Lately, I’ve noticed a mini-trend of m/m centered YA with illustrated character covers.
The ones that initially caught my eyes were these 2018 – 2019 m/m books that feature intricately drawn, expressive cartoon characters on the covers. Each of these covers could easily be for a graphic novel or a still from an animated series.
Then there are these m/m book covers which also feature detailed cartoon characters but are more artistic or ambiguous.
And then there are also these m/m illustrated covers, but these go with graphic novels.
Now there is some recent f/f that has illustrated characters on the covers but I’ve noticed the faces of female characters in f/f are either hidden or just gone altogether. We don’t get the same amount of expressive facial features from these illustrations.
Although I did find one exception:
I have some theories as to why there have been so many illustrated people on m/m covers. At first, I thought it was maybe going off the success of the m/m anime Yuri on Ice or because of the rising popularity of illustrated covers in general, but Jess pointed out that it may have to do with publishers not wanting to put photos of same-sex couples on books.
You hardly see a same-sex YA couples getting the Kasie Westor Katie McGarry treatment. The only three YA books that we could come up with that had an explicitly same-sex couple on the cover were 2017’s Our Own Private Universe2016’s No Holding Backby Kate Evangelista and 2013’s Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.
Have you noticed any illustrated covers with same-sex couples? Why do you think they are becoming so popular? Let us know in the comments below !
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.