The Cover Wars

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Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

Janet: The cover is so much like the cover of The Diviners that I like it immediately, even though that shade of red makes me unhappy. The back copy… doesn’t tell me much? But that’s kind of the point with thrillers. I will probably read this, definitely if Yash gives it a thumbs up.

Yash: Yeah, I agree with Janet. The cover has a very Diviners vibe to it. The eye, maybe? In any case, I do like the colours and the symbols, and I love the midnight blue peeking through the dull red. The synopsis is interesting … it kind of reminds me of a short story … except I can’t remember which one … I feel like it was an adaptation of The Twelve Dancing Princesses? Maybe? Anyway, yes, I am interested. Hopefully, this will be a unique ride.

Jane: Wow, Janet’s totally right, this does look remarkably like the cover of The Diviners! But meh. The write up just doesn’t grab me, so I don’t think I’ll be bothering with this one.

Steph: Yeah, it’s almost exactly the same but red and simpler. I do like the style though, so, even though it’s a little derivative it doesn’t make me not want to read the book. The back copy is really really vague–I don’t know how Janet knew this was a thriller even. Honestly, the back copy says so little that I really need to take a look through and read some snippets before I decide that I’ll read this. This seems to be one cover that I just can’t judge, lol. Seems interesting?

Nafiza: I do like the cover and I concur with the rest of you that it looks very similar to The Diviners cover, the original one at least. However, I’m not sure whether it is something I want to read because the synopsis tells me barely anything…okay fine, it tells me something but it doesn’t convince me entirely or immediately. So yes, Yash, if you like this whenever you read it, let us know.

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Romance, intrigue, and plenty of action are woven into a rich and suspenseful narrative in this powerful YA fantasy. The mixed-race heroine Myra is a Flickerkin and can flicker (become invisible) at will. She hasn’t cultivated or revealed this ability, since Flickerkin are persecuted as potential criminals and spies. When invisible people become tricksters and then murderers, Myra’s Flickerkin heritage becomes a deadly secret, putting her relationship with the leader’s son—and her own life—in jeopardy. Loyalties shift and difficult choices are made before Myra understands who she wants to be.

Janet: So the tagline annoys me, grammatically speaking; faded white girls’ faces has been done only a million times before; and the back copy is clumsy. I am not interested.

Yash: She’s mixed race? And they chose to bleach her skin of colour? I mean, sure, she could be super fair-skinned, but unless she’s Snow freaking White, how about no? I mean, I get that her power is to turn invisible, but there has to be another way to show that? I mean, somewhere along the line, it is someone’s job to be creative, right? Aaaanywayyyy, the plots sounds interesting. At best, in/visibility and race can be very interesting to read and at worst, it can be insulting. I may wait on some reviews before picking it up? But I am cautiously interested.

Jane: Oh man, talk about a heavy-handed write up…. SO. MANY. ADJECTIVES. Don’t just tell me that a book is rich, suspenseful and powerful – capture my interest with an intriguing write up and let me discover the rich, suspenseful narrative of the powerful story for myself. Combined with an uninspiring cover, I’m afraid I probably wouldn’t give this book a second look.

Steph: So, I totally agree with what’s already been said but let me go a little farther and nit-pick, predict and rolls my eyes because I’m mean like that. Of course this is a girl who has to hide her identity because of persecution, with all the adjectives used in the lead sentence, this plot structure just makes sense. What I don’t understand is why invisibility = murderers … and if this is truly the case then no wonder they are persecuted … BUT, of course, this will be a whole “plot twist” where the flickerkins have been miscast! And also there’s probably a whole secret invisible culture living in the sewers or something. This is all to say, though I think the cover is kinda pretty, I probably won’t read it unless reviews pour in and praise the book for it’s originality.

Nafiza: Yikes. Okay, first of all, flickering is not equal to complete invisibility and flickering people will still be visible, fading in and out of visibility yes, but very much visible so the use of flicker drives me absolutely nuts because it seems I am very much a purist? Anyway, no.

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The new novel follows Gauri, the younger sister of the titular Star-Touched Queen, on her harrowing quest for freedom.

When Gauri, the princess of Bharata, is captured by her kingdom’s rivals, she can only find help in Vikram, the cunning prince of an enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with royal life, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. They set aside their differences and team up to compete in the Tournament of Wishes, wherein the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Janet: Pretty pretty pretty sky! For that sky and the frame I will ignore the impractically trailing cloth. The final sentence of the synopsis raises my suspicious eyebrows (please not romance, please not just romance) buuuut this does look good. Guess I’d better start with the first book, eh?

Yash: *shrug* I don’t remember being particularly won over by the first book’s cover and I’m not really in love with this one either–though that green and fuchsia is mesmerizing, I won’t deny–but who the hell cares what the cover is like? Chokshi is an author I am definitely looking forward to reading.

Jane: Oooh, pretty colours!! I like the idea of a princess famed for her battle prowess, but that final line has got me rolling my eyes, setting off my internal “cheese” alarm. Ooooh, dangerous desire….please let that desire be the desire to take over the world, or vanquish a mighty ruler, or summon a powerful dragon, or own the largest, flowiest purple cape ever imagined, anything but a “forbidden love with a seemingly dangerous but secretly just misunderstood bad boy who I initially spar with but eventually fall predictably in love with” desire, OK?

