Why three different covers for Dairy Queen?


Way back in 2005 when Houghton Mifflin first asked for my ideas on the cover, I insisted it couldn’t include a photograph. Everyone, I felt, needed to develop their own D.J.; that, after all, is what makes reading so personal, the bond forged between characters and reader. As I recall, all of us separately came up with the notion of a cow in a tiara, and we felt that the image would really jump.


Other than several comments that it's “demeaning” (which I’m still trying to figure out), we received many compliments on the cover. Yet Houghton Mifflin felt that the paperback needed to jump even MORE. It also didn’t seem appropriate to repeat the cow theme on the cover of the sequel, which is a bit weightier, subject-matter-wise, than DQ. Plus by this point I wasn’t as neurotic about protecting D.J.’s image – the girl was clearly strong enough to stand up for herself. And it didn’t hurt that I completely fell in love with the second cover – my initial response was “I can’t wait to read this book!”, which is illogical but heartfelt – and I loved how the photo reflects D.J. and Brian’s relationship. Brian looks so much like Brian!


But. But when the third book came out, Houghton once again felt that the paperbacks needed a unifying theme, to convey that each of these is one of three books in a trilogy. Many ideas were batted around; we all wanted something as great as the German edition of Dairy Queen. Finally Houghton Mifflin grabbed the cow by the horns and asked Carlsen Verlag, the German publisher, for use of the image, and the image from the German edition of The Off Season. But they had to develop Front and Center’s cover on their own — that hasn’t come out yet in German.




    The trilogy as a trilogy — isn’t it great?

Chapter One   •   reviews   •    about the book   •   awards

Earlier ideas for covers — at one point, Dairy Queen and The Off Season had reversed covers.

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I am such a fan. You can not believe how much I relate to D.J. My friends think it’s weird that I am so crazy about football but I don’t care. Whenever my guy friends need an extra player I play with them. I don’t even have any brothers. But my dad taught me the sport when I was young and I fell in love. I am so excited for Front and Center. Even though I can’t play basketball to save my life. Your books mean so much to me. Please keep writing they make me laugh, cry, and fall in love with reading. :]


  1. -Hannah