Joyce Maynard’s just-released novel, Labor Day, is drawing kudos from all over. In her review for BookPage, Deborah Donovan calls it “a marvelous read” and she notes, as several other reviewers have, that the book is “perfect for one long sitting.” In other words, something about the story is so mesmerizing, so deeply engaging, that you won’t want to put it down.
Set in the 1980s, Maynard’s novel is part coming-of-age, part love story, part page-turner. The story unfolds over one long weekend as a divorced mother and her 13-year-old son head out for what should be a routine trip to the store and meet a mysterious stranger who will transform both their lives. In an interview with Kirkus, Maynard says, “The story I tell in Labor Day is painful, but it’s hopeful too. And I’m a hopeful person.”
The book’s hopeful quality is beautifully captured in a stunning cover design that pictures a lush end-of-summer scene viewed through a damp window. Outlined on the surface of the glossy window is the shape of a heart, as if someone had traced it there with a fingertip. Trails of condensation drip down from the heart on the window pane, making the image seem at once both lovely and poignant.
The cover was designed by Mary Schuck, VP/Creative Art Director for HarperCollins, who tells us via email, “This was an important book for us, so we went through many ideas and covers to come up with this. Not to give anything away, but the heart drawn inside a steamy hot summer room seemed like a good way to get at least part of the storyline across.” Visual relief was added by using a gloss finish on the window pane, and a matte finish on the heart. “I wanted the pane of glass and water to shine and the drawn heart to look removed by human hands, so that’s why we went with the spot matte on top of gloss,” Schuck explains. When we received a copy of the finished book at our office a few days ago, I found the effect eye-catching, and as I suspect many others will, I was drawn to trace the shape of the heart with my own finger on the surface of the cover. As for the author herself, Schuck says, “Joyce loved it. She thought it was a nice surprise.”
Enter to win a copy of Labor Day by leaving a comment about a book cover that you love (or loathe) by Tuesday, August 4. If you win, you’ll not only be able see this very special book cover for yourself, you’ll have the perfect novel to read when Labor Day weekend rolls around.