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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

American Cover Reveal: Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Consider, if you will, the strange relationship that exists between a book jacket created in America vs. a book jacket created in the United Kingdom. Both are appealing to an audience that speaks primarily English.  But the perception of what will sell/appeal in one country can vary widely from that of another.  Over the years I’ve seen a whole host of British covers translated (so to speak) for Americans, and American covers translated for the British.  Today we’re going to look at a couple of these and then I shall reveal a new book jacket that makes me inordinately, enormously happy.

First, we will consider the most popular books and how they’ve fared.  For example, there was Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

American Cover

British Adult Cover

Then there are authors like Laura Amy Schlitz who have done very well on both sides of the pond with her covers.

American Cover

British Cover

American Cover

British Cover

Harry Potter is a series with book jackets that experience quite a lot of scrutiny.  Recently the books got new American and British jackets.  Which do you prefer?

American Cover

British Cover

And today, ladies and gentlemen, it is my greatest pleasure to announce that I am allowed to reveal the American cover for the Frances Hardinge fantasy novel Cuckoo Song.  I recently finished the book and it is everything I ever wanted in a new Hardinge novel.  Released as a children’s book in the UK, it will come out here in the States as YA.  With that in mind, it is a perfect companion to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone as well as the works of Holly Black, Laura Amy Schlitz, and others.  Indeed I kept thinking of Splendors and Glooms as I read this book.

So here we go.  In the spirit of this post, here is the British cover:

And here is the American:

If that isn’t the finest creepiest book jacket you ever did see I’ll eat my proverbial hat.

Many thanks to Abrams for the jacket reveal!


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Cuckoo Song is genuinely creepy. It’s fascinating, and typically beautifully written. I am so happy it will be published in the U.S. What about A Face Like Glass?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I’m reading that right now. My suspicion is that if Cuckoo Song does well they’ll move on to A Face Like Glass, but that’s just me speculating.

  2. Yikes. Thank goodness I already read Cuckoo’s Song as an ebook because…that cover… I cannot stomach creepy broken dolls due to the posters for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane giving me nightmares as a kid.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Yep. I was debating buying it for my children’s section, even though Abrams lists it as YA, but I don’t think I’ll be able to with that cover. We’re in clear teen territory there. Ah well. It’s pretty dang awesome looking.

  3. Kiera Parrott says

    I just finished Cuckoo Song–fantastic! But…that cover. It’s not that I don’t like it. For kids who like horror and thrillers (I was that kid), it will pull them in for sure. But for kids who like fantasy (and I’d argue that this book leans more toward fantasy, albeit creepy/slightly scary fantasy, than it does typical horror), they may not pick it up. And that’s a shame. Because the world-building and construction of the Underbelly and various magical aspects are so well done. And it’s definitely middle grade! Certainly tons of teens will want to and should read it, but it’s middle grade in the same way Coraline and The Night Gardener are middle grade. If I’m remembering correctly, the protagonist is 11, right? In that case, the cover model for the UK edition looks a bit too old. Bah! Despite the odd cover choice, it’s one of my recent favorite reads.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I thought the same thing about the UK cover. She looks like she’s 17 there, when clearly she’s still a kid. Reading the book I tried to pick up on anything that could be overtly YA. Aside from the writing, which is stellar and beautiful, the only mature thing about it is the brief reference to the baby changeling. And even that’s pretty tame. Would love to have been a fly on a wall when they decided over here to make it teen.

  4. Face Like Glass is wonderful. Love Cuckoo Song cover and just finished ARC. This author never disappoints. Love her stand alone books.

  5. yeah, unless I can get Cuckoos Song in the UK edition, no way I’m reading that. I was excited, I love Taylor, Black, and Schlitz – but unless I take that cover off, no way I can read that!

  6. Holly Black did a wonderful presentation about creepy dolls at my school for Doll Bones . She will need to update her slide show with this one. I’m looking forward to this and anything else Hardinge writes.

  7. Jonathan Hunt says

    I’m so glad to hear that Abrams is bringing Hardinge back to American audiences. I would strongly encourage people to buy this title for both J and YA sections of their libraries. Hardinge’s previous four books (well, previous to A FACE LIKE GLASS) were released here as J, and although they got great reviews (each book got 3-5 starred reviews and THE LOST CONSPIRACY was shortlisted for the LA Times Book Prize), they didn’t sell well enough to keep her under contract. I suspect that re-launching her as “YA” may simply be an attempt to help her find her audience here in America. I would strongly encourage you to buy her books for your libraries, cover notwithstanding, so that we can keep her in print over here.

  8. I liked the American version of Harry Potter better. The doll doesn’t scare me but it is creepy! I like that one better. Can’t wait to read it. I am loving the Night Gardener right now.