Steph: I just have to say, books are marketed to girls. Or, maybe, we just pick girly covers to feature, but this is too pretty for any guy to want to be seen holding it on the subway. I mean, even I cringe a little. It screams romance, and I’m afraid that colleagues’ comments are warranted, that last line confirms what the cover is not really “covering” at all (ohoho) … this is romance with a great female heroine to try and rope us in. I will not be fooled!

Nafiza: Hey, the blurb is pretty upfront about the romance aspect of it but the writing of The Star-Touched Queen was so absolutely beautiful and the glimpse I caught of Gauri at the end of that one is enough to convince me to read this. Yep. Give this to meee.

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Janet: The cover is kind of pretty, but doesn’t stand up to the preceding centuries of illustration of these tales. Meh. (Also, which edition is this based on? Because if this audiobook has “Children Playing Butcher,” that is the creepiest thing EVER and please do NOT give this to children to read. I mean. Not to advocate censorship, but, there is a reason that tale was edited out.)

Yash: Ooh, audiobook cover? The illustration style is cute and it commands my attention because of the cuteness? Buuuuuut it doesn’t look particularly subversive. At least, that’s not what the illustrations imply? So, I may pass. Like, unless one of them is read by Idris Elba or Jesse Williams? Pass.

Jane: Oooh, I really like this cover, it’s both folksy and hipster (amazing how often those two overlap). I’m not personally a big audio-book listener, but I’m curious as to what they consider an all-star cast.

Steph: Ahahahaha, I can’t stop laughing at the witch climbing Rapunzel’s hair, it’s hilarious! Also the world is kinda funny in the window too. It’s a cute comical illustration. But, I mean, I have a copy of Grimm’s already soooo …

Nafiza: I’m not much of an audiobook person but we’ll see who is reading these stories and then I can make up my mind.

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Eighteen-year-old Charlotte (Jinx), fights her past to chase her dream of becoming an Elite Nordic Airre pilot, yet her rebellious attitude hinders her hard-earned lead status. Overcoming a string of life-altering events and the unwanted advances of a smooth talking pilot, is one thing, evading death at the hands of two comrades is another.

When Jinx comes face-to-face with an unlikely ally, she is forced to trust him in order to escape the clutches of those who want to silence her. Can a once broken girl transform her past into an iron will, or will she ultimately crumble under the destruction?

Janet: The cover is bold and intriguing and, depending on the book’s contents, will be very good or very bad. As in, it is either wonderfully representative of the colour and the mystery of the story, or it is a little too garish, a little too mysterious-objects-thrown-together-without-real-order-because-this-is-a-murder-mystery-style-cover-and-why-not-y. The first paragraph of the synopsis is very appealing. The second is less promising. I’d look inside at the first few pages. (Also – “transform her past into an iron will”: am I the only one who immediately thought of Toph?)

Yash: The cover is so … not what I’d expect from a book about flying and pilots? But that’s a good thing, I’m sure. Anyway, uh, the last line gives me pause. I hope it isn’t what I think it is. And if it is what I think it is, I hope the author writes it respectfully. Um, in any case, not for me, I think. Looks interesting, just … not for me.

Jane: This synopsis is all kinds of confusing, and I’m not a huge fan of the vague exposition – “this girl wants to do this thing, and she has this one major personality trait (she’s rebellious, of course!), and then some stuff happens, and  then there are some guys (one good and one bad) and then she has to go through some dangerous stuff and DRAMA”.  Both frustratingly overly-detailed and frustratingly vague.

Steph: *points to comments for the cover above* *points to this cover* almost exactly the same issues. Transparent romance takes over potentially interesting concept. Meh.

Nafiza: The fact that this book deals with pilots and airre (hur) is at odds with the cover which seems very much set in a forest on the land. Give me some girl pilots preferably with badass planes and then we’ll talk. And okay, can I just say that the synopsis was interesting until the second paragraph started? And okay Yash, what do you think it is? You have to tell me now or else I will wonder foreverr.

THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

Janet: Soooooo… I like that Margot Sanchez is front and centre on her own book cover buuuut I don’t like the illustration style. Enh. Based on the back copy, this isn’t the book for me, anyway. Even if the list of things/people Margot hates begs to be allowed to elaborate on why.

Yash: MINE. O__O

Jane: Realistic YA fiction wasn’t my jam even when I was a YA, so this is definitely not up my alley. I have a feeling that we’ll find out that Margot’s tough as nails exterior hides a sensitive heart that just wants to belong and be accepted, and that she’ll learn a valuable lesson about the importance of family and being true to oneself and ones identity and values. Still – THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE BOOK COPY, PEOPLE! Just from reading the back of the book I feel like I know a bit about what the story is about, but not so much that I feel like I’ve already read the book. There’s a bit of mystery (Why is Junior a Neanderthal? What is Margot going to do??), but it’s just enough to be intriguing, and not enough to be frustrating. I’m still not likely to pick this title up, simply because it’s not really a genre I usually enjoy, but I definitely appreciate the summary.

Steph: This is also not necessarily my kind of lit, BUT it sounds intriguing and, as witnessed above, after a while, YA fantasy can start to sound a little too familiar. The art style isn’t my fave, but maybe it’s something that Margot would like, and that is also intriguing. I’m intrigued enough to check this out of the library.

Nafiza: I know that I won’t pick this up on my own but I feel like if someone made me read this, I’d enjoy it. I’m not much of a contemporary fan but this has a very strong voice so…I don’t know. Maybe?

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