The Cover Wars


Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

Yash: Despite my predictable complaint of why can’t we see her whole face I do like this cover. It’s pretty stark but gives a lot of hints about the story with each detail. I love the striking blue of water against the black, and I like the ship’s fiery sails, and the tagline. If the protagonist is a WOC, I think the title would be extra wonderful. I do think I’m cautiously optimistic about this one …

Steph: I also like the cover, honestly, at least we get a slice of face which gives her eyes, an important feature (as opposed to a headless curvy body or something). I REALLY like the water and the ship, it evokes so much imagination. The back copy gives us all the info it needs to and look, only one paragraph. It also sounds really intriguing, perhaps this is because I don’t know too much. I’m a big fan of time stories and this has promise and creativity behind it so I’ll read it I think.

Janet: Not crazy about the title, but that is an awfully lovely ship and sweep of water on the cover. The black space is fitting. I’m not sure about the names – Nix (nixie? nothing?) and Kash (cash?) – but the premise is interesting.

Nafiza: Nix…as in Nyx…as in Goddess of Night? Maybe? Anyway, I’m terribly excited for this book and cannot wait to get it in my hands. It just seems SO MUCH WONDERFUL. Give it to me. I like the cover too though I am not too fond of the burnt orange of the ship. I love the title as well. I have very high hopes.


Ever since she can remember, ten-year-old Violet and her mother have been locked away in a tower by the evil Queen Bogdana, who has the kingdom under her spell. The queen has everything she wants except for one thing — beauty. Violet possesses this beauty. She also has a secret: although she is very small, both her spirit and her heart are mighty.

When Violet is summoned by Bogdana to start training to become a real princess, it seems as if her life might be taking a turn for the better. But hope quickly fades when Violet’s mother is banished from the castle, and she and Violet are forbidden to see each other ever again. With everyone’s lives in the balance, it’s up to Violet to break the spell and reunite her family.

Yash: Um, yeah, the cover– though gorgeously illustrated– is kind of boring. To me, at least. The summary is far more interesting. I mean, I don’t think I really want to read this but I do think the cover doesn’t do the book justice. Then again, maybe it works for a MG audience? I don’t know. MG books have some pretty spectacular covers, though …  *shrug* Anyway. Not for me, I think.

Steph: The cover and the title are quite disparate, and actually, once we read the back copy and realize that the girl in the tower is actually let out of the tower quite early on, one has to wonder who gave this book it’s title. Perhaps the tower is symbolic? Based on the cover and the back copy I’m not picking much of that up. I will probably also not be picking this book up. How is it a secret that Violet has a strong spirit and heart? Every female heroine has a strong spirit and heart, that’s why they are the heroines! Perhaps she has to discover this along the way? The one thing that I think this book has going for it is the strong mother-daughter relationship, but I don’t think that’s enough for me.

Janet: The cover is alarming. I don’t know, a little too collage-photoshopped? The back copy is a little obvious and makes me suspicious that the narrator will be heavy-handedly didactic. I’ll pass.

Nafiza: The cover is…weird and somehow unsettling but I have loved Schroeder’s works in the past (she writes really wonderful, contemplative verse novels) and I have an ARC from Raincoast Books so you’ll be seeing a review of this from me in the next few months. The cover though…hmm, maybe it’s the colour? Or the insanely skinny waist? I don’t know? Not at all a favourite.


Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

Yash: You know, I’ve never read a book by Tim Federle, though I have heard our contributor Laura talk about his MG books. Maybe I’ll give this one a shot. The title is such a winner, though, I think I would have picked it up no matter what.

Steph: Sounds like I might have to cry to get through this one. Dang realistic stories with deaths and hard truths. I really like the cover, but that’s probably because I really like the title and the title works with the cover and hints at the themes and the humour of what’s between the covers. I also haven’t read anything by Federle and have heard great things–maybe? Let’s see what Yash says. If she says it’s worth the tears and heartache, then I might be in.

Janet: We’ve moved from headless girls to a headless pigeon? The cover has no appeal for me – but the second paragraph of the synopsis is perfect. I might be in.

Nafiza: The title makes me snicker. The cover I have no feelings for. I mean, I wouldn’t pick it up in a bookstore because it clearly is not my thing but I do like books that challenge and subvert so if Yash gives it a thumbs up, she’ll probably make me read it. Haha.


Drought season is coming….

The Ward is in trouble—its streets filled with seawater after a devastating flood and its impoverished inhabitants suffering from a deadly disease called the Blight.

Ren, with the help of her scientist friend, Callum, and her racing buddy, Derek, has discovered a cure—miraculous spring water—administering it to her sick sister, Aven. But when Aven is kidnapped by Governor Voss, the malevolent dictator of the United Metro Isles (UMI), Ren must go on a dangerous mission to save her sister, again.

