The Cover Wars

Welcome to The Cover Wars! Where we laugh, cry, and wax poetic over book covers!

Join in the fun: leave us a comment with your thoughts on this week’s covers! We promise not to tell anyone about the judging before reading. <3



Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. — [X]

Janet: Lovely cover! I like that we get a close-up of her face, and I like her definite expression. The title had me wondering for a second if this was the third Born Confused book. (It isn’t.) The back copy promises family drama (in the best sense) and a light-hearted possible romance. It looks cute; I’m in.

Nafiza: I love love love this cover. It could have been me when I was a teenager. I can’t wait to see what hijinks these two get up to in this meet-cute. Also, I don’t know if everyone will get this but the henna on her hands is a very sneaky way to give away the theme of the book without actually saying anything it. 😀

Yash: I, too, adore this cover! And I agree with Nafiza–the mehendi is sneaky and wonderful. I LOVE the bright orange kurti–almost as bright as her smile! And that she has glasses! And that she’s not throwing the chai/coffee at him because why waste caffeine, ha! And the title is so great because it references a Hollywood classic rom-com, but gives it a completely different feel.  I am so ready for another Dimple to win my heart and especially ready for Rishi, who strangely enough, I kind of understand re: the arranged thing. Also, also, look! An Indian guy! In the wild! They exist??? *chuckles* I almost never see Indian boys in YA. This is nice. (Here’s a weird, weird thing that I love about this cover. Her skin. Yes, yes, her colour is similar to mine, but you know what else? The skin’s texture. Also, similar to mine. It’s weird because I can’t explain why this matters, only that it does, lol.) I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE ASAP!


Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club, a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.

Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.

A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible-take something off the internet-all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint. Set in near-future Brooklyn, where privacy is a bygone luxury and every perfect profile masks damning secrets, The Takedown is a stylish, propulsive, and provocative whodunit, asking who would you rely on if your tech turned against you? — [X]

Janet: Another beautiful cover! I like the use of photos and colour. The back copy doesn’t sound like my thing, but it should be a thrilling ride for those who pick this up.

Nafiza: Oh yes. I love this one as well. I don’t know that this one is exactly up my alley but I think I could be persuaded to give it a try. I just love how proactive Kyla seems in the synopsis. I might not like her but I will respect her smarts.

Yash: The title is pretty great and fits the synopsis perfectly, don’t you think? The cover is a little disorienting, but that’s just my personal taste. LOVE that Kyla isn’t smiling, LOVE that her face isn’t cropped out, and I do enjoy the many screens making up the colouring of the cover. Basically, I think I’m gonna want this book even if it makes me very, very angry at the world. Do. Want.


In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller. — [X]

Janet: Nafiza said that the covers this week were good, but I wasn’t expecting this level of consistently awesome covers! The purple and terracotta colours combined with that texture brings Byzantium to mind, or, more fairly, any setting that combines great wealth, great art, and great treachery, which sounds just about right for the synopsis. There’s a bit of contradiction in the second paragraph – Tina survives the streets alone, yet she works as a master thief for a gang? Still: I’m not one for revenge stories, but this one might drag me in anyway.

Nafiza: Yep. Give this to me.

Yash: Um, I do not have the words for how awesome this is. You know how I have a rule when it comes to WOC on covers and not obscuring their faces? Well, this time, I’m happy to forget my rule. Those colours and textures, they just work so well. And even if you can’t see all of her face, it feels like she’s a solid enough presence to look at you. Plus, I’m a sucker for revenge stories. Take my money and my heart.


Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life.

She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama. — [X]

Janet: She looks so happy! And she’s visually the most important and the most interesting thing on the (very cute) cover. Excellent. It feels a little odd that an Asian (presumably Korean) girl is named Desi. However, I like her determination, the promise of humour, and the K-drama-style hijinks. This looks like a laugh-out-loud book.

Nafiza: I mean, it was obvious at Kdramas that this book was written for me. I wonder about her name too but we will probably find out.

Yash: I’ve gotten over the strangeness of people having Desi for a name. Right now, all I can think is: is Nafiza friends with Maurene Goo and did Goo write this novel for her? Because, wow. The cover is adorable, but I don’t get why the colour on her skirt? Just to make the cover pop? *shrug* I feel like more thought could have been put into the cover, but like, I’m so happy that Desi is so happy on the cover, you know? And that makes so much of a difference to me. This feels like a happy read and I need more of those, thanks.


Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart? — [X]

Janet: This is quite the cover! We see him, but we can’t see him clearly of wholly; we see light, but we don’t know if they are reflections from outside, obscuring his face from our vision or if they are data he has called up (who knows the techie possibilities?) to inform himself or to hide from us. We see him as though we are standing immediately before him, but we can’t tell what he is about to do, or even what he is thinking. This is great! Aaaaaand the the last sentence of the synopsis posits not compromising himself and not destroying his heart as equal and related (!!!). Wow. I want to read this.

Nafiza:  Yassss. Okay, I know I’m being very useless in this cover wars but I have a head cold so all I know is GIVE THIS TO ME.

Yash: I have nothing logical to add here. I just so freaking love seeing MOC on YA book covers. And I love Cindy Pon and her writing. I am with Nafiza, in the GIVE THIS TO ME camp. For those who want to read more about the cover and the story, go here.

Gah, Nafiza! Great job with The Cover Wars this week! Loved every single one of them! <3