The Cover Wars


Wherein we judge books by their covers, their blurbs and with our own biases 😉


It’s senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn’t prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe’s new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she’s been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn’t prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don’t involve Annabeth. Without Noe’s constant companionship, Annabeth’s world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she’s really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Steph: Meh. The cover is kind of meh and the back copy is also kind of meh. It’s a coming of age story about a girl (I can tell mostly because there are birds on the cover which always indicates a girl’s growth). The cover has a very dull look to it, the girl looking skyward *shrugs* alright, not very subtle. The back copy describes a lot of realistic coming of age fiction. I think it may be interesting to read about a falling out of friendship as opposed to a falling into love, but I’m not totally convinced that’s really what I’m going to get here…

Janet: I would like the cover more if it looked a little more real, instead of instagram-style-hued. I don’t mind the birds, because I like birds (living birds) and I don’t read books that have covers which equate birds with girls (therefore I wouldn’t notice this trend if my friends didn’t point it out); also because birds soaring in the sky works as an image of reaching for infinity. A story about the decay of a friendship could be interesting; witness Born Confused.

Nafiza: I rather like this cover. I think staring up at the sky is a good way of seeking or expressing the infinite without getting to dramatic about (you may be getting obvious but that’s another story). I also like how the tagline makes you think it’s a romantic relationship they’re talking about when it’s friendship (at least I think it’s only friendship, I may be wrong). Still. I’d give this a try. Especially for our friendship month. But alas, it’s not out by then so I guess if I see it, I’ll give it a read. Maybe.

Yash: Janet, why you gotta knock Instagram filters? *Instagrams aggressively* First impression of the cover: I kinda like it. It may not be very remarkable and I might forget about it once I put the book down, but it is pretty enough to grab my attention. I like that the girl isn’t cropped and appears to have a head– a great start. I like the font. I like that the tagline’s “you” could refer to so many people in Annabeth’s life. Oh, and I like how weirdly ambiguous the summary is about Noe– we have no idea what their gender is, do we? I wonder if that was on purpose? Anyway, I like it. But I’d prefer my soul-searching with a dash of magic and adventure, so perhaps this isn’t for me.


For twelve-year-old Lucy Crandall, the last week of August is the most perfect time in the world. It’s the week she gets to spend with Grams at the lake house, canoeing, baking cookies, and glazing pots in Grams’s potting shed. Grams has a way of making Lucy feel centered, like one of the pots on her kick wheel—perfect, steady, and completely at peace. But this summer, Grams doesn’t seem to be exactly the person she once was. And as the week turns into a roller coaster of surprises—some good, some awful—Lucy can’t help but wonder: Will things ever be centered again?

Steph: The cover immediately drew to mind the Babysitter’s Club covers, you know, the old ones that were baby blue and pink and had some sort of scene with the girls on the cover. The whole scenario – rich white girl gets to hang out for a week with her Grams in the lap of luxury (but not quite!) is a little too familiar and as such is meant to appeal to a broad female-white audience. What I wish we had was just a little more detail. I am curious about what sort of changes Grams is going through and I need just a little bit more of a hint in which direction this book will take us. As it is, Grams could be simply getting older, she could be suffering from an onset of alzheimers or maybe she’s a witch or an undercover spy, maybe a dragon tamer or even a ghost!! Neither the cover nor the back copy really tells me much and therefore I’m not drawn into the pages of this book, so I’m going to have to pass.

Janet: That canoe paddle in the water worries me. So does the paddle on the canoe, for that matter – not a secure way to place a paddle. The cover vibe is slightly graphic-novelly and does not speak to me of fantasy; like Steph, I suspect Alzheimers. (Although, plot twist, maybe that’s only what we’re meant to think.) Gram being a potter is specific and intriguing; however, the synopsis overstates the perfection of Lucy and Gram’s relationship.

Nafiza: I really like this cover though I suspect it has less to do with the book and more to do with the fact that it reminds me of Fiji. I like the vividness of the blue though the paddles being in the water is concerning. I have a spot spot for grandma/granddaughter stories so I will give this a try.

Yash: Look, you guys, it has water on the cover. You could have won me over with a picture of someone doing pottery (I WANNA LEARN), but the water makes me panic. Also, if it so happens that the grandmother is, in fact, possessed … could someone let me know? Because then I’d totally pick it up! I mean, why would a girl feel “centred” only with her demon-possessed-granny around, hmm? I need that question answered, actually. Can someone please work on this book?


(Synopsis of first book as this one is book is 3)

For years, tales of DRAGONS from another world kidnapping and enslaving humans have been circulating in Jason Masters’s world, while for a slave girl named Koren, the stories of a human world seem pure myth. Together, these two teens will need to bridge two planets in order to overthrow the draconic threat and bring the lost slaves home. What if the Legends Are True?

Jason Masters doubted the myths that told of people taken through a portal to another realm and enslaved by dragons. But when he receives a cryptic message from his missing brother, he must uncover the truth and find the portal before it is too late. At the same time, Koren, a slave in the dragons’s realm, discovers she has a gift that could either save or help doom her people. As Jason and Koren work to rescue the enslaved humans, a mystic prophecy surrounding a black egg may make all their efforts futile.”

