The Cover Wars


Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Janet: An intriguing cover and an intriguing premise. I want to know more about Bone Gap – is it our world or another? How is Roza related to Finn and Sean? The premise gives very little away about what will happen, which I appreciate. I’d pick this up and flip through a few pages (and probably end up reading the whole thing, because that’s what happens when I start to read “just a few pages”).

Steph: How very curious. I suppose you all know already that the extinction of the pollinators here on Earth is an up and coming theme in YA fiction and I wonder how it will play into this novel. It sounds fascinating, like an intricate honeycomb of stories woven together. I hope that the arc is strong and I do hope that the world is a little magical because the situation seems very heavy and Earthbound. I think I might give it a read. How dauntingly long is it?

Nafiza: I like looking at this but I don’t know how much I want to read it. This is not about bees, that’s for certain, or at least the synopsis doesn’t suggest it is but for the bee to be on the cover, it must have some significance in the narrative. Right? Seems like the story will have elements of magical realism and if so, I wish they’d come right out and say so because that would make me want to read the book more. As it is, I’ll read some reviews before taking the plunge.

Yash: I like the cover! It has a bee! And the summary, though it does not connect with the bee (yet), is very intriguing. I am very excited to pick this up!


London. Girls are disappearing. They’ve all got one thing in common; they just don’t know it yet…

Sixteen-year-old Lily was meant to be next, but she’s saved by a stranger: a half-human boy with gold-flecked eyes. Regan is from an unseen world hidden within our own, where legendary creatures hide in plain sight. But now both worlds are under threat, and Lily and Regan must race to find the girls, and save their divided city.

Janet: Very unusual cover. This is a few way to do photographs, combining ultra-realism (you can even see the skin texture on the faces) with fantasy (the tail, the colouring). As with Bone Gap, this blurb knows when to stop, i.e. it doesn’t give everything away. One worry: the title and blurb suggest that the city is halved, or divided; interesting, as long as this doesn’t turn into the infuriating claim that people are only half themselves until they find their soulmate. But so long as that fallacy is absent, I’d be interested.

Steph: hmm Silhouettes, sorta, is that a dragon? A seahorse tail? Certainly smoke, the top of the White House, a Lotus flower? There is a lot going on on this cover, but the colours are appealing… sort of. I like the font. Actually, I think it might be the font that lets me know this is not a self-published cover… I don’t know. I always like alternate world/reality stories, particularly when worlds collide! There is just so much fodder there for plot development and world building, so much meat! But then we come to the cover… and I’m just not quite sold.

Nafiza: I may check this out pending reviews. I say a lot but really, I read reviews from bloggers/friends a lot and especially when I’m not sure about a book. Like Stephie says, the book has the potential to be awesome but there’s a male-saviour narrative thing going on and I’m so over that. Why can’t the girl save herself? That said, I do like the art on the cover – I just am not sure about the plain black background.

Yash: I like this cover too! Two in a row! And this time, the cover and the summary all add up- not that it takes the mystery away or anything. I love the colour scheme, I love that the “missing” girls are smoke-y and silhouetted, I love the various objects attached to them- everything is interesting about this cover! I would definitely pick it up!



Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she’s in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

Janet: I like the cover’s title cont, but that is about it. The plasticky heart doesn’t mean anything to me. I do wonder about the pins, so neat and orderly. The blurb promises suspense and a shade of horror (buttons sewn into her skin? Coraline!) with magic combined with the very-real-world (but completely unimaginable to most of us) witness protection program. I’m curious, but I might wait for Yash’s review.

Steph: Eve? If this is an Adam and Eve story I am out. Haha, I have to say I’m with Janet. The cover is intriguing, and I like the magical elements that are  hinted at, but it’s going to err on the side of romance… and perhaps cliche? I don’t know, I gotta get a review from a trusted Book Warrior first.

Nafiza: I know I chose this cover but I don’t remember why because gosh, this book made me so angry. ANGRY. Yep. That’s all I am going to say.

Yash: Okay, so you guys are going to have to wait a while for a review of this one- the cover doesn’t really appeal to me. It’s the cheesy heart-shaped thing (actual heart? pincushion?) being *eye-roll* pierced. *sigh* I am, however, happy about the summary. Particularly, I am happy that no male name showed up in the summary … there is a very slim chance this may be pure adventure/horror without romance. *gasp* Okay, fine, maybe I will pick this one up. Some time. Later.


High school senior Jonathan Aubrey creates worlds at will. In Kylie-Simms-is-my-girlfriend, he’s given himself everything he doesn’t have in real life-–the track team, passing grades, and his dream girl–-until one day he confuses his worlds and almost kisses the real Kylie Simms. Now his girlfriend Kylie and the real Kylie are changing, and Jonathan must solve the mystery of his own life to save his love from a gruesome fate.

