The Cover Wars

The Cover Wars!!

Where we judge books by their covers and their back copies because we all do it and we’re just going to tell you what we think! :)


For her thirteenth nameday all Princess Juniper wants is a country of her own. So when rumblings of unrest start in his kingdom, Juniper’s father decides to grant his daughter’s wish and sends her to a small, idyllic corner of the Hourglass Mountains until trouble blows over. Once there, Juniper discovers that ruling a small country–even just for the summer–is a bit harder than she’d expected, especially when cousin Cyril challenges her rule. Still, the most difficult part is to come. Juniper and her friends discover that her father’s kingdom is at war. The only way to stay safe is to remain in the Hourglass Mountains much longer than planned. Juniper may have her own country after all . . . but what will that mean for the kingdom of Torr?

Nafiza: I quite like this cover. I like the details such as the wall-papered background, the crown on the frame and how the protagonist seems to be leaping through it. It suggests some sort of internal and external journey. I also like the colour palette and enjoy the sneaky-ish expression drawn on the character’s face. The synopsis promises a lot of adventure and hijinks. I’d be interested in reading this.

Yash: Some kids want ponies … and some kids want … kingdoms? *shrug* Still. I like this premise. I like the cover but for different reasons. When I first saw it, it looked like she was jumping through a portal, from the magical kingdom into some kind of hotel or something (judging by the wallpaper). Clearly, I am very wrong. But it still caught my eye and my imagination. Well done, cover.

Janet: The cover is nice enough, I’m just not fond of that Tangled-esque illustration style. However, the synopsis reminds me of Handbook for Dragon Slayers and, for some reason, some of Sherwood Smith’s stories (A Posse of Princesses, anyone?). The prospect of Juniper’s difficulties in learning to rule (or trying to), her defeat of cousin Cyril (has there ever been a good character named Cyril? The name manages to suggest courtly smarminess, ambition, and also gerbils), and the hint of wider politics is quite appealing.

Steph: I too like this cover and the adventure written all over the character’s face. I do think that the premise, wanting a kingdom and learning to rule is going to be fun – but it is reminiscent of other books that I’ve read, some Janet has already mentioned. Haha, Cyril. Still, if Juniper has enough snap then I think I’ll enjoy reading this.


(synopsis of first book since this is the sequel)

Hot sun. Blue waves. New romances. Old secrets.

Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.

Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friends (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don’t hold grudges forever. Do they?

Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago—including Hallie and her dreamy brother, Josh—to believe she’s someone else. As though the summer wasn’t complicated enough already.

Nafiza: Is it more or does the model on the cover seem oddly flat? As though she was steamrollered flat to fit onto the cover? *stares* I like the playful tone of both the cover and the title but the book does not appeal to me. I am sure it’ll appeal to readers who like their realistic fiction (and who have read the first book, ha!) but the synopsis speaks of a soap opera that I am not at all interested in tuning in for.

Yash: I really like the font for this one, the title is cute, the premise is fun. I also like that they had the opportunity to objectify a teenage girl but they made a scene on the beach look … not bad. *shrug* I can see this one appealing to a lot of readers.

Janet: Um. It just looks uninterestingly shallow. I like the title (ice cream, yum! and juxtaposition!) but that’s about it.

Steph: I think that perhaps none of us Book Warriors is a big fan of the realistic girl fiction. I mean, this looks like it runs in the vein of Where’d you go Bernadette? and the like. The cover is appealing, and yum! Ice cream! We are in for an indulgent protagonist who has sass and of course a lot of soapy drama that I’m not into – but a lot of readers are.


The story is about a girl who, desperate to live a normal life after growing up the daughter of famous parents, transfers to a Maine boarding school, only to find her lies about her background drawing her into ever-deeper trouble.

Nafiza: The cover is cute but for some reason it seems rather generic to me. It wouldn’t call out to me in a bookshop full of similar books. The synopsis also tells me very little about this girl and well, there are plenty other books out there that describe the follies of lying about your identity.

