The Cover Wars


Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful, demure…and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one’s safe, least of all the other pets. But she’s trapped, unable to get back to Penn—the boy she loves—or help the girls who need her.

Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she’s lucky, she’ll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives of everyone she’s tried to save …

Yash: I don’t know. I think the butterfly/dress is eye-catching, the title is oh-kay, and the tagline is fine but overall the cover isn’t doing anything for me. The summary is disturbing and isn’t really indicative of whether the subjects of slavery and sexual exploitation will be handled well … I mean, I understand that the cover and synopsis can say only so much and are often designed to tick stuff off a marketing checklist, but still, I have to say I’m not filled with hope. Who knows, though. Maybe reviews will prove me wrong.

Nafiza: Wooow. The synopsis makes my skin crawl. Not because it’s bad but because I react rather viscerally when I see a person (no matter how they come into existence) being reduced to nothing more than a ‘pet.’ I don’t think much of the cover either. And honestly, these kinds of books have to be very bold to appeal to me and while I can’t say that this isn’t bold, the way the synopsis is written doesn’t convince me it is. So nope, nope, no.

Janet: The cover is bold. I like the use of white space and one central image. The butterfly/dress is clever, but there have been so many ball gowns on covers that even one like this (with its possible echo of Katniss’s Mockingjay dress) is a big Oh No for me. The first two sentences of the synopsis are equally bold and interesting (Canada! woo!). The word tarnished is loaded with history; but like Yash, I’m not convinced that the subject material will be treated with the raw honesty it requires. (Blame the dress.)


“Was this story written about me?”
I shrugged.
“Yes or no?”
I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty.
“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.
I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote on my palm.
I can’t, I wrote. Then, in tiny letters below it: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?

Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

Yash: I do like this cover! And the font! I liked gazing at the photograph (illustration?) and identifying all the objects, trying to figure out the context and genre of the story. I think I got stuff right too, which is nice– the cover should convey some facts about the book, shouldn’t it? The summary is interesting … I just don’t know how I feel about how, somehow in that one paragraph, being mute is being connected to feeling like life isn’t worth it? And only an older girl can make it better? Maybe not for me.

Nafiza: I like the cover for exactly the same reasons Yash mentions but the synopsis is not appealing to me at all. The excerpt doesn’t do anything for me and Parker’s story doesn’t seem to be earth shattering. If the synopsis had mentioned why he stopped talking, I might have been interested. As it is, this is easily a pass from me.

Janet: I don’t like the cover – just too much going on – but it does give a nice laid-back, teen/cafeteria feel. I like the use of an excerpt as part of the synopsis. Neither cover nor synopsis looks like something I particularly want to read, but together they have a hipster-cool effect that I could see YA readers going for.


Fourteen-year-old Hamish Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town. When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes for ever.

Sometimes, to keep the people you love safe, you have to do bad things. As Little Town’s rules crumble, Hamish is sucked into a dangerous game. There’s a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy.

Hamish Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will … But he’s got to kill someone else first.

Yash: I think the title is catchy and all the read definitely turns heads. It’s just that right off the bat I know this is not the kind of realistic fiction I would go for. I’m sure it’s well-written and/or will do well, but it isn’t for me– and it’s rather nice of the cover to let me know. (I maintain that it is a good cover, okay.)

Nafiza: I like the cover and the title and I believe the synopsis makes this a Stephanie book. Am I right? I don’t know. Stephie will reveal all. The synopsis is intriguing but not something I’d search out or pick up because I like dragons causing the violence not bombs.

Janet: Stark, interesting cover. The second and third paragraphs of the synopsis are kinda cliche.


This second book in the Prey trilogy is a harrowing story of survival as Book and Hope travel back to the eerie Camp Liberty, where Book was once raised to be hunted for sport, to save those left behind. With new twists, new turns, and a new love triangle, The Capture is a gripping adventure for fans of The Maze Runner.

Every night it was the same: dreaming of those Less Thans shackled in the bunker beneath the tennis court. I couldn’t let it go. As bad as the memory was, my dreams only made it worse….

It was why we had to get back to Camp Liberty. Why we had to free those Less Thans.

Book, Hope, and Cat cannot live with themselves—they cannot settle into a new free life knowing the rest of their fellow Less Thans and Sisters are still imprisoned. Now the teens must retrace their steps to save the others, destroy the compound, and thwart the evil plans of the Republic.

With new enemies lurking—deranged Crazies and ominous Skull People among them—the group must put their fate in the hands of unexpected allies, including the woman with the long black hair and Miranda, the daughter of the Skull People’s Chief Justice, who is drawn to Book. Both may come to their aid, but at what cost? As the teens race toward Camp Liberty, they must ask themselves what they’re willing to do to free their friends, for the path back is filled with even more danger as motives are questioned and relationships tested.

Yash: HA! I saw the cover and thought, hey, reminds me of The Maze Runner and look who got it right! Well, I’ve had enough of dystopian/science-fiction for a while. The cover looks like something you’d see in some kind of extreme sports channel (which doesn’t appeal to me) and the summary is long, making it plenty clear that it is a second book in a series … obviously, I’d rather not do this.

Nafiza: Nothing about this one appeals to me. What is up with today’s batch of covers? It’s raining on the cover and it’s raining outside and just…nope. *pulls blankets closer*

Janet: The cover – nope. Almost 80s style, to my mind. As for the synopsis, those names are a bit much. Actually, a lot too much. Not for me.


She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world …

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

Yash: Are djinn the new vampires? Are they? I hope not. I want people who do their research to write these stories and somehow I feel like this is not going to be one of those? But then maybe it is awfully prejudiced of me to choose my books that way. I don’t know. I do like the title and the colours. I even like the cloudy people embracing. It’s less annoying than silhouettes somehow and points to fantasy as the genre. I just wish this wasn’t an Aladdin story. *sigh* I am getting meaner with these, aren’t I? I’m sorry. *drinks coffee out of the pot to wake up*

Nafiza: The people who write about the Djinni never seem to get it right. This one seems a lot like the Disney version and not the version of Djinni that I grew up with–they’re hardly the kind you’d fall in love with. Heh. I’m sure there will be some people who enjoy this but neither the cover nor the synopsis appeal to me. And wow, this is the first time when I haven’t liked even one story out of all presented. *shrug*

Janet: Very pretty cover – colours! clouds! an intricately-cast lamp! Also, golden balls and a neat title written in an interesting font. However. I am not in for romance. Not even if (for once) it is the female character who has immortality and magic. I’ll pass. *blinks at Nafiza* This is the first time you haven’t liked even one? More proof, if it was needed, that you are an extremely nice person.

One response to “The Cover Wars

  1. I loved the first and last covers. The others ones were appealing in strange ways. Interesting when you think about how much a cover influences whether or not you pick up a book…Have you guys ever thought about commenting on/participating in Maureen Johnson’s cover flip?

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