The Cover Wars: Romance [LGBTQ] Edition

I considered mixing the LGBTQ romance ones with the previous two editions, but then I noticed how different these covers were in comparison to the others. I am not talking about the “adult” ones. I mean YA LGBTQ stuff. (It is tough to make that distinction sometimes.) Because they are. Different, I mean. For instance, my brief trawl on Goodreads indicates that LGBTQ books for teens are less likely to feature a couple on the cover. I wonder why? Also, way fewer F/F relationships in the new releases section (when compared to the M/M couples). Anyway, onwards!


1. Not Broken, Just Bent by Mia Kerick


Yash: Well, I suppose the title is a gigantic hint. It also implies something tragic. And I don’t want to do tragic. I also have to admit that despite my no-real-people-on-covers rule … this guy’s face is pretty intense/captivating. It’s the eyes. Still, no. I can’t take any more heartbreaking stuff.

Janet: His eyes are arresting. I like that this isn’t the typical YA cover with a supposedly hot protagonist and/or love interest, and that the cover doesn’t try to be cool. The effect is “real” – he looks like an ordinary guy, which is to say there’s a lot he isn’t telling, and in this case he doesn’t seem to be hiding it under an irritating pose. I’d look at the back.

Nafiza: There’s something so magnetic about that face so I don’t know if I dislike it. But it’s a tragic face and I can see the heartbreak in it. So I don’t know. I wouldn’t read the book because I don’t like sad books. I’m sorry, okay?

Steph: While I agree that his face is intriguing, I’m not sure it’s enough to get me to look at the back of the book. I mean, very often we get a girl’s face, or partial face and I don’t even look twice – his is particularly interesting, but I don’t think I’d go past thinking: “Huh, they enhanced his eyes.”

2. Private Display of Affection by Winter Sandberg


Yash: I kind of like the title and the cover. Everything turned away from us, the two of them facing the same direction, almost holding hands- it increases the anticipation, I suppose. But they cropped the heads and let’s face it, if it was a straight romance cover, I would probably not give it a second worth of attention. Which makes me wonder if the book will be at all representative of a gay teen’s life. I am noticing that a lot of m/m books are written by women …

Janet: Great, another butt-shot cover. The background scene is nice and the disparity between the arms sets up tension – one boy’s arm hangs by his side, the other boy is half reaching out. Overall, I have to agree with Yash that I wouldn’t ordinarily give it another glance, especially as to me the title sounds rather… boudoir-y.

Nafiza: This just works for me on so many different levels. I like the colour scheme, the little distance between them, the title. It works for me.

Steph: I have to agree guys. It’s very reminiscent of other teen YA romances that I wouldn’t look twice at, and honestly, just a glance might not indicate that there is anything different beneath this cover. I don’t think this is a unique or interesting cover, it falls into the category of typical romance. Which means, unrealistic, which means, probably not a good representation of relations.

3. In Discretion by Reesa Herberth

18746861Yash: More like it. Sci-fi/Action = read the back. And … it does look interesting. I also like the title and the positioning of In/Discretion. I might give this one a shot.

Janet: Somewhere between sci-fi and horror, judging by the arms. Since I don’t much like either, I’d give it a pass, except for that intriguing title and the visual play on the title. So I’d read the back, but probably not the book. Unless the back looks really good.

Nafiza: I’d maybe read this. Who am I kidding? I’d totally read it. Sci-fi/Fantasy is totally my thing.

Steph: I like it ^_^ I would though. As the resident sci-fi enthusiast, of course I was immediately drawn to the dark purple and toxic green – spot on! I also like that perhaps, PERHAPS, the romance might work nicely within the sci-fi plot and so I would read the back. If it has: “and he’ll have to choose between the life he has always known and a life of indescretion” – then I might not read it. If it’s intriguing and goes in a different direction – or, let’s face it – has zombies, then I’d be in!

4. The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr

Sailing ShipYash: Despite the lack of any depiction of romance (or perhaps, because of it), I have to say I am intrigued. I like the colours. I like the title. And I like the superimposition of a flower pattern onto the city. I would like to check this one out (from the library, if possible).

Janet: The cover’s main flaw is the two fonts and colours for the title. I think whoever designed it should have stuck with the font and colour used for “engineered.” Otherwise, it looks interesting and I’d read the back for sure.

Nafiza: I agree with Janet about the two different fonts for the title and the author name but I’m not going to quibble about it too much. I like the colour scheme and the general atmosphere of the cover. It’s intriguing.

Steph: Yep, I think because there is not obvious romance on the cover I’m more intrigued, until I read the back. The fact that there will be a plot besides romance or combined with romance is always more attractive to me. I’m not a fan of this cover though, for the same reasons fonts, dark colours, weird patters and indistinct object – meh. It looks more like a bad fantasy than an intriguing romance, I don’t think it’s quite where it needs to be. Knowing what I know, I might read the back.

