The Cover Wars

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Maya, her mother Nalini, and her brother Satchin have left a carefree life in India to come to England. But when Maya’s father disappears, leaving only deceit and debt behind, they are left to fend for themselves in a strange, damp land. Maya, though, doesn’t know of her father’s betrayal. Nalini, determined to preserve her children’s pride, tells them that their father died in an accident and, as their struggle to make a life begins, whole realities are built on this lie. But even a white lie cannot remain hidden forever— and when the truth resurfaces, it changes everything.

Janet: I like this cover! The one thing that bothers me is that Maya’s face is half cut off. But I like her visibility, her clothes, the colour scheme, the tea and unidentified, brightly coloured treats… The synopsis is much less carefree than the cover is, but despite the Impending Doom that is a family melt-down on the horizon and Maya’s slightly awkward pose, the cover is so fantastic (even the tagline is great) that I want to read this anyway. Now. Asap, please.

Steph: The cover is kind of “meh” for me – if I didn’t read the back copy then I would assume this to be a chick-lit romance story with all the pink and the cute treats for two and the roller skates (skating or rollerskating seems to be a romantic thing in books and T.V.). Despite the POC, I’m not necessarily interested in the cover alone. The synopsis on the other-hand gives me a completely different, and more interesting, story: a story about family secrets and identity with no romance to be heard of. This conflict between the cover and the back copy, and this story’s obvious lack of the uncanny or dystopia (haha, realistic fiction is so hard for me to settle into),  has me wary and so I think I’ll just wait for a review first.

Nafiza: I like the marriage between modern and traditional in the cover (the rollerskates and the sari) though I caution people to not attempt this. Ever. Not unless they have a death wish. I like the brightness of the cover and I LOVE the essentially Indian chai. I do not like that Maya’s face is cut off but then apparently it seems POC cannot be fully visible on a cover. They either have to be in silhouette or missing half their faces. The back copy is compelling. I believe I will hunt down a copy of this one and read it soon.

Yash: Oooh! So, I like the light colours and all the green! It’s soothing on the eyes. As everyone has said, not a fan of the cut off face. (Also, is it fashionable to have one’s blouse that loose? Not trying to be bitchy. Genuinely asking.) But the cover is too eye-catching. I’ve skated before, and I’ve worn saris but I’ve never done both at the same time! I hope they go into that scene in the book– it looks fun. And wow, even that chai looks like something out of a Taj or Brooke Bond tea ad. I would totally pick this one up and read the back. And given that the summary sounds fun, I think I’d read it.

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Up in the magical, wrinkled hills, Linny breaks an ancient law. No matter how musical a girl may be, she must not so much as touch a string of a lourka before she turns twelve, or she’ll be spirited off to Away. When the curse meant for her strikes her best friend instead, Linny must leave her home behind to try to set things right. If you walk down out of the wrinkled hills, you will never find your way home–everyone knows that other law. But Linny has the gift of not getting lost, and she will risk everything to rescue her friend. With her father’s young apprentice, Elias, she travels down into the Plain, where science may have found a cure for magic. Linny and Elias soon find themselves caught up in the age-old battle between the wrinkled places and the Plain. Can Linny keep the fractured land from falling apart—and save her best friend?

Janet: Musical girls and friendship. I am in. The cover strikes the right note of colour and adventureousness to match what the synopsis suggests of Linny’s character. I’m not sure why the age of Elias (“young”) is important unless the suggestion is romance (PLEASE NO); that is, however, a minor fault in what looks like a fun middle grade read.

Steph: Ok – the cover is great, I like the art style and the cat (you can’t go wrong with a cat!) I like her determined look, the instrument and all the sparklys of magic (it is a little too clean perhaps, but it’s MG – what do you expect?). The back copy has me confused and curious. There is a lot of world building going on and halfway through we get a mention of science and the Plain versus the wrinkled places and I can only grasp at straws to try and figure out what’s really going on. Still, on the surface we have a story about friendship in a magical world with a cat guide/friend and a dangerous adventure – all I have to hope for is that the world will fall into place nicely as the story unravels. I’m in.

Nafiza: (I’ve misspelled my name twice now. I’m tired.) Anyway, the cover does not intrigue me. I don’t know if it’s the style or the palette but I just don’t like it. I also do not like the absolutes used in the synopsis like “must not” “must” whatever. Call me a rebel but my hackles are raised. Also the synopsis is far too tell-ey for me. But the cat with the weird eyes remains cool. I like it. Not enough to read this one though.

Yash: I like the synopsis for this one. And I’ve been wanting to read more books that deal with musical protagonists (because of Janet’s post) and this one has friends and fantasy and a cat! The cover’s style blends with a lot of other MG covers, but I still like it. If Janet gives it a thumbs up, I’m in.

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When a daredevil teen pushes herself too far, she must choose between two boys: the one who wants to keep her safe, and the one who dares her to return to her old self.

