The Cover Wars

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Fourteen-year-old Charlotte moves from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Washington’s Cascade Mountains, where she hopes to continue training for the national snowboarding championships. After her father signs an anti-development petition, she loses access to the local resort and takes to the backcountry, where she meets nature on its own terms. When adventure turns to tragedy, Charlotte learns that even our deepest scars can be lucky ones. — [X]

Yash: This is an interesting style–have we seen something like this before? I do like the colours and that despite being set someplace cold, it isn’t a stark white cover that makes me shiver. The synopsis is so interesting because for once, there is no random guy lurking in the forest, waiting to be Charlotte’s friend and skateboard buddy. (Or maybe there is, but the synopsis didn’t mention it.) It’s not something I’m very interested in, but I can’t say I don’t like the cover and premise. Maybe someday!

Jane: I really like that this story features a girl who’s excelling a sport that isn’t traditionally associated with female athletes, it’s a nice change from figure skating and gymnastics and swimming. There’s definitely a feeling of high speed in the cover, which makes it exciting. Not too sure about the backcountry premise, though – hopefully the character is depicted as being safe and not taking unnecessary risks. Having to be rescued by Search and Rescue because you’ve ignored safety warnings is never cool.

Janet: The cover works amazingly well: it captures a sense of stillness as well as the heart-pounding motion of snowboarding. I also like that we look up to Charlotte instead of down upon her – the angle adds to the portrayal of her as an athlete as well as increasing her visual isolation. I’ll keep an eye out for this.

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Skylar Cruz has been betrayed by everyone she trusted. Perhaps worst of all, she and her friends have failed to stop her sister, and now the Body Market is open for business.

Skylar is through being a pawn in everyone else’s game. She may be the only one who can stop what her family started. And she must do it before everyone in the App World runs out of time. — [X]

Yash: Ah, so the theme this week is characters with their backs turned to the audience/readers? Anyway, I have to say, I am kind of interested in this one. The cover doesn’t really interest me–doesn’t say much to me aside from, does the future not have dyes for clothes– and I fully expected the synopsis to confuse me, since this is a sequel, but I am pretty intrigued! I like that the last book ended on something of a failure? And that the heroine has to try again? (App World made me laugh, though.) Anyway, this is on my tentative TBR.

Jane: Body Market? What the what? I haven’t read the first book in this series, so I have no frame of reference here, but the writeup sounds pretty exciting. Dystopia isn’t really my cup of tea, but I know it’s still popular, and this will likely appeal to some teens. And did the hovering bodies on the cover remind anyone else of Milla Jovovich’s white bandage outfit from The Fifth Element?

Janet: The angle of the bodies and the odd gaps in the form-fitting clothes make me worry about hypersexualization and loss of agency. I haven’t read the first book, and I’m not drawn to this.

The-Beast-is-an-Animal-Peternelle-van-Arsdale

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul. — [X]

Yash: Um, that title … and its placing … I just … why?? The thing is, the synopsis is pretty interesting. It’s rather different from other stuff I’ve been seeing recently and it isn’t exactly a Beauty and the Beast retelling, so I’m … intrigued? BUT! I would not have picked this up at a bookstore or library. The cover is just not informative enough and that title is just not great. :/

Jane: The beast is an animal? Well….OK then. I guess it’s better than “the best is me”, but not as good as “the beast is a cyborg” or “the beast is in my linen cupboard”. Now that would be cool. So…twin sisters are abandoned by their father and turn into soul-eating monsters? Yikes, they certainly took that abandonment pretty hard. The summary is so plot-heavy (this happens, and then this happens, and then this other thing happens), and it doesn’t really inspire me to want to pick this one up. The cover image is pretty, though.

Janet: Yash summed up my feelings about that title placement. The central image has me wary. I mean, girl-tree is cool, but she looks vulnerable and trapped. The synopsis also gives pause for concern. So, two traumatized girls (what happened to their mother? why is only the father’s abandonment important?) deal with their pain by destroying others, and a “devout” village is lives with a strict fear-based moral code, because (obviously) all religion is bad/fundamentalist. I will have problems with this book. Pass. (PS – Jane, if you write The Beast is in My Linen Cupboard, I promise to read it. The title alone makes me giggle uncontrollably.)

The-Best-We-Could-Do-An-Illustrated-Memoir-Thi-Bui

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home. — [X]

Yash: It’s an illustrated memoir? So, it’s definitely going to make me cry? Yes? *sigh* Yep, I would read that. I would cry, but I would read that. You know, that one kid looking back at Vietnam/the reader, does it for me? I need to read this for that kid.

Jane: I love the title, because it really sums up what parenting is all about in the end –  doing the best you can. Looks beautiful.

Janet: Solid title, poignant (without sentimentality) cover, back copy that says enough and no more than that… yep. This looks good.

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Washington Territory is just the place for men of broad mind and sturdy constitution—and girls too, Jane figures, or Mr. Mercer wouldn’t have allowed her to come on his expedition to bring unmarried girls and Civil War widows out west.

Jane’s constitution is sturdy enough. She’s been taking care of her baby brother ever since Papa was killed in the war and her young stepmother had to start working long days at the mill. The problem, she fears, is her mind. It might not be suitably broad because she had to leave school to take care of little Jer. Still, a new life awaits in Washington Territory, and Jane plans to make the best of it.

Except Seattle doesn’t turn out to be quite as advertised. In this rough-and-tumble frontier town, Jane is going to need every bit of that broad mind and sturdy constitution—not to mention a good sense of humor and a stubborn streak a mile wide. — [X]

Yash: Her dress reminds me of Sophie’s dress in Studio Ghibli’s adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle, so overall, I am inclined to gaze at the cover. Once I register the lack of fantasy, though, I wouldn’t be so sure that I’d pick it up? And the synopsis tells me it’s not for me. No particular reason–I just feel like fantasy right now.

Jane: Well, what can I say, I’m a sucker for a protagonist named Jane! Too bad Janes seem to always be relegated to historical fiction, though….I like that this is set in the Pacific Northwest – it’s kind of local history, and we don’t see this part of the States featured as often in historical fiction. Jane sounds like your typical plucky, stubborn heroine, but I’m OK with that.

Janet: I’m so glad I’m not the only one who immediately thought of Studio Ghibli! I like that Jane worries that her mind might not be broad enough (I don’t know why, this just seems like the sort of sensible and sensitive thought that occurs to an engaging protagonist). I like the mist and the rain and the seagulls and the historical setting. I will have to look for this.

Weight-of-the-Dead-Brian-Hodge

The Weight of the Dead by Brian Hodge is a dystopian science fiction novelette taking place years after all electronics have been fried by the sun. Two siblings live in an enclave with their father, who’s about to be punished for a crime, sparking fierce but secret rebellion by the daughter. — [X]

Yash: Ooh, okay, I like this cover a lot. The colours should be kind of boring together, but they work so nicely. I don’t know why, I especially love the detail of the sakura pattern print for the dress. It just makes it so much more … real? Even though, something about the cover says speculative fiction? Anyway, I don’t know who Brian Hodge is, but I could stand to read a novelette about life without electronics and a rebellious daughter. On my TBR.

Jane: Pretty dress. Woah, talk about a limited write-up, though. Dystopia just isn’t my thing, and it feels like it’s been done and done and done and DONE. Seeing as it’s a novelette, which means limited commitment on my part, I might be inclined to give it a try.

Janet: The cover is subtly ominous and would be really good (instead of just good) if she had the top of her head. The back copy sounds like it is up Yash and Steph’s alleys.

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