Wednesday, September 08, 2010

YA Then and Now

Recently my co-workers were gawking at the illustrations in a young adult novel from the '40s, and we all decided that one in particular was the most young-adult-novel-y page in the history of young adult novels, here it is...

If you can't read that caption, it says: Each day it became more evident that he didn't mean to call.

But then I found out, after we were done giggling at the awesomeness of that poor girl's pained expression, and fondly looking back on those moments in our own lives, that this book was supposed to be really excellent. It's called Seventeenth Summer, it's by Maureen Daly, and it's one of my lovely co-worker Debbie's favorite teen books ever, and it's now being passed around the Kids Desk staff. It's in her original copy that the above illustration is to be found, and here's what the book looks like on the outside (we love old books around here):

Adorable, yes? Then someone said, "Wait, don't we carry that book now, seventy years later? Why, yes, we do:

Cover's changed a bit! I actually don't hate the new one at all, especially compared with the often much more odious photo-of-random-white-teens covers that come out all the time. But compared with the original, it makes for an interesting look at the old and the new of book designing. You wouldn't guess, from looking at the current cover, that the copyright date is 1942. And no, the new one doesn't have any illustrations. Too bad.



  1. I remember reading this book as a teenager-and the book was old then! But it was perfect-it really does get the whole dynamic right-that's why it's still around 70 years later and still relevant.

  2. This is terrific! I love the new cover; I love that the book is nearly 70 years old and still in print. And I totally love that illustration! When did young adult novels stop being illustrated? And why? I mean, who doesn't love opening a book and finding pictures?

  3. he didn't mean to call? the injustice!

  4. I like illustrations. Even now. I didn't read this book growing up, but now I wish I had. How exciting it is still in print. And the new cover shows it all. Summer and entwined legs, wooohoooo. It would make me want to open the cover.


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