I'll let Kate Hart's fantastic analysis of YA covers do the talking, as well as her follow-up: YA covers have a problem. And it's not just the angst face or the I have bemoaned in the past. It's that only 14% of YA covers feature a character of color--and even then, they're often obscured, looking away from the camera, or portrayed with a group of white friends. It's that not a single cover I have found features an LGBT couple holding hands, or portrayed in a romantic manner. To be fair, this is an entirely unscientific observation on my part, and there are covers out there that feature LGBT characters--but the complaint still stands.
At least there are covers out there like that of Huntress by Malinda Lo, featuring not only an Asian model looking directly at the camera, but also one who portrays a lesbian character:
And then there are covers like Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules, which so blatantly whitewashes an Asian character, it's sickening. (And for what it's worth, I think this cover design is hideously ugly, besides.)
That's why we need to keep talking about this--to send the message to publishers, once and for all, that it's about time their covers portrayed the actual demographics of the United States, instead of just what they think will sell books. It's why I make a concerted effort to buy books that feature people of color on the cover, like Huntress above, and get books like The Immortal Rules from the library.
Please note that I'm not talking about the content of these books at all--that's another blog post entirely--just the way that they're marketed, which is just as important a discussion. These things certainly aren't the authors' fault, and they say nothing about the quality of the book between the covers. It's publishers that need to get this message, loud and clear, and I'm hoping you'll help me send it. Put your money where your mouth is and start buying these books--if you look in the Kate Hart post, there's a great list of the titles that feature covers with PoCs. Write letters. Let's make a difference.