The Cover Wars

Gentle readers, it’s time to judge books by their covers again!

Join the discussion in the comments section!


“Our lives will always be in the hands of our mothers, whether we like it or not.”

Nazia doesn’t mind when her friends tease and call her a good beti, a dutiful daughter. Growing up in a working-class family in Karachi, Pakistan, Nazia knows that obedience is the least she can give to her mother, who has spent years saving and preparing for her dowry. But every daughter must grow up, and for fourteen-year-old Nazia that day arrives suddenly when her father gets into an accident at work, and her family finds themselves without money for rent or food.

Being the beti that she is, Nazia drops out of school to help her mother clean houses, all the while wondering when she managed to lose control of her life that had been full of friends and school. Working as a maid is a shameful obligation that could be detrimental to her future — after all, no one wants a housekeeper for a daughter-in-law. As Nazia finds herself growing up much too quickly, the lessons of hardship that seem unbearable turn out to be a lot more liberating than she ever imagined. — [X]

Janet: Great tagline, intriguing title; I would like this cover a lot more if it weren’t only half a face. The model on the cover looks rather older than 14, but that is a minor complaint next to the half head thing. Ugh. Won’t that trend die? Still, the back copy is intriguing and very practical – I’m curious.

Nafiza: I really like how vibrant the colours on this cover are. I also like the half-face, don’t ask me why. I don’t mind it. The synopsis is also very strong and yes, I would like to read this one. Adding it to the TBR list.

Yash: I love the colours and I love the close-up on her face, and I’m with Nafiza here, the half-head thing actually works here. Also, is it weird that I feel like the model is unusually young? Anyway. This may murder me, but I want to read it.


Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods.

Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. in defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them. — [X]

Janet: Haven’t we seen this before? Fully-depicted MOC (no half faces!), a cheetah, towering storm clouds, a suggestion of city, trade, desert; this is a wonderfully pretty and appealingly ominous cover. I like the mix of politics, economics, religion, and romance.

Nafiza: I don’t think we have done this cover though I may be mistaken. The composition of this cover is so beautiful that it almost seems like poetry. I feel like the characters were caught while moving and there’s this exquisite sense of unexpectedness to the whole thing. The back copy is also intriguing.

Yash: Did we do this? I feel like I reblogged the cover on my Tumblr, but I don’t remember seeing this here. For all the reasons Janet mentions: I! AM! IN!


It’s the start of a new school year and Wren Jo Bryd is worried that everyone will find out her parents separated over the summer. No one knows the truth, not even her best friend, Amber. When even her new teacher refers to her mom as “Mrs.” Byrd, Wren decides to keep their divorce a total secret. But something else changed over the summer: A new girl named Marianna moved to town and wants to be Amber’s next bff. And because of her fib, Wren can’t do anything about it. From take-out dinners with Mom to the tiny room she gets at Dad’s new place, nothing is the same for Wren anymore. But while Marianna makes everything harder at first, Wren soon learns that Marianna once had to ask many of the same questions the big ones, as well as the little ones that Wren is asking now. — [X]

Janet: The cover is cute. The art style and design reflect Wren’s (theoretical) journal and style. The synopsis seems a little obvious, but I could be convinced: family and friendship are infinitely appealing draws, after all.

Nafiza: I’m not a huge fan of the cover art but gosh, the back copy won me over. Yes please.

Yash: I am not sure why I had such trouble reading the title, but I haven’t had my coffee yet and that hyphen threw me off. The synopsis is interesting, but I’m in the mood for either YA fantasy or MG mystery, so while I’m interested, um, maybe not right now?


Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.


Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home. — [X]

Janet: PRETTY cover and we get her whole face. Wow. Um, yes to that use of detail and white space just so much yes. The synopsis has a lot; I feel the story would have been enough without the Scorpions; but a story centred on sisterhood and history and identity? I’ll take a peek inside at the first pages for sure.

Nafiza: How loudly do I have to scream yes to convince everyone? Because YASSSSS.

Yash: See, these are the kinds of covers I like! Just because you have a POC whose head you didn’t crop off, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with the cover. The sparkles, the tagline, the colours, everything works well together and it doesn’t wash out the MC’s face. I love it! I’d read it just for the cover!


Having stumbled onto a plot within his homeland of Jamaica, former espionage agent, Desmond Coke, was caught between warring religious and political factions. All parties vied for control of a mysterious boy named Lij Tafari. Wanting the boy to have a chance to live a free life, Desmond assumes responsibility for him and flees. A story filled with assassins, intrigue and steam men. — [X]

Janet: I feel as if I should love this cover (LOOK at that women with the pistols! and the man with the sword!) but the art style makes me vaguely uncomfortable. Maybe a little too Tangled-esque/CGI. The synopsis sounds as if this story is the second or third book in a series. That plus “a mysterious boy” means I’m not sold. Pass.

Nafiza: The cover is gorgeous and I just enjoy how wonderful it feels to see POC featured without veils or in silhouettes. The back copy seems quite convoluted and I think I’d read a review or two before I make up my mind. I have high hopes though.

Yash: THIS COVER! I LOVE IT SO MUCH! OMG!!! The style reminds me of The Drowning Eyes cover and if this book is even half as good, I’m sure I’d enjoy myself. The synopsis doesn’t tell me enough, but I do like reading about assassins, so I’m putting this on my tentative TBR.


Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to? — [X]

Janet: This cover isn’t quite as eye-catching as the first two in the series (I think it’s all that white and her lack of expression) but it has the same overall look, which will please those who like their series to have matching covers. The synopsis manages to give a generous amount to detail without spoiling the story; I suppose I should read the first book sometime.

Nafiza: Hmm. The cover is okay though I wish we could have seen something more vibrant like Lara Jean baking. Or doing things instead of sitting there in a beautiful dress gazing off in the distance. I don’t know if I will be reading this though I did read the first two. Depends on whose heart gets broken, really. Hah.

Yash: I love that it’s in her room, actually, because the other two are also set in her room and I’m unreasonably relieved that the covers and spines match. I also know random tidbits about this room because I was reading Jenny Han’s tweets when the cover was released. I believe that tiny golden frame behind Lara Jean’s hairbrush has a picture of Leo DiCaprio from when he played Romeo. This is something that (I think) belongs/used to belong to Jenny Han when she was younger? And it’s small details like that makes this cover special. The room really feels like Lara Jean’s and maybe in this book, she’ll have to leave it behind? A constant haze of homesickness is basically my life, so I’m sure I’ll need a box of tissues for this one.