I will judge a book by its cover and I will not be made ashamed thank you very much. As much as we all love a good rant, here I will talk about book covers that I think are particularly good and why they’re good. As with almost everything on this blog there will be a good deal of spoilers in these posts as good covers will always tell us something about the book they’re advertising. In the end, covers are advertising and if you don’t have a good cover it’ll be harder, but not impossible, to sell people on your book. Alright let’s get to it.

This week we will be talking about Ramona Blue (my review’s here)!

I want to be upfront this book has bimisia and amisia so be aware of that and take care. This book meant a lot to me because of the representation. I don’t think it’s a perfect book (every book has flaws and this had many); I think it’s a book with good aspects. Here’s a review that addresses some of the problematic aspects of the book written by Romie on Goodreads.

All content aside, I was to talk about why this book cover is absolutely magnificent and why I love it so much. Not only is it executed in my favorite medium (computer illustrated), but it appropriately fits the title and the book, if you know anything about it.

The main element on this cover is the girl sitting at the bottom of the pool. That tells us the main character is a swimmer. But those who have read the book know Ramona isn’t just a swimmer. She lives and breathes in the water. The only times we see Ramona do something for herself is when she swims in the mornings. It’s something that she loves doing and something she’s grown up with, and ultimately, it’s what helps her grow and stretch herself. Originally she rejects it as something that can’t help her, she writes it off as something that just helps her get through the day and cope with the stress. But through swimming, she learns to support her family while simultaneously learning to live for herself.

Which leads me to the second element, of course, the water. The illustrator of this cover could have chosen Ramona to be in the water in any number of different ways. She could have been floating face up surrounded by the ocean, as we know the ocean is special to Ramona; she could have been facing down in the water, like Lydia in Everything I Never Told You; Ramona could have been treading water or swimming. But the illustrator drew Ramona sitting on the bottom of the pool completely submerged and had the water occupies the majority of the book’s cover.

The water represents the way Ramona is holding herself back from truly living her own life. When you sit cross-legged on the bottom of the pool, it doesn’t matter if it’s 3 feet or 12, you have to expel all the water from your lungs and sink to the bottom of the pool. When I did this when I was a kid sometimes I had to use my arms just to get to the bottom of the pool. Ramona is slowly drowning under all the commitments she has and all the responsibility she’s placed on her shoulders. She’s charged herself with taking care of her sister, working two jobs, not to mention going to school. She feels an obligation to her sister, to help her and be there for her, but in a way, it’s just a way for her to stay comfortable and not take the risk of leaving her family and going to college. This is all represented by the water and only when she stops holding her breath and prioritize herself and her future does she learn to swim.