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a family of risk takers and is an avid thrill-seeker herself, until the day she splinters her ankle in a terrible fall. Her whole life goes from mountain biking and rock climbing to sitting at home and attending group sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center that her hippie mother found. The boy who witnessed Dyna’s accident believes her injury is a wakeup call and he encourages her mild new lifestyle, but a young Afghanistan War veteran she meets at the healing center pushes her to start taking chances again. Forced to face the consequences of her daredevil impulses, Dyna finds herself in danger of risking the one thing she’s always treated with caution—her heart.

Janet: The figure on the cover is in a horribly awkward pose, and yes, I get that this is probably a reference to her fall, but really, if she’s falling head-first it wouldn’t be her ankle in danger of splintering. So I don’t get it, and I don’t like the title font. Is Dyna’s name a shorthand for her character (dynamite)? I’m not impressed by the romance-focused synopsis or the obvious binary set-up of the two love interests. This might appeal to a lot of readers, but I am not among them.

Steph: Not for me, thanks. From the cover (Janet said it all, those shoulders look painful and I’d expect a broken face over an ankle… perhaps we’re too literal, but come on, that pose is ridiculous!) to the the first line of the synopsis, which I wouldn’t read past. I’m out.

Nafiza: I like the sheer thrill of the cover. She’s fallling and it looks exhilarating until she falls flat on the pavement, of course. Still, the synopsis shoves me out right away. This will definitely appeal to teens but it’s definitely not my thing.

Yash: Haha, I was juts talking to a friend about people who climb Everest who should maybe instead consider sitting at home and watching Everest the documentary instead. As you can tell, nothing about the cover appeals and I’m afraid the punny title isn’t enough to make me pick it up. And since I’d walk by, no use in commenting on the synopsis, is there?

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Five gifted teenagers are selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace was sealed after the aristocrats fled there. No one has set foot in it for over two centuries.

Now, in the present day, the teenagers enter with cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art security, scientists and chaperones. And then a brutal accident occurs. No way out. Caught in the dark.

They will have to fight to survive. But are they really alone in the depths?

Janet: Okay *reluctantly impressed* that is a pretty neat cover. Very suitable for a horror story, what with the dark and limited hues, the square foreboding building, the bare-branched trees, the hyper-real earth photo, and the young woman running in an empty (ancient, ornate) hall. Not so crazy about the “five gifted teenagers” thing – clearly I’m getting old. Or the trope is. But *reluctantly impressed again* the synopsis has appeal. Horror is Steph and Yash’s thing. Maybe one of them will read and let me know?

Steph: I too admire the cover. I actually like the way they split the images with the title – the creepy building and then the one beneath it (which, we discover, is really underneath). The back copy has me a little wary, yes of course we need a premise to bring the young, larger-than-life teens (yawn, I’m with Janet, this trope is getting tiresome) into the horror story but… what’s the reasoning here? Will I buy it? Why would anyone want teens (who of course have to have chaperones) explore an ancient French palace? What are their special prowesses that make them desireable for this mission? I think I want to know up front because as it stands I’m not so tempted to read the story.

Nafiza: I really like Bachman’s work and I suppose I’ll check this out because of that. I’m not so sure about this cover though. I like the upper part but I don’t like the lower part. Still, the synopsis is intriguing and I’m all about special powers or gifts or whatever you want to call them. I’ll read this one.

Yash: Oooh! THIS SOUNDS GOOD! I’m kind of feeling meh about the cover. I get the above/below look they were trying to go for but it feels like two different covers and the one below is the one that caught my attention, since I love the title. I must admit that I did feel creeped out by that lone light in the palace, which may also have contributed to me going through the synopsis. And yes. Yes, I want this book. Now. Please.

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After ten years of being told she can’t tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she’s going crazy.

Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.

But all is not well in Wonderland.

The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful.

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows.

Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace.

With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.

Janet: I thought seeing “Alice” with photoshop-perfect (typically sexualized) hair, those awkward posedly-helpless-girly-girl arms, and a disgusting, splintered sword was bad (and if Alice is ten years older, why is she still dressed like a child?), until I read this: “But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?” *Vomits* What the! That is disgusting. The rest of the synopsis is bland and trite. If Lewis Carroll’s Alice is wondrous, this is the aforementioned plain – no, downright ugly – replacement. Ugh, ugh, and ugh again.

Steph: Haha oh man. I just don’t know. This could be awesome but it could be terrible too. Did anyone else play that old Alice computer game? Where crazy Alice has to go through and restore Wonderland in order to get home – she has the vorpal blade and everything. This sounds similar but then also thrown into the mix are various fairy tales – because, why the heck not? The cover is alright for the kind of recklessly gory mixed mash-up of stories that I’m expecting… I’m just on the fence with whether or not I’ll like it or hate it…

Nafiza: Hehehe. Janet said it.

Yash: *shrinks away* No, thank you.