5. Battle of Forces: Sera Toujours by Ali Vali

17290872Yash: I think I have already talked about this in an older Cover Wars edition but- why do the designers feel the need to change the font of the writer to match their race/ethnicity? It is always at odds with the rest of the cover. Perhaps, it is good to draw attention to the fact that the writer is different? I don’t know. I am not convinced. As for the cover- it is supposed to involve a f/f relationship … but it doesn’t really show that on the cover, does it? The cover can’t even depend on the fantasy element to draw people in because all there is is a girl staring at me. It’s just so lazy.

Janet: “Middle Eastern” script for the author’s name, and “Celtic” embellishments by the title, oh, and the title is partially French? There’s a sad lack of unifying theme for the design here. Also, a sad lack of appeal. The cityscape could be interesting, and according to Yash this is a fantasy, which raises my interest levels… but then there’s that photograph. Interest levels plummet again.

Nafiza: I don’t like the colour scheme (the girl’s face doesn’t do anything for me) and the positioning of the different aspects of the cover is just a bit too sloppy for me. I want something more. This doesn’t do anything for me and I don’t think I’d pick it up in the bookstore were I to see it there.

Steph: It might be a cop-out answer, but these lovely ladies have said it all. It just fails in so many ways. On top of that, the failure is an even further dissapointment because not only is there potentially a culturally interesting and different storyfrom this Cuban author, but the content of a f/f relationship handled differently is depserately desired. But this cover really ruins it’s chances – well, of it’s chances by being read by us anyway ;P

6. The Art of Secrets by James Klise

18267068Yash: I like the art- it’s very cute! And I am a fan of secrets! (Unless of the secret means that a person should hide in a prison of fear. But otherwise, secrets are fun and the reveals are usually relieving and dramatic!) This could be good!

Janet: Playful. The font and colours remind me of Jacqueline Wilson middle readers, which is the age group I would expect a book with this cover to be aimed at. Looks entertaining, but I’m not sure how deep it’ll go – the read and yellow combined with that font are a little hard to take seriously.

Nafiza: I’d like this and I like that there is no suggestion of lgbqt because I feel the author is just telling a story and sexuality is incidental. Not like hetero people go announcing their…oh wait, they do with the kissy covers. But ah, I like this anyway. Not every book has to focus on the romance, you know?

Steph: Yash, you always pick and love a yellow cover, haha. I also seem to like them. I’m drawn to the interesting art, the cuteness is great, but I think that perhaps the target audience and the cover art are at odds a little, as Janet points out. However, again, the relationship  not being depicted on the covers is a draw for me because that means another plot will be significant and the love story will intermingle and play a part in the larger scheme of things – as opposed to being the larger, or only, picture.

7. Freakboy by Kristen Elizabeth Clark

17261129Yash: I have been raving about this one for a while. I am also certain this one got featured in a previous Cover War post but I can’t be bothered to check or remove this one. I like the broken image of the Male Only bathroom sign. I like that it’s a mirror, implying a reassessing of identity. It does look dark and tragic, but I still want to read it.

Janet: I can’t quite figure out what the overlapping layers on this cover are supposed to be. Papers? Metal? Oh wait, a mirror? It looks kind of interesting, but the title throws me off a bit. On the other hand, Yash recommends the story, so…

Nafiza: Okay, this speaks to me. I like how the boy figure is fractured or fragmented. That says so much to me without being explicit about it. Ahhh. I love clever covers!

Steph: I do like this cover. It’s clever, I like the colours and the font, and I like that it will be identity at the centre of the plot. I worry that it will be identified by everyone else – but perhaps fragmenting a common symbol is evidence to the opposite. If Yash recommends, I will read. ^_^

8. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

17302571Yash: Okay, they didn’t have to change the font of this writer’s name and see how lovely the entire cover looks? I love the two hands, though once again, you can’t really tell that they are both girls (which they are). I think reading the summary for this one definitely affected my judgement. I am in.

Janet: They didn’t change the font (yay!) but they did work in the Middle Eastern latticework, which I like but am reserving final judgement on, depending on whether or not culture/the Middle East/Islam (I’ve been to a few mosques with lovely similar latticework) has anything to do with the actual characters. The title and cover design remind me a little of Sarah Dessen’s books, so I wonder if this has a similar style.

Nafiza: Janet, the book is set in Iran so yeah, the design is appropriate. I have read the book though and I think the potential for something more, something more eye catching was there. This doesn’t say too much to me and it’s a shame.

Steph: I think this is pretty boring, very plain, dark brown, hands. Meh. Not only does it scream romance without an obvious interesting secondary plot or anything. It looks like another romance cover we judged with a hetero couple, so, realistically, I don’t think I’d look twice.

2 responses to “The Cover Wars: Romance [LGBTQ] Edition

  1. Reblogged this on anntogether and commented:
    Many moons ago I was an art director for Prentice Hall Publishing, HS Education Div. and what a time we had with cover approvals. Even though the text books would ultimately be covered in brown bags (really dating myself here), the cover process was long. Images would go through many iterations… And of course, it’s all subjective even for HS subjects.

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