Bookish Discussion · Books

Discussion: New Adult Book Covers // On objectification of the boy humans

Recently, I have fallen into the black hole of New Adult novels. Once you pick one up, you have to read more. It doesn’t matter that the story is cliche or predictable (or that the summary of a NA book is literally the entire story) something about this genre makes it so addictive. I started the Off Campus series by Elle Kennedy which inspired this random discussion.

If you have been living under a rock and don’t know what New Adult is, it is the genre of books where the characters are in their early or mid twenties, not old enough to fit into the ‘adult’ book bracket but not young enough to fit in with Twilight. The characters are more mature (though that is debatable) and the books are usually very sexy. And all the characters are apparently physically flawless. (But that is a discussion for another day.)

Today I want to talk about the book covers of New Adult books.

These are the first five that popped up when I Googled New Adult Books. Notice something similar in them all? THEY ARE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME! A well defined chest of a random dude.

If I’m being completely honest, the covers are what initially put me off this genre. I don’t want to read erotica and that’s exactly what the covers suggest. I’m sure there are several reasons why every new adult publisher that has ever existed decided to cover their books with a shirtless guy like the fact that the target audience of these books are females who, they assume, like hot boys. Covers with humans are usually harder to make perfect, because you need to ensure that there’s somewhat of a semblance between them and the characters, but here, all we see is their chest so the only judgement you can make is that this book features a well-built main character.

And there are so many things wrong with that.

a) That’s giving the message that the most important part of his personality, important enough to be on the cover of the book, is the fact that he is well built.

b) Their marketing plan is to draw people in with how hot the guys on their cover are. They are literally banking on people to be superficial!

c) New Adult books do deal with themes other than sex but the covers are such a bad representation of it!

d) It is basically objectifying the guy! Feminists protest against the objectification of females in movie posters and such, but this is doing the same thing to guys and no one has a problem with it?!

The cover is the first impression you get of a book and though you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, we do end up doing that more often than not.Though a lot of the books do feature sex as a big theme, so the covers aren’t misleading, per se, but they are suggesting that the books have no story apart from the sex. I hate that so many really good new adult books remain unread because people class them under the erotica genre because of the covers. :/


What do you think about New Adult books? Did you put off reading them because of their covers? Do you just not like the genre? Do you agree/disagree with any of my points?


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