The Cover Wars


Rory Rooney likes to be prepared for all eventualities. His favourite book is Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared, and he has memorized every page of it. He could even survive a hippo attack. He knows that just because something is unlikely doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen …But Rory isn’t prepared when he suddenly and inexplicably turns green. Stuck in an isolation ward in a hospital far from home with two other remarkably green children, Rory’s as confused by his new condition as the medics seem to be. But what if it’s not in their genes, or a virus, or something they ate? What if turning green actually means you’ve turned into a superhero? Rory can’t wait to make it past hospital security and discover exactly what his superpower might be

Janet: I’m not enamored by the cover BUT I do like broccoli. And I want to know what the penguin is doing. Also, I don’t believe I’ve seen a POC in this illustrative/cover style yet. Together, these things make me smile and want to turn to the back to find out more.

Nafiza: I really adore this cover. The penguin, the kid in the pajamas and the green shadow. The synopsis reels me in. I’m totally in for this experience.

Steph: I also really like the cover and the title – very eye catching and I too like the POC in this style. I also love broccoli, though I assume broccoli because of his turning green and perhaps not because of his eating it. Anyway, while the penguin is cute… there are a lot of penguins these days and I really have to wonder why… it’s like the owls, why are owls so in right now? I digress. The back copy has me sold, not only does the story sound fresh I think I’m really going to like this little character an I can’t wait to see where he takes me.

Yash: The synopsis isn’t something I would naturally gravitate towards, but the title is so intriguing, and I love that the superhero shadow is broccoli green, and … *eyes widen*

Yeah, okay, I’m in! :)


Val and Lanora have been friends forever. Val expects their relationship to stay the same. But after they start middle school, Lanora decides to reinvent herself. Her parents have split up, and she wants to rise above that. Unfortunately Lanoraʼs choices lead her into trouble. Val hates watching her friend lose her way. She wants to rescue Lanora, but how? Val doesnʼt know what to do until a stray cat leads her to a strange boy who lives in an even stranger bookshop. Together they embark on a quest. Will they be able to save a lost friend? Will they get lost themselves? Or will they find a way to help each other become who they want to be . . .

Janet: It’s made of several photographs. Not my favourite style. I do like that the focus is on two girls going on adventures, and that the cover catches them in the act of running together. The title is fascinating – I would read the back and first few pages.

Nafiza: I’m really tired of strange boys who lead girls into adventure. Why can’t girls lead themselves into adventure? And the cover is really not my thing either. Like Janet, this conflation of several photographs, or is it, collage, whatever, it doesn’t attract me. I do like the motion in the cover though.

Steph: The cover doesn’t really sway me one way or the other – we have two girls silhouetted, led by a cat to (we find out in the back copy) a boy who will lead them on adventure. I too am not a fan of this, why couldn’t the girls find the book or bookstore on their own? It sounds like a such a girl centred story, instead of drama Val is looking for a way back in to friendship and to help her friend, Lanora, out while Lanora seems mixed up in more than she can chew. That is enough for me, we don’t need a boy tossed into the mix – now I worry about love triangles, I assume that Val and the boy will like each other and that’ll make it easier for Val to let Lanora have more space and be with her own new boyfriend… an maybe I’m totally off, but these cliché plots are beginning to run through my head…

Yash: I like the cover a lot, even if it isn’t an illustration (as I thought it was on first glance). I really love the colours on this cover, I like how they’re framed by nature and led by a cat, and I really, really love the font used. The title is pretty great too. I am kind of hoping, though, that there is a twist in this book that the summary is just not hinting at? Because all the leading and the cat and the boy is kind of, well, not what want. I am very curious about the strange bookstore though! I would read a chapter or two in order to make up my mind …


Seventeen-year-old Winnie Flynn, a closet horror fan with a starkly realistic worldview, has never known her mom’s sister, Maggie: a high-profile reality TV producer. But in the wake of her mother’s suicide, Winnie is recruited by Maggie to spend a summer in New Jersey, working as a production assistant on her current hit: Fantastic, Fearsome. At first Winnie figures that she has nothing to lose; her father has checked out, and Maggie is the only family she has left. But things get increasingly weird on set as Winnie is drawn into a world of paranormal believers and non-believers alike. Soon she learns a paranormal ability of her own: she can psychically detect lies. The things she discovers threaten her plan to stay under the radar, and may provide clues to her mother’s death.

Told as an ongoing letter to a friend, with illustrations that offer clues throughout, Winnie’s story is both a heartrending mystery and a pop culture critique in the vein of Libba Bray’s Going Bovine and Beauty Queens—supplemented with illustrations throughout that recall the quirky, dark, and distinct aesthetics of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Janet: Oh, what a possibly eerie shadow! I’m oddly intrigued by this one. It must by the way our protagonist looks directly at the readers against the stark and unpromising surroundings.

