Wherein we judge books by their covers! It’s fun, and it’s true and we welcome your input!
He says: You’re an awful person.
He says: What makes you think I would ever ask you out?
He says: The world would be a better place without you in it.
Lara just got told off on Facebook.
She thought that Christian liked her, that he was finally going to ask her to his school’s homecoming dance. They’ve been talking online for weeks, so what’s with the sudden change? And where does he get off saying horrible things on her wall? Even worse – are they true?
It’s been a long time since Lara’s felt this bad, this depressed, this ugly. She’s worked really hard to become pretty and happy – and make new friends after what happened in middle school.
Bree used to be best friends with overweight, depressed Lara, but constantly listening to Lara’s issues got to be too much. Secretly, Bree’s glad Christian called Lara out. Lara’s not nearly as amazing as people think. But no one realized just how far Christian’s harsh comments would push Lara. Not even Bree.
As online life collides with real life, things spiral out of control, and not just for Lara. Because when the truth starts to come together, the backlash is even more devastating than anyone could have ever imagined
Nafiza: Wow, the synopsis and the cover of the story don’t match at all. Sure, the phone maybe suggests social media (it didn’t to me) but the colours used are bright and invoke a fluffy feel. So I totally thought this was going to be one of those fluffy romance stories. Now, this is just speculation but I feel Lara is going to commit suicide and these kids are going to have to deal with the consequences. Also, how does Lara even know that it’s Christian who has written that and not someone else who hacked into his FB? I don’t know. I think I’m more interested by the synopsis than the cover. I’d read the book to see if Lara does indeed commit suicide because she was essentially told that the world would be better without her in it (wow). Or does she rise above such bastardly sentiments and prove to Christian (if he was indeed the writer) that she has no need of his sentiments and haters can go to the freaking left.
Janet: Nafiza’s right: the colours of the cover imply romance-fluff. I kind of like the juxtaposition of the shallow, surface-level phone cover and the hurtful content she reads on the phone, though. I also like that the back of the smartphone is what we see. I don’t care for fancy phones in part for this reason: they are a method of social exclusion (who in the group that is standing right there does the phone’s owner let to see the videos or photos on it?). We don’t see the content, we don’t see Lara’s face. What we see is that she is pushing us away with a method of communication. So while I’m not crazy about the cover for its own sake, it works with the blurb, and the blurb is intriguing because we have a flawed protagonist and multiple character’s colliding perspectives. I expect revenge, not suicide. Hope so, anyway.
Steph: I’m a little torn – at first I thought this would be romance-y, the cover has all the tropes, a girl without a face, nail polish, pink lettering and a fluffy phone cover. Then, reading the back copy I guess I can see the connection (haha). The thing with social media and distant forms of communication is that it’s not immediately apparent that there is a problem – the phone looks cute and charming, but really it’s evil. That’s what I’m saying. 🙂 Ok, I think after I read the back, I understand the cover. However, I think that the cover is a very safe choice because it could match up to any number of stories and genres, so I don’t think that I would pick it up if I were to pass it on the shelves at a bookstore.
Yash: I kinda like that the tone of the cover and the summary sends some conflicting reactions. Serves us right to judge the fluffiness! I like the odd detail of uneven nails, the ring (I wonder if there is a significance to the story, if not, why the ring?), and the cutesy phone cover. These details, the colours on the cover, and the font work very well together, somehow. I may actually forgive the hiding of the face. I’m pretty interested in reading this one.
(No synopsis available but this seems to be a book aimed at girls to help them through life stuff and adolescence.)
Nafiza This is so adorable and I would pick it up and flip through it. I mean, it’s Gemma Correll and if the insides have the same kind of illustrations, I’m sold.
Janet: I just don’t like the style of cover where the title is made up of the illustrations. Also, I wasn’t aware that I needed to be told how to be a girl. I wouldn’t pick this up.
