Monday, February 10, 2014

Does That Book Really Need a Tagline?


Hokay! My three new exciting books...

1. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
The first one is such a fun take on the dystopian and Rossi just gets better.

2. 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket
This little picture book reminds me of being young and picking one building to shove all of my mystery and curiosity on. That one building that you know nothing about but is probably unremarkable. That building where weird things must happen. Wait...did I say when I was young?

3. Seven Wild Sisters by Charles De Lint
I'm pretty much a sucker for anything with fairies. Or anything that says 'Modern Fairy Tale.'

I have distinct memories of standing in the book aisle of Giant Eagle (it's a grocery store, I'm from Ohio) with my friend reading taglines from romance novels out loud in terribly overdramatic voices. I mean, really, they're just begging for it. It's not so much romance novels that I feel any need to mock, it's taglines.

Generally speaking, I really dislike taglines on books. A good tagline is a rare commodity and usually I think a book would be better off without one. I'd like to think that there's some profound marketing reason for a tagline that I know nothing about. But if that is the case why don't more "literary fiction" books have taglines? For the most part they seem to reserved for YA and romance novels but not all of either of these books have taglines either (note: I am sitting at the info desk and have just spotted a bargain book with the tagline: "Every family has secrets. Every murder has a motive" (Lackberg's The Lost Boy) so maybe I should check out mystery books for taglines as well. I'm willing to bet there are some good ones).

So, perhaps it's just the decision of someone or another who has a deep unabiding love for taglines. To each there own.

But I thought I would share with you some YA section taglines. Some are really terrible. Some are okay...ish. Others are bordering on decent. I've read some of these books and haven't others.

"Bound Together. Worlds Apart."
"Free From Bonds. But Not Each Other."

-Unspoken and Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Initial reaction to tagline: Wait...what? Worlds? Space? What?

I really love these books. Love them. The taglines are terrible.

"Something Dark and Evil Has Awakened."
-Diviners by Libba Bray

Initial reaction: Delightfully terrible b-movie horror.

This one isn't as bad but it does make me think of a movie trailer. Alternately, the UK edition says: "Bright Lights are Hiding Dark Secrets" which I like more. This is another book that I really love and it makes sense for the book but I don't think it does the creepiness justice.


"Her Mission Was To Kill Him. Her Destiny Was To Love Him."
-Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Initial Reaction: Bad High Fantasy Assassin Love Triangle.

Admittedly, I haven't read this one yet but I am a sucker for retellings (this one is Beauty and the Beast) and Clarissa really liked it so I imagine I'll read it sooner rather than later.


"The End is Only the Beginning."
-Kill Order by James Dashner

Initial Reaction: Dystopian revenge story (also Smashing Pumpkins).

I will say this, this is a good tagline for a prequel. But I also sort of hear this deep booming voice and a battle-torn kid holding a knife and vowing to overturn the system.


"How far would you go to Cross it?"
The Line by Terri Hall

Initial Reaction: Hidden walled sanctuary. Crossing it (with a capital 'C' no less) is strictly forbidden.

The tagline is a little over dramatic and just so obvious. But I want still want to read it because it's supposed to be awesome.


"In the darkest places, even love is deadly."
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Initial Reaction: Honestly, this one intrigues me. Though it does sound a little more romance based than I might prefer.

It's not a bad tagline but it does make it sound like there's going to be a really dramatic forbidden romance.


"Can You Know the Truth if Your Mind Has Been Wiped?"
-Slated by Teri Terry

Initial Reaction: ...probably not?

I find it really interesting that I've seen a different one for this one that says "...if Your Memory Has Been Erased?" instead. Oddly I find the first one more high tech sounding and it makes me lean toward a sci-fi sort of feel. The second seems to leave it more vague.


"The Weather Finally Broke...For Good."
-Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Initial Reaction: Natural Disaster Action Movie

The tagline really isn't bad and I've heard such remarkable things about this book. Also, I'm instantly intrigued based on the fact that it doesn't mention romance.


"Iron. Ice. A Love Doomed From The Start."
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Initial Reaction: Someone has to die. If the love is really doomed someone has to die.

No one dies. Not in this one but I still really love the book. It's such a cool idea I wish the tagline hadn't focused so much on the romance.


"A Million Ways to Die. One Way to Live."
-Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Initial Reaction: I have mixed reactions to the two statements. There's such threat in the first but the second falls a little flat.

I really like this series. Some of the taglines for the later books lean toward the relationship aspects but I appreciate that this one didn't. This isn't a dystopian that fits into the Hunger Games mold as much.

I had more on my example list but I'll stop here. Taglines can make such an impact on how someone perceives a book. I think I prefer when they're on the back (you know, big font across the top). I have never seen a book with a tagline that made me want to pick it up. I think more often than not they make me hesitate.

Why do we keep using them? Can a story really be summed up in one short, catchy statement like that? It doesn't seem like it.


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