Nafiza: Okay, this cover is creepy. And the fact that it starts off mundane is what makes it creepy. I mean, that girl could be me except I don’t want the devil attached to me in any form. And I find it really fascinating that the devil is pictured as a woman. Women usually are shown to be easily influenced by the devil but not as the devil simply because the devil too has power and women are typically shown without. (My thoughts.) Anyway, I’d read this. I like creepy stories a lot.

Steph: The cover, it’s nice. I like the look in the girl’s eyes. But it’s the back copy that catches me and the read-alikes – I like all of those books. The mystery, the creepy, the afterlife and psycho-phenomenon, love it! I also love to be creeped out, so I will read this. Probably on the beach.

Yash: I SO want this book! It’s creepy, it’s got illustrations, and the cover might as well have a neon flashing like that says, “READ ME, YASH!” I hope it’s coming out in October! (That’s right I’m already compiling Horror/Halloween reads for this year. I mean, I wish my life was a never-ending summer, but since it is not … *adds to TBR*)


Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Janet: Is that the Disney D in Descendants? *Snicker* So. Despite the lovely green, the cover looks a little too smooth and packaged. But I do like that yellow leaf and the dragon tail at the other end. I would look at the back but not with the expectation of borrowing it from the library.

Nafiza: The cover is an assault to my eyes. I’m sorry, it doesn’t work for me at all. And I find that multi-perspective novels are rarely interesting to me. So, pass.

Steph: Probably not – but then again, this is clearly a Disney product and I work in a bookstore… so I’ll need to read at least the first one to get a taste for what kids are reading and might be looking for. The cover is a bit garish and overdone, the multiple perspectives are in danger of running into themselves and… well, Disney. Not entirely bad… but not entirely good either…

Yash: For someone who has never a Melissa de la Cruz novel, I have liked most of her book covers and I do like this one. I like that they don’t go the clichéd black + acid green/purple route for the villains. I like that it’s bright. I really love the font, though the title doesn’t grab my attention. I am gonna admit that the premise sounds fun! The villains of Disney are usually the characters I enjoy most. (It’s when I dislike the villains that I know I’ll probably like the protagonist.) Buuut, I don’t think I want this to be the first book I read of hers. I kind of want to read The Ring and the Crown. Besides, this one doesn’t have The Shadow Man’s secret spawn, so … pass. For now.


What if you weren’t the Chosen One?

What if you’re not the one who’s so often the hero in YA fiction; who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions…

Janet: The title reminds me of George Weasley’s complaint when Mrs. Weasley celebrates Ron becoming a prefect: “What are Fred and I, next door neighbours?” (Or maybe it was Fred who said this about himself and George. I don’t remember.) The title makes me smile, despite the implicit foreboding tone. I’m not crazy about the cover (too design-y and not enough art? Sorry. I know design is art.) but on the other hand, Patrick Ness…

Nafiza: I have yet to read a full length novel by Ness though I’ve read a couple of his short stories and really enjoyed them. This sounds like a novel called All My Friends Are Superheroes which I haven’t read either. But I may just read this one and have it be my first Ness book. I like the cover. I like the sparseness of it following the crazy explosion in the middle.

Steph: Yes. Patrick Ness. YES YES YES! The cover is fine the back copy is enticing and it’s written by Ness. So I’m in. I’m pre-ordering it right now…

Yash: Yes, all of Patrick Ness’ books are blessed with the best covers. Thing is, I love the title so much that the rest of the cover could just be, I don’t know, a poop emoji and I’d still buy it. I am looking forward to this one! :)


Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it’s hard to escape it. So when a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it’s just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi’s vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead.

Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home-a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers’ survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?

Janet: I’m torn between attraction and dislike. Attraction because stars and a swan and those are both awesome. Dislike because mechanical shapes making non-living animals. The title is bewitching – I’d have to read the back to decide.

Nafiza: I do like this cover. I’m not too fond of the synopsis. I read Stitching Snow by this author and I didn’t really enjoy it. I would maybe try it if I read good reviews.

Steph: Aha! That’s what is it! I thought I’d see this cover design before and it was Stitching Snow.  Like that one, well, I like this one. It’s a nice design, subtle and attractive and hinting at sci-fi. I didn’t read the first one so I think I’d start there…. but Nafiza’s review wasn’t glowing so…. we’ll see.

Yash: Oh man, this is another one of those Stitching Snow books, right? Well, I didn’t like that cover either. This style just doesn’t work for me! I know Nafiza liked the last one, so obviously it isn’t a horrible cover– I’m just *waves hand vaguely* *shrugs*. I am, however, interested to see how this one is received. The character isn’t disabled per se, but will probably learn to sign? Is that it? I’d wait for a few reviews before I commit to this one.

7 responses to “The Cover Wars

  1. “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” has made it to my wishlist. How awesome! I did notice that on Amazon, the image is already different… and I like the one over there better!

    (Also, any chance you guys could start adding the Goodreads/BookLikes links to these books?)

  2. Now that I’ve read the synopsis, I bet you that Spinning Starlight is a sci-fi retelling of The Wild Swans. It has got to be.

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