Steph: Was I the only one that tried to make a word out of the bottom images? There isn’t one, is there? I like the illustrations but in general I’m with Janet on this. I don’t like the presumption that I need to be told how to be a girl – and most likely this girl won’t be anything like me, she’ll be unrealistically quippy, she won’t think she is but she will be very pretty and charming, and look – she uses lipstick, I don’t do that. What I’m saying is that any other title would have been better than this one… How to be *insert character’s name* for instance? UNLESS this turns out to be some LGTBQ read or something, and then I think there will be issues with its acknowledging the need for a gender identity and a whole ‘nother can of worms has been opened… I’m a no.
Yash: GEMMA CORRELL!!! I am so in!!! There are many books by men on “how to be” for women. I am liking this idea more. I also think it won’t be a step-by-step guide on what makes a “real” girl because (most) women, especially those who write YA, know there isn’t a singular way of representing gender. Oh, and I really like how the cover includes some of the less “comfortable” aspects of being a girl with images like the tampon and the hairy leg … I don’t know how the farting pug fits in, but it pretty much sealed the deal for me. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy this one.
16-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.
As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies – a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?
Nafiza: I usually run a mile from any book with the title “Daughter” in it but this one seems interesting and I do have an ARC of it so I guess we’ll see. I do really like the cover though. I feel almost as suffocated as she looks in that glass flask. Imagine being stuck there? *shudder* The details and the colours are nice as well.
Janet: I like the flask, the colour scheme, the ornate brass detail, and the premise of an executioner. I don’t like the girl trapped in the bottle, the title, or the arranged-marriage/forbidden-love plot, or the very likely evil queen. (Why are queens always evil?) Although the cover is (largely) very appealing, the trapped girl in a fetal position with nebulous swirling robes (or something) is much too typical of horrible romances for my taste, and the blurb only confirms this. I will leave this for Nafiza.
Steph: OK, playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship? Am I the only one reading sexy things in there? I also question the whole “murder in her veins” line, I mean if she’s a goddess with this power wouldn’t she be worshipped, wouldn’t it be seen as a blessing or a gift to the kingdom and not a curse? Can she turn it on and off or is this like a Rogue thing (X-Men) where she kills by touching anyone, in which case, ok, kind of sucky, but hey! There are guys out there she can have, I wonder if there are any girls who are immune… that’d be cool. Anyway, it seems like this girl has got the wrong attitude, she’s going to be a meek character pushed around until she has to become a kick-ass hero. I’ve read this before, and I’m not sure I’m in for it. It’ll have to get stellar reviews before I read it. Oh, and the cover is very typical of romance, so it doesn’t really stand out for me. Is she in a perfume bottle?
Yash: I like the font, and the colours, and … Yup. *slides away anime-style* I will leave this one to the adventurous one we call Nafiza.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.
But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.
Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch already has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.
Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.
Nafiza: Wow, normally, this kind of realistic drama full of pain and angst would completely not be my thing but the synopsis is gripping. The cover too appeals to me. I like that the tag is shown in the headlights and the car seems to go off course. The font of the title and author name matches and makes me happy. I like the red as well. And I love illustrated covers. So awesome. I may check this out.
Janet: I like the play on convict in the title. The cover doesn’t appeal to me – it’s nice, just not my taste. The synopsis is complex and interesting. I’ll wait for someone to recommend this to me.
Steph: I like the cover a lot, and I like the title. The crashed and crumpled car, while typical of these realistic drama stories, is appealing here. For me, though, the back copy jumped all over the place. We went from ten years ago to the revelation that the sentence previous wasn’t true and then to baseball and then the ultimate choice! I’m just muddled – maybe a simpler back copy, start with baseball and intertwine more artfully that overarching life drama? Anyway, the copy hasn’t got me, but the cover does. I’ll wait for Nafiza’s review on this one.
