Exclusive Cover Reveal: Anica Mrose Rissi’s Always Forever Maybe

Today B&N Teen reveals the cover of editor-turned-author Anica Mrose Rissi’s Always Forever Maybe. Rissi’s the writer of the hit Anna Banana chapter book series, as well as picture books, but this is the author’s foray into YA. And while it’s definitely got some of the humor of her earlier works, you can bet, with a title like Always Forever Maybe, that it’s going to be a wrenching romance. 

Here’s what you can expect:

When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Even before they share a first kiss, Betts already knows the two of them are destined to become an us.

Betts has a bruised, cautious history with love, but she feels safe and empowered in Aiden’s arms. He trusts her with the darkness in his troubled past, and his devotion opens up a new future for Betts just as everything else in her world is changing. With graduation inching closer, Betts and her best friend, Jo, have been sliding slowly apart, and that fissure is blown wide open by Aiden.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

B&N Teen caught up with the author to chat about the inspiration for the book’s colorful cover.  

In my social life, I am a fan of making firm plans and following through with them, but as a writer, I am continuously learning to embrace uncertainty, including allowing my characters to take their stories in directions I never expected. Some of my favorite moments in Always Forever Maybe are ones that surprised me as they unfolded, and other scenes that I was sure would happen in the book…didn’t. When it came time for HarperTeen to create the cover, it was fun to witness how that process, too, involved a strong starting concept combined with an openness to experimentation and changes along the way.

Always Forever Maybe is a novel about obsessive teenage love. The designer, Erin Fitzsimmons, got right away that from the title alone, some readers might expect a more sweetly romantic story, so it was important for the cover to convey the novel’s edgier, more ominous undertones. She proposed trying a cover using dark liquid plus typography to capture the messiness of the story’s core emotions. I immediately was on board.

Erin sent the cover concept to a fantastic digital artist, Sean Freeman, who took the idea and ran with it. He proposed using laser-cut 3D type set against a wall, pouring liquid onto the letters, and photographing the interactions of liquid and type. Just as I wasn’t sure how some scenes in the book would turn out before I wrote them, Sean couldn’t know exactly how the liquid would interact with the type before he tried it. The experimentation was part of the fun.

The results were striking. Erin mocked up a cover featuring the clean white font against a white background, with a disruptive splash of dark liquid pouring onto the text and splattering in all directions. The commotion in the image was eye-catching and unsettling—both things we wanted the cover to be—but the violence of the splatter also possibly suggested a horror or thriller plot, which wasn’t quite what we were going for. The cover was beautiful and dramatic, but it wasn’t fully working yet, so Erin experimented further.

The final cover for Always Forever Maybe uses a photo from the very end of the shoot, in which the title and background are stained with the remnants of all those splashes, dripping down like tears. Erin and Sean manipulated the colors to create a gorgeous but unsettling purple-to-blue ombré effect that is moody, seductive, and subtly reminiscent of a bruise.

It’s perfect. I love this cover, and am so excited to share it with the world today.

Always Forever Maybe hits shelves on June 5, 2018, but is available for pre-order now. 

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