The Cover Wars


The Adventures of Lou Merriwether, Psychopomp

Gunslinging, chain smoking, Stetson-wearing Taoist psychopomp, Elouise “Lou” Merriwether might not be a normal 19-year-old, but she’s too busy keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades, and geung si to care much about that. It’s an important job, though most folks consider it downright spooky. Some have even accused Lou of being more comfortable with the dead than the living, and, well… they’re not wrong.

When Lou hears that a bunch of Chinatown boys have gone missing somewhere deep in the Colorado Rockies she decides to saddle up and head into the wilderness to investigate. Lou fears her particular talents make her better suited to help placate their spirits than ensure they get home alive, but it’s the right thing to do, and she’s the only one willing to do it.

On the road to a mysterious sanatorium known as Fountain of Youth, Lou will encounter bears, desperate men, a very undead villain, and even stranger challenges. Lou will need every one of her talents and a whole lot of luck to make it home alive…

Nafiza: *swoon* The cover is so badass and the synopsis is even more so. I don’t think this is strictly YA but since reverse crossover month is coming up, this one gets a YES GIMME from me.

Steph: I also love this cover! It is really clean and badass – a great character shot. I really had a hard time making out the title Vermilion? but that doesn’t deter me – particularly once I get to the back copy which promises something interesting and a little different. Ok, I mean you have your larger-than-life kick-ass 19 year-old girl who could never really exist, but still, it’s fun to dream – that’s fiction, right? Anyway, I think I’d give this a read. 🙂

Yash: I do love the cover, the art style, the palette, and title. I’m not so sold on the summary: apart from the age and the fact that she is taoist, it seems to me that it isn’t very different from other YA books that feature the faux Strong Female Character. I’m gonna need some convincing on this one. But, I agree with the rest, the cover is intriguing. I definitely would have picked it up at a bookstore to read the back.


Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

Nafiza: In this instance, the cover fails to be as mysterious and tempting as it tries to be but the synopsis is quite intriguing. I’m a sucker for books where the setting is almost a character in its own right. I may read a chapter or two of this.

Steph: I’m not really sold on this one. I kind of like the cover more than I like the back copy – there is some mystery there and I am intrigued by the setting based plot BUT I just have this naggling feeling that “pulse racing” guy is going to take over and I’m not really going to like this…

Yash: I love mysterious, creepy books but I’ve never read one where the story unfolds in a single building, let alone an old hotel. (No, don’t with the Stephen King okay! I said I love mysterious, creepy books but I also love to sleep.) I think the cover is kind of eye-catching too. The gilded doors and the girl in red whose face isn’t cut out and who isn’t wearing a corset? It’s not bad. All the gold is eye-catching too. And the name of the book relates to both the dress she’s wearing and the hotel, so maybe the hotel isn’t the only one with the secrets? I am, however, sensing that there won’t be much diversity in this book. I hope I’m wrong because I do want to read this one.


‘The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.’ Robert Louis Stevenson

Nick hates it when people call him a genius. Sure, he’s going to Cambridge University aged 15, but he says that’s just because he works hard. And, secretly, he only works hard to get some kind of attention from his workaholic father.

Not that his strategy is working.

When he arrives at Cambridge, he finds the work hard and socialising even harder. Until, that is, he starts to cox for the college rowing crew and all hell breaks loose…

Nafiza: I really really like this type of paper-cut designs. I’m not even sure if paper cut is even the right thing to call it. Whatever it is, I really like it. I read Casale’s previous book and it was way different than I had imagined it would be. The synopsis is intriguing and I always like reading about geniuses, especially angsty ones. I’d pick this up.

Steph: While I like the art of the cover and the colours – it is very striking – I’m not sure I’m too into the plot that we get on the back copy. The rowing team is kind of interesting, and I’m thinking this is just a nice coming of age story with some angst, some very upside-down situations and then it’ll all be smooth and life will continue in the end. I think I will wait for Nafiza’s review before I delve in.

Yash: Didn’t we see a book with similar paper cut style? Bone Dragon or Paper Something … no? *shrug* I feel like we’ve looked at a cover by the same artist before. Anyway, it’s not as pretty as last time but it is intriguing enough for me to pick it up and read the back … and yeahh, I may not be interested in boy genius stories anymore. Buuuut, I can see this doing well. I like that it is centres on the rowing team? Does it maybe involve nearly drowning and consequently, being able to see ghosts? (Sorry, not over Shadow Cabinet just yet.)


Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

Nafiza: Okay, this cover is a bit cool and I’d be totally 100% behind it had the title not been cut in two. I don’t like that. At all. The synopsis was interesting until I got to the last sentence. Why is it up to Joy to find out why? Is it her job? Why is it her responsibility? Or is it one of those “I’m the only special snowflake who notices that things are not right” kind of a deal? Eh, I dunno. I’d have to wait for the reviews to make up my mind about this one.

Steph: Mercedes Lackey – yes. The cover – very Seraphina-esque, so that’s alright (but WHY do they have to break up words like that? I really don’t like it…). But then we get to “Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks” and I can’t help but roll my eyes – like all the way around. Why is it up to only ONE girl to figure out why? Still, what I will give this synopsis is that it piques my curiosity in a very specific way. I always say that The Hunger Games  would really  be a dystopia if someone from the Capitol had been the protagonist, slowly awakening to their dystopia (think The Giver and 1984) this book sounds like it’s going to do just that I might just read it, despite all the tropes, to see how it plays out.

Yash: I like the cover and title, LOVE THE DRAGON, but really, unless you want to bring in the huns at some point, not sure why the title had to be split in two? Though I can see how it kind of hides the dragon? I’d totally pick this one in the store and the summary is pretty interesting, but I personally need a break from the reality show type narrative. Maybe someday. It does have a dragon right?


Four talented teenagers are traumatized-coping with grief, surviving date rape, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults–and they’ll do anything to escape the pressure. They’ll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them… until they learn the only way to escape reality is to face it head-on.

Nafiza: I know that people love A. S. King and her brand of realistic fiction. However, her books and I are not friends, probably because I don’t care too much for realistic fiction in the first place. As for the cover of this one…I understand what it’s doing and I think it might be effective with the target audience. But the synopsis doesn’t tell me much and it would have to take someone pushing the book into my hands for me to give it a try.

Steph: Meh. What Nafiza said, actually. Almost exactly, except that I haven’t given A.S. King a try before, but that’s because it just doesn’t appeal to me. The cover is alright – kind of a copy of All the Bright Places but blander.

Yash: I’ve never read A. S. King. I like the idea behind the cover and how well it corresponds to the summary. It’s pretty clever. I think the summary is interesting too (why do they have to be exceptionally talented teens though, I have no idea– can we stop with that?) … I just really wish that last line wasn’t there. It makes it sound too much like a cheesy movie trailer that has been voiced over by Morgan Freeman. In any case, I’m intrigued.


When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Nafiza: This is adorable. Both the cover and the synopsis. I’d read this.

Steph: Wow – that sounds kind of great? Like Simon Birch sorta, I think this kind of realistic story would appeal to me because it seems more child centred and driven. I tend to really like this kind of realistic fiction, where the child takes the lead and finds their way through society and BIG (but really very small) trials of their own life. The cover is also very simple and very cute, but that’s not really what convinces me that I will read this. The back copy has sold me and look how short it is! Good stuff.

Yash: I do so love this! The cover is simple. The summary is similarly clean and without any dramatic cliches … an easy win. Sign me up!