The mysterious healing water is the only source of freshwater throughout the entire UMI—water that Ren had been tasked by the government to discover. Although she refuses to give up the water’s location, Governor Voss has his own selfish reasons for wanting it. And he will do anything to satisfy his thirst for unquenchable power.

But Ren and Aven have more enemies than the governor. An ancient order, the Tètai, has been guarding the magical water for hundreds of years. And they will kill to protect it. With the Ward in desperate need of freshwater and wracked by disease—and deadly enemies at every turn—the sisters face a dangerous journey, marred by mysterious secrets and horrifying truths, to save their friends and neighbors, and a city.

Yash: Haha! Like winter is coming, but with drought season? Anyway, um, did we talk about the previous book in the series? Because I remember saying, “It looks like the top and bottom halves are different covers?” regarding some other book. Anyway, yes, it feels like the cover designer didn’t know what to do with the cover and decided to put all their ideas on display, all at once. As a result, the cover may say a lot to people who know about the first book but is also kind of confusing and off-putting to others. In any case, no thank you, not for me.

Steph: I’d be fine without the silhouettes–again, I understand that there will be people in this book, why do we need indistinct figures on the cover to prove it? Anyway, is drought scarier than winter? I’m not sure . . . I like the sister angle, though saving a family member isn’t necessarily a new motive, it is a compelling one that can drive characters to interesting lengths. I just don’t know about the rest of the story (it’s kind of like Marie Lu’s Legend only it doesn’t sound as . . . smooth?), I’m not sure how Ren was tasked with finding the water and then doesn’t give the info and then the Governor kidnaps her sister–how does all that happen? I suppose if I’m asking that question I should read the first one, eh? Alright. I’ll look into the first book, but no promises.

Janet: Yash, I remember you saying that about a book where a bunch of precocious teens end up locked in a museum/underground bunker. As far as I know the books aren’t related. However: to task. Nothing about either cover or synopsis appeals. It feels like both are trying too hard.

Nafiza: I must echo Janet in this instance. Also, it is me or is there something wrong with the second sentence? The whole synopsis feels exaggerated and I don’t know if I’m speaking as a cynical adult but one girl against an entire world? Eh. Unless it’s done cleverly–it’s already been done cleverly. Nope, not my thing.


Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They’ve gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tragically short. Before he dies, he arranges a mysterious trip to Europe for his three cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend to take after he passes away. It’s a trip that will forever change the lives of these young teens and one that will help them come to terms with Jesse’s death.

Yash: I like the cover. A lot. I like the white, sketchy font of the title and I like the filtered, sunny day pic. It’s just … nice. And hey, it’s been a while since I’ve read a road trip with friends type book. It’s just … I wish the mystery trip wasn’t contingent on someone’s illness/death. *sigh* I don’t know. I think Nafiza liked Hattemer’s debut book? Maybe this one will be good too. This is a maybe for me.

Steph: The cover is great! I really like the illustrated cartoon-y directionals and the photo colours (perhaps hinting at all the different locations they’ll be sent too?). I too don’t love the idea that what will have brought these people together and what we’ll be reflecting on the entire book is the death of a young boy who was probably awesome. It sounds tear-y, and I don’t know if I’m in for a realistic tear-y road trip.

Janet: Passes away? Passes away? What’s wrong with saying HE DIES? *ahem* indignant pigeon squawking aside, this could be interesting but it isn’t for me. I’m not convinced that a road trip planned by the person for whom you are grieving is magically going to make the grief go away. Or maybe the last line of the synopsis irks me because it comes across as condescending, as though it addresses the parents of the teen readers to say, Don’t worry, this will be good for your kid and help them understand grown up stuff like getting over grief.

Nafiza: Probably because “he dies” was already used in the beginning of the sentence? Like in my language, we don’t say “____ dies/died” but “______ passes away” as a measure of respect to the dead person (I was scolded more than once for saying “he died” so I remember this lesson particularly well.) ANYWAY, yeah, I liked The Vigilante Poets enough but I’m not about to willingly/intentionally enter a narrative that will cause me copious amounts of pain. Nope. The cover is fun and the synopsis interesting and I’m sure other people will “enjoy” (quotes because I don’t think reading about dead/dying children can be enjoyable buuut I enjoyed The Hunger Games so…) it.

4 responses to “The Cover Wars

  1. Ah, I clearly skimmed that synopsis. Or at least that sentence. I never thought about “passed away” as a way of showing respect – neat! I see the euphemism as a particularly annoying bowdlerization – as though, if we say someone passed it softens the fact that SOMEONE DIED. Thereby allowing us to skate over the fact of mortality, etc. But maybe that’s just because in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s A Tangled Web, there’s a terrible old woman who decrees in her will that the family must put in her newspaper obituary that SHE DIED instead of she passed on, etc. Her family was scandalized, and child-reader Janet thought that the old woman was so awful and so hilarious that she (Janet) would never use that particular euphemism.
    But. Seriously cool about the language/culture!

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