Steph: Well, I have to admit this is more my speed. It’s a very pretty, shiny cover and I love the look of the dragon on the cover – it’s kind of heavy and lizard-y as opposed to sleek (as some dragons are portrayed), this and the use of the word “Diviner” on the cover would have me curious enough to read the back copy. Once there however, I get a little nervous. I like the idea of sci-fi mixed with fantasy but I worry, there is going to be a dual perspective here and that can get a little cludgy depending on the author and the story – and this story sounds complex, with a whole new setting, a creative mythos, a culture and technology that will need exploring and expanding… I’m intrigued, but I’m wary. I think that I’d give the first book a gander, read through the first chapter and see how I feel.

Janet: Bwa ha ha. Dragons and slaves and cryptic messages and mysterious*cough*magical gifts and a prophecy. Also a dragon with cat-glowing eyes atop a suitably ivy-wreathed, marble-pillared platform, and a background sky that hasn’t decided what time of the day (or night) it is. But setting aside all that, the premise isn’t terribly convincing. Why set up a inter-species conflict when humans are perfectly capable of enslaving and oppressing other humans? I suppose having Evil Dragon Overlords to loathe and overthrow is more dramatic, i.e. makes the solution more complicated than “justified” genocide (er, dracocide?). I am in no way convinced to give this a try. Steph, it’s all yours.

Nafiza: Ah, even though I like this cover a lot, I’m not touching this because of the words “slave girl.” Not my thing.

Yash: I’m with Nafiza on this one. Steph would have to give an exceptionally impassioned review for me to pick this one up.


Forget everything you know about grim reapers. Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered. Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.

Steph: Interesting concept, sort of. You know that old movie called Toothfairy with Kirsty Alley, she dies and becomes the tooth fairy and then finds out all sorts of secrets about her family and friends and makes good friends in the afterlife etc etc… well I’m forseeing some of this goofiness and plotting. It also sounds similar to that other recent release about the Princess whose touch kills people or something. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The cover is eye catching, I’m not sure how clean everything should really be (where’s the blood? But then, maybe that’s hinting at the goofiness of the story?). Anyway, I think I’ll await another book warriors assessment before I plunge into this one.

Janet: Ooh, I like the grain of the wood handle and the sheen on that blade. That, actually, is about enough to make me forgive that absurdly two-dimensional crown. I like how little information the synopsis gives us. We have a name, a rough guess as to Princess Ophelia Dacre’s character (mildly rule-breaking), and a taste of the narrative tone (light-hearted without flippancy). We don’t know how the story will turn out or what the main conflict will be, and I like that. The only thing I don’t like (aside from that crown) is the detail of the name change. Why must she “become” Leila Bele, and what does that entail, apart from being a reaper instead of a living princess? If I see this in, uh, flesh (in paper?) I’d be interested enough to test the first few pages.

Nafiza: This sounds like it could be entirely amusing or entirely nauseating. I like the quirkiness of the cover so I will fall on the side of the hopefully amusing. I’d read this.

Yash: Confession- I love the cover so much, I didn’t bother reading the summary. I do, however, intend on reading the book. *scrolls up* Okay, I read the summary, and her name is Ophelia AND CAN SOMEONE JUST GIMME THIS BOOK ALREADY!


This bold, compelling and topical story about bullying is told from the perspective of the bully and the bullied. You won’t be able put it down until you’ve reached the conclusion. Jess’s life is difficult enough without Kez picking on her – it’s turning school from a safe place into a nightmare. Kez has plenty of problems too but she finds comfort in knowing she is better off than Jess – or so she thinks. A hard-hitting and even-handed look at bullying and the issues facing teenagers today.

Steph: OMG it took me forever to see the number 7 there! I kind of like the cluttered cover as reminiscent of the cluttered minds of teenaged girls – all the things girls worry about and think about! It’s written out like a note, which is a nice touch but does make it hard to read it all. The back copy is compelling, bullying is always a tough topic to both write and read about and it’s interesting to see what a different writer will make of it. I know that this will be a painful read, so I’m hesitant… I’ll let others read and review it first. The one thing I dread is when a bullying story is tied up neatly and nicely at the end… it’s never so easy in real life.

Janet: Ha ha, I saw the 7 as a Z because of the author’s name. (Oops!) The words on the cover reveal too much, and without context they lose their bite, since they appear to come from several voices which aren’t fully differentiated without a context. The synopsis seems to be aimed at adults rather than at the target audience of teenagers (“topical story about bullying… You won’t be able to put it down until you’ve reached the conclusion… the issues facing teenagers today”) which is a bit odd. The middle sentences (“Jess’s life” to “or so she thinks”) are rather more compelling, and I would be interested in reading it if 1. Another Book Warrior recommends it, or 2. The first few pages have enough grip.

Nafiza: I think I’m done with this trend of using words to make up faces/images/whatever. And it’s usually about the same kind of thing and yes, I get that it’s an extended metaphor of sorts, talking about the tangibility that words, particularly the cruel ones, seem to gain. But I think that’s one bush that has been beaten way too many times. This cover doesn’t do anything for me. :\

Yash: I like this cover. I like how these (awful) words overpower your sight and distorts how you see the cover. I think it works well with the subject matter of the book, and I think I’d like to read this one … even if it makes me cry. Which it probably will. *sigh*