admit I can be averse to change, but in this case, change seems unnecessary and a little compromising. What do you think?