Yeah, me neither. This cover has started a big controversy in the publishing world centering on the publisher deciding that a white girl on the cover would sell more books than a black girl. The idea being that "black" books or books with people of color don't sell. Larbalestier gives her thoughts on the cover situation and how it came about on her blog.
“The entire premise of this book is about a compulsive liar,” said Melanie Cecka, publishing director of Bloomsbury Children’s Books USA and Walker Books for Young Readers, who worked on Liar. “Of all the things you’re going to choose to believe of her, you’re going to choose to believe she was telling the truth about race?”
"In the US especially, author approval over the cover is kind of like a 100 year old bottle of Bordeaux wine that is only bestowed upon the truly rarefied authors among us who measure their book sales in the gajillions. Everyone else has to live with the cover the publisher comes up with. No approval. Publishers decide on what goes on the cover, sometimes with input from the major chains. And sometimes but not always with the author's input."
Personally, I don't like to have photos of the characters on the cover anyway. I feel like I'm forced into a perception and I like to read the book and come up with one on my own. And if I don't like the look of the person they chose, I probably won't read the book. But if there is a photo on the cover, then the reader expects the protagonist to look like that. The Liar cover decision makes no sense to me except that it was a business decision to make more money based on the publisher's belief that a girl of color wouldn't sell as many books.
Since writing is such a creative endeavor, we writers often get miffed by the business side of things. I do. But the truth is that getting books on the shelves takes money and the publisher is going to go where (he thinks) the bigger bucks are, especially in this economy. I'm not defending the decision or saying it's right, but that's just the way it is.