Yash: Yeah, this doesn’t say much. It actually looks like a cartoon-y book cover for that Selena Gomez movie? What was it? Some European city name? Gah, my head. I should just move on. Basically, totally cute art, but the summary doesn’t exactly grab me by the shoulders. She is way to oblivious of whatever trouble she’s in … it’s making me anxious.

Janet: The cover is cute, especially Ruby’s expression. Her body is impossibly long and lean (not so great a message to middle-grade readers), but I like the sketchy building and seascape (er, sketchy as in drawn, not sketchy as in seedy). As Yash and Nafiza have pointed out, the summary doesn’t say much.

Steph: Wasn’t that Lindsay Lohan or maybe Hillary Duff in Rome or something? I think the art style is cute, but since I work in a books store I can attest to the verity in Nafiza’s comment, there are a lot of books with this style of cover and about a girl who lies about her identity and winds up figuring out who she really is. :)


After their mother’s recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven’t seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station.

Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations.

When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.

Nafiza: Okay, this book got me by the title alone. I like the unstated vulnerability that is exposed when we find out the young ages of the protagonists. I like how fresh and clean the cover is and I love the detail of the map. Also, the synopsis promises something that has the potential to be both emotional and heart tugging, and rife with hilarity. I’d read this.

Yash: I agree with Nafiza. I love the title. I love that the font looks like cut-outs from a map, and the plastic-y objects, and the cat. Yup. Everything looks good. I am keeping my fingers crossed for reviewers NOT comparing this to John Green. I bet this will be amazing.

Janet: I just don’t like the random-plastic-things-scattered-around-the-title type of cover. Buuuuut the synopsis is great, and I want to know how Liberty and Billie manage (even thrive) on their own. The list of who and what they encounter is an almost irresistible lure.

Steph: Haha abandoned at a gas station? Poor things! I mean, this story promises to be hilarious and heartwarming, if the characters pan out then this will probably be a great and quick read. The only comment that I’d have as a staunch Canadian is that it’s all just a little too-all-American BUT that wouldn’t stop me from reading it.


(short story)

“When the Sultan has arrived and is at ease, ask that I tell you a story. Do you like stories?”

Dunya is just fifteen years of age when her father, the Grand Vizier, gives her over to the mad Sultan for his bride. Ninety-eight Sultanas before Dunya have been executed, slaughtered at the break of dawn following their first night with their new husband. But on her own wedding night, the ninety-ninth bride finds help from the mysterious and beautiful Zahra, who proposes to tell the Sultan a story…

Nafiza: Dunya, what a huge name for a child. In Hindi/Urdu/Arabic (one of them or perhaps both) the word means “world.” I like the cover. I’m not sure what the swirly smoky things are but I like the ribbon and the font used to write the title in. This is obviously a retelling of Arabian Nights and hmm, I’d give this a try anyway. (Incidentally, Zahra means blossom in Arabic.)

Yash: I like the cover. I am iffy about this retelling. I’m gonna leave Nafiza to it and read it if she gives this a good review.

Janet: The many elements of the cover don’t quite fit together, in my opinion. The smoky swirls and mysterious figures make me want to gaze at them until I figure out their significance, but the fonts (two fonts! two very different fonts!) of the title and author’s name are jarring. I do really like the premise of this retelling, though. Scherazade is usually depicted as powerful (if vulnerable), sure of herself, an din control. Dunya sounds much more like a girl-woman married to a murderer would be like – “just fifteen,” emphasizing her youth and inexperience and vulnerability; “the ninety-ninth bride,” emphasizing how not a person she is considered to be; “finds help,” emphasizing how impossible it is to face this situation alone. Zahra is most mysterious – why hasn’t she helped the other brides? What are her goals? Is she a true ally or will she betray Dunya? Nafiza, I await your review.

Steph: Whoah, I just had to look at the cover for a while – there’s a shark on it! This is another retelling of the Arabian Nights? There are a lot of them! I think I have to go and re-read the original source before I tackle all these retellings. As for this one, the cover is mesmerizing, and I’m going to say it’s in a good way. I like the swirlies and the smoke and the dragon arms and stuff. I really would like to read these retellings, but for now I await Nafiza’s review. :)

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