The Cover Wars

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On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But then a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, upending all logic and stranding Mira’s mother and brother on the mainland. Nothing will ever be the same. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira’s home. A friend obsessed with vanishing disappears. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on—to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future. Gripping and poetic, This Is the Story of You is about the beauty of nature and the power of family, about finding hope in the wake of tragedy and recovery in the face of overwhelming loss.

Steph: Interesting cover, I kind of like the dual tone we have going here, it hints at, perhaps, bi-polar personality or memory loss (which is turns out to be in the back copy!). The back copy is succinct, something we see too little of, and pulls me in just enough to say yeah, if I stumble across it I’ll probably pick it up.

Nafiza: Kephart’s stories are not always an automatic favourite but man, her writing is always out of this world. Small Damages is one of my all time favourite books and I have always appreciated how Kephart sets her stories in different places. I have an ARC of this one so you’ll be seeing a review. The cover is okay; I wouldn’t pick up the book based on it or even the synopsis if I wasn’t already a fan of the author. But I am. So we shall see. Wait for me review!

Yash: Okay, so there are a couple of Night Vale episodes that are basically “The Story of You” and narrated in second person and, well, since it’s Night Vale, it was pretty creepy? That was my first thought when I saw the title. Obviously, the cover isn’t very WTNV so … there’s this ever-so-slight sense of disappointment? So, the cover isn’t unique or eye-catching and the synopsis … well, I’m not in a realistic fiction type mood … guess I’ll be passing on this one.

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Cass McKay has been called stubborn, temperamental, difficult, and that word that rhymes with “witch” more times than she cares to count. But that’s all about to pay off. She has finally landed the role she was born to play—Kate, in The Taming of the Shrew—in the summer apprentice program of a renowned Shakespeare theater company in the forests of Vermont.

But Cass can barely lace up her corset before her troubles begin. Her leading man, Drew, is a complete troll, and he’s going to ruin Cass’s summer. Even worse, Cass’s bunkmate Amy has somehow fallen head over heels for Drew. Cass can’t let Amy throw herself at a total jerk, so she comes up with a genius plan to give Drew the personality makeover he so desperately needs: they’ll tame Drew just as Petruchio tames Kate! But as Shakespeare’s classic plays out offstage, Cass finds it harder and harder to resist falling for Drew herself.

The best kind of entertainment, The Taming of the Drew is smart, funny, fresh, and original. You’re going to love this badass heroine and her friends. You might even end up liking Drew, too.

For the 12+ reader, this is an ideal book for the theater-loving teen or light romance readers. With solid messages about being a good friend, following your dreams, and learning to stick up for yourself, this book is more than just lightweight fluff–though the snarky voice of the main character is sure to draw readers in from the start.

Steph: The Almost Famous cover presented here is alright, the girl looks CG rendered, right? I dunno, that untamable fiery red hair which perfectly matches her untameable fiery personality–a little much perhaps? Also those fingers in her hair are kinda creepy, are they hers or this boy’s? How are they anatomically correct? Anyway, the back copy is far too long *see my praise above* and oversells the book in a few spots (like: “The best kind of entertainment” which has me asking, to who? Wait, of all the kinds of entertainment? How can this be the best entertainment for 12+ and ALSO light romance readers?) Anyway, I generally enjoy Shakespeare retellings, BUT this, with the cover and the lengthy and kind of needy back copy has me running for the hills.

Nafiza: Honestly. Does Cass really care that much about Amy? Because she’s described as a ‘bunk mate’ and not as a best friend and one assumes that Amy fell for troll Drew and not the remade Drew and just…this premise works well in a Shakespeare play but has me scratching my head once placed in a modern context. Me no gusta. Plus, I already feel bad for Amy because you know Cass is going to steal the leading man. Just…I’ll stay away. The cover is cute though. I hadn’t even noticed the fingers but Stephie’s right, they are creepy.

Yash: It sounds a little like Team Human but not that fun or funny. I will say, though, if it weren’t for the guy reflected in the glasses, I would have picked it up. I like that, for once, we don’t just see a girl’s headless body, we see her face. And she kinda reminds me of a grown up Merida? Hehe! Anyway, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll pick it up if gets good reviews. For now, I kinda just want to re-listen to Team Human.

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Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

Steph: I dislike covers that show the whole female figure sans-head–I find it very annoying and so, passing this at the bookstore or at the library I would never pick it up. However, having read the back copy now I am kinda tempted to read it. I like the island as a setting and despite those one word charicaturizations (read: eccentric witch, handsome boy and brave heroine) and that darn add-on “stealing her heart in the process” (how many young girls’ hearts have been stolen in the process of solving mysteries in YA literature? The number must be astronomical). I am so tempted by the actual mystery, the water and the gashes and the history behind this fear and the mystery then of the whole island… At the least this book has me curious but cautious.