Yash: So, I love the way the title is spelled out, I love the colour-scheme, and the simple font. You know what’s awkward though? As I took in the cover I had a suspicion that with a cover so elegant and “serious”, it would have a male protagonist. I am kind of pissed off that I was right?! *looks over at cover for Backlash* Anyway, I do like the cover, but the summary (with it’s focus on family drama and struggling with faith) indicates that it is not really for me.
Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whoever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.
Nafiza: I am so happy they gave this one an appropriate cover. The novel is not as focused on romance as the synopsis makes it sound. It does follow Jessamy who runs in an arena with obstacles she must surmount in order to win. So yes, the cover matches the content. This is a fantastic book (I read a draft) and I’m so excited to read the finished version. Yep. (Plus, all POC characters.)
Janet: I like the the synopsis downplays the romance in favour of family and court scheming. The cover’s intricate designs and the colour-scheme suggestion of dust, gold, stone, fire, and sun are lovely. My only concern is the tagline. I do not want this to be a story where the female protagonist has (for some obscure and unconvincing reason) to lose to some boy. But I’d risk it. This looks good.
Steph: I like the cover, it is reminiscent of the gladiatorial games (which have been featuring often in YA literature of late… Hunger Games *cough*) but I like that it focuses on the action and not romance. The back copy also focuses on the intrigue and the action and not really any romance, more a test of loyalty and friendship and compatibility, which I look forward too more than steamy make-out sessions on the run. With the Nafiza stamp of approval, and the appeal of the cover, I think I’d read this.
Yash: YAY! NEW KATE ELLIOTT! So, the maze-like thing in the centre is interesting and all, but what I kinda like is the circular pattern around it. I love the feel of it having been carved on stone and sand and I feel like the patterns were derived from a mixture of civilizations. I like it what that could mean. (I’d be apprehensive if it was any other writer, though.) Yeah, of course, I’m gonna have to get my hands on this.
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
Nafiza: I don’t like this all that much but then again, I didn’t like the first one either. Not a series though set in the same world as the previous one. The green feels garish and I dunno, it just doesn’t really work for me. However, I did enjoy the first one a whole lot despite the cover so I’m going to give this one a try as well.
Janet: Those trees should not mutate in greens so quickly. The tagline, impossible stairs, and flowing-red-robed female figure tell me that this will be horribly romance-centric. Without reading, I can’t say for certain that the whole saving-the-realm-from-eternal-darkness thing will prove to me a thin veneer overlaying the actual structure (romance narrative), but the cover and synopsis inform me in no uncertain terms that yes, it will. *Sigh* I should probably clarify that I am not opposed to romance, per se, but I object to adventure or self-discovery or healing journeys being hijacked by an all-consuming romance narrative (or, to be more blunt: non-romance elements serving solely as pretext or excuse for the romance) where Love Conquers All, i.e. female protagonist sacrifices her autonomy, personal interests, all other relationships, and/or life for the sake of some generally very unattractive male character, and the message is that this relationship is somehow worth it. (Secondary complaint: apparently only by falling in love with some less than stellar boy can a girl save the world.)
Steph: What Janet said. In addition – while I like that the girl has to protect the guy, it seems unlikely that she would just drag him out on this mission – I worry that throughout we are going to get unbelievable motivations from the characters surrounding our heroine in order to move the plot along. I’m a no unless urged otherwise by important parties.
Yash: Is this a series? Cruel Beauty or something was the first one … oh wait! It says on the cover! Ooh! *taps head* Memory like a steel trap! 😀 *ahem* Yeah, I don’t think I was attracted to the first book’s cover either, though I remember thinking that the rose turning into stairs was clever. I don’t think we have that sweet visual trickery in this one. I really dislike the blurb- who gets to decide what goes on the cover? It can’t be the writer. So, who was it, huh? *taps foot* That is not a nice blurb. I am not loving the title either. I dunno. At times like this, I feel bad judging by the cover. Maybe the writing will be amazing and subversive and feminist … but the cover just doesn’t draw me in. Maybe I will wait for the reviews. I love Little Red Riding Hood so much, I shall be patient.