Janet: The blurb’s second sentence promises humour, which is for me a stronger note to end on than What Jonathan Must Do. What I want to know most is about Jonathan’s worlds. Is dream-Kylie in any sense like (or actually an alternative) Kylie, or is she merely a compliant fantasy with real-Kylie’s appearance? Are the worlds real (alternative and related?) or entirely in Jonathan’s head? The answers to these questions will determine whether this is (to me) worth reading or not – because right now, I don’t know whether Jonathan sees Kylie as “his” dream/possession/ultimate prize,  or whether he has, through some odd ability, managed to find/create a world in which they actually know each other as people. Basically, I don’t know whether this novel looks at possibilities and relationships between persons with agency, or whether this is a fantasy-with-requisite-hot-girl-as-reward-for-male type story. It could be really bad or really good; I’ll wait to hear either way.

Steph: Ok… whoah… What? Too many alternate realities colliding! I never thought I’d say such a thing, but that little blurb blew my mind. I’m curious how the author will pull this one off, and I think that alone would have me venturing through the first chapter. I’m not a fan of the love angle as the pivot of the story – well, mostly because it sounds as though it’s the drama fall-out that will drive the story as opposed to the interesting… fantastical? Science fictional? World universe stuff. hmm. First chapter.

Nafiza: You guys, parallel worlds are the new dystopian of the YA world. But I don’t like this cover because floating heads do not do anything for me. And the synopsis is not really my thing either. Sooo, I will be passing on this.

Yash: Oh, wow, the cover is so extremely boring I couldn’t even bring myself to read the blurb. Sorry. I’ll pass on this one because the reality is that if I did encounter this cover in a bookstore, I would walk right past it. It will probably take someone I deeply trust to basically shove this book into my face while book-talking frantically in order to make me read even a page.

MHAOBH cover

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who seems scared of her, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel’s ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers the website Smooth Passages and its section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution. Better yet, a boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman), who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner.

But as their suicide pact starts to become more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, Aysel must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

Janet: I like the cover very much and the blurb is promising. Suicide is very hard to read about, though. It would depend on what the first few pages are like.

Steph: Interesting. The cover is very appealing and lets me know, via the font and the marker-like drawings, that we are going to get an up close and personal POV that may be epistemological. I like that, generally. I wonder how close to The Perks of Being a Wallflower we are going to get… Suicide is difficult to read about partly because anyone who would kill themselves needs a good motive and also have to be redeemable. Can I forgive the protagonist, is she going to be mopey or full of dark humour, how will her communications with this  boy be formatted and how will they sound – what is this “energy”? Is it magical? Is it romantic? If the solution to all the problems in life is love I might just gag, unless it’s done really really well…

Nafiza: It doesn’t how matter how awesome this book is going to be, I’m not going to read it because I can’t handle sad books. I mean, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher nearly broke me. I like the cover though. Quite a bit.

Yash: Wow. This cover is great! And the title is brilliant- funny and sad at the same time, which totally suits the summary. Perfect. I am very, very interested in this one. It could go wrong in a lot of ways, but I am willing to give it a chance … maybe even without the backing of other people’s reviews. This one, I would read for myself.


Following the events of Avalon, Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. Jeth is desperate to find the resources and funding he needs to rescue his mother from an ITA’s research lab and leave this whole galaxy behind for a new life somewhere else. But the ITA is just as desperate, and soon Jeth finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing Jeth and his crew—dead or alive. In a last-ditch effort to save everyone he holds dear, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Dax Shepherd, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. And he’s not the only one: upon arriving back at Peltraz spaceport for the first time since he witnessed the death of his old employer, Jeth discovers Dax has a new partner: Jeth’s mother, Marian.

Janet: There’s nothing wrong with either cover or blurb, they’re just completely not my thing. I mean that as neutrally as possible – they neither attract nor repel; there’s just a blank field of disinterest. Although it is pretty neat that the (teen? male) protagonist’s mother is a major player, and that she seems to have agency – at least, she is teaming up with a bad guy, which could reflect either very well on her ability to manage and survive, or very poorly on her judgement. Okay, with that in mind, if someone strongly recommends Avalon and Polaris to me, I’ll consider reading.

Steph: Yes. I think my fellow book warriors always put one cover in these posts that I will hands down pounce all over. This is it. Sci-fi, technology, series, polical intrigue, a little fantasy – there is already mystery! I  mean, so long as the character makes sense, as Janet mentioned, then I’m in. The cover is great (I like the back of the guy, though I’d be more sold without the guy, but then I guess we need perspective so we can keep him). Anyway. Yes.

Nafiza: I admit it, Stephie. This cover does not appeal to me at all but it had Stephie written all over it. I didn’t even realize it was a sequel despite it being written on the cover. That’s how cool I am, I guess.

Yash: Haha, yes, Steph is going to own this one. I have to say, I agree with Steph, the cover would be so much better without a guy at the bottom. (Ugh, actual people, why?) The rest of the design is great and the title is, well, okay, very sci-fi/fantasy. I like that it references both genres in a way. The summary sounds like we are, in fact, reading a sequel but the nice thing is, it isn’t confusing enough to deter you from picking it up. It’s intriguing enough for you to look up the first book. I’d read it if Steph gave it a thumbs up!