Nafiza: I am not gonna lie, this cover is mostly for Yash. 😀 Hahah. But yiish, what a hot mess the synopsis is. People are disappearing and no one seems to be caring…and it’s only Bridey…why that name? Is she going to end up a bride in the book? Also when the synopsis said that Finn is going to capture her heart, I totally thought he is going to do it literally because he is a selkie or something. Want to bet he is something supernatural connected with the disappearances? And why eccentric witch? One would think being a witch would be eccentric enough, no? What I mean by all this is: No.

Yash: Oh. Good. The headless girl I was just talking about. And water. I am not in a very patient mood this morning, so, pass.

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A man wakes up in a living room he doesn t recognize, unable to remember anything about himself. All he has are the few remnants of his identity scattered throughout the house clues to his past. He soon learns that he is Charles Lang, a brilliant scientist whose wife, Julie, and daughter, Jess, mysteriously disappeared several years ago. Soon, he begins to recover memories memories that may or may not be his own and as he does, he realizes that only by uncovering the details of his former life will he have any hope of being reunited with Julie and Jess. A haunting tale of love and longing, fate and free will, and the easily blurred lines between fiction and reality, Glass Shatters explores the risks of trying to reinvent oneself, and the dangers of pushing science to its limits.

Steph: This cover had me hoping for a middle grade mystery and instead we get some guy with amnesia who has to figure out how to reunite his whole family (and his whole memory). I’m a little disappointed and I think, if I were truly in the bookstore or library, I would probably just put the book back on the shelf with a little pout.

Nafiza: WHAT? How can it not be a Middlegrade fantasy/ghost/haunted house story? Well. Darnit.

Yash: Wow. That is … some cover. I like that marionette people on the left and the eye in the shard of glass/sky. It all doesn’t look like it should go together, but it does and I think the art style (and title!) pulls it all together. I think if it were YA and the main character was the scientist (or aspiring scientist) I would have picked it up. For now, I am, as always, prioritizing kid-lit.

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A young girl must learn to survive and find her family against all odds in this heartbreaking companion to Hush from award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli.

Lost at sea when her sister is taken captive on a marauding slave ship, Brigid is far removed from the only life she knew as a princess and the pampered daughter of an Irish king.

Now Brigid has few choices. Alone and abandoned, she disguises herself as a boy and vows to find her innocent sister taken into slavery. Through her search many years pass and she grows from being a child to a woman, tough Brigid does not give up. She lives from the land, meets friend and foe along the way, and gains a reputation as a woman thought to be fierce enough to conquer men. It is not fierceness that guides her but the love of sister and the longing for her family to be united. One day she finds her way, knowing that her only real power comes from within herself.

Based on the legend of the first Norse woman pirate, award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli has told a remarkable survival story spanning years and continents and one that transports and transforms readers.

Steph: The cover is pretty, but I kinda wish we could see this brave heroine’s face. I also think there are a few misspellings in this back copy (which I did copy from Goodreads, so it may not be the publisher’s issue!) so I won’t comment on that. The thing that really draws me to this book is that it is based on a Norse female pirate. How cool is that? I have no idea if I’m going to like the actual story though because it promises to cover an entire life and, it seems, in great detail, BUT I think I might try it.

Nafiza: I am generally a fan of Napoli’s books; she has written some incredibly sensitive novels about important things but what is up with the synopsis? Did someone else write it? Eh. I’m not a fan of the cover either but I do like Napoli’s writing. I will pick this one up if I see it around.

Yash: I have to say, I am kind of intrigued. The title and cover don’t really do anything for me, but the synopsis is actually interesting. (For the same reasons as Steph.) I will probably ask Nafiza to lend it this one to me, after she’s done!

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The Shining meets “Hotel California” in this supremely creepy middle grade novel about the bizarre things that happen to two girls stranded at a desert inn.

Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned.

When Quinn’s best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara’s parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara’s family before it’s too late?

Steph: Love the cover, I would totally pick this up. The title hints at the readalikes mentioned which is a total win for me, and we already get that best friend bond in the midst of some strange haunted place. The back copy leaves me wondering if we’ll find out what happened to Emma and why the heck Quinn isn’t more broken up about this disappearance. This alone has me worried about the character developments BUT . . . middle grade, mystery, best friends and potentially hauntings? I’m in.

Nafiza: My question exactly, Stephie. Why isn’t Quinn more beat up about Emma’s disappearance? Shouldn’t that be the primary conflict here? I’m not a fan of the cover and the synopsis doesn’t do much for me. I will wait for some reviews.

Yash: Ha! The title had me! And the art style is adorable and yet creepy–is it the dark edges?–plus, the synopsis mentions best friends and possibly a Victorian ghost (the best kind) to go with a Victorian inn? I hope? Anyway, I’m interested! And this is, I think, my favourite cover this week!