The Cover Wars

When Mariah and her young brother Zeke are suddenly freed from slavery, they set out on Sherman’s long march through Georgia during the Civil War. Mariah wants to believe that the brutalities of slavery are behind them forever and that freedom lies ahead. When she meets Caleb, an enigmatic young black man also on the march, Mariah soon finds herself dreaming not only of a new life, but of true love as well. But even hope comes at a cost, and as the treacherous march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah’s dreams are as vulnerable as ever.

Janet: The watercolour style is very pretty. I’m sorry that there are silhouettes, and I’m sorry that “enigmatic” is part of a description (better than than “mysterious,” though), but the march sounds interesting. And dangerous. The font of the last few words of the title, combined with that synopsis, are deeply foreboding.

Nafiza: I like the cover quite a bit but I’m wary of slave narratives because the pain is intense in those. I shall wait for some reviews before I make the plunge.

Lottie Reeves has always struggled with anxiety, and when her beloved Aunt Helen dies, Lottie begins to fear that her own unexpected death might be waiting around every corner.

Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the author of the best–selling Alvin Hatter series, about siblings who discover the elixir of immortality. Her writing inspired a generation of readers.

In her will, she leaves one last writing project—just for Lottie. It’s a series of letters, each containing mysterious instructions designed to push Lottie out of her comfort zone. Soon, Lottie’s trying some writing of her own, leaping off cliffs, and even falling for a boy she’s only just met. Then the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series. Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice, one that will force her to confront her greatest fear once and for all.

Janet: The cover reminds me of This One Summer. I’m very interested in reading about a protagonist with anxiety, and about an author-aunt. Not so interested in the “falling for a boy she’s only just met” part. And I hope the whole writing project isn’t portrayed as a cure for anxiety. Mental illness doesn’t work that way. But I’m curious enough to take a look inside at the first few pages.

Nafiza: I like how quirky the cover is and like Janet, I am very much intrigued by the premise of a protagonist who deals with anxiety. Mental illness, positive representation of mental illness is difficult to find in books. Hopefully this will be the one.

From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, comes Solo, a YA novel written in poetic verse. Solo tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and his family’s ruin, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected family secret, Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything he thought to be true. With his signature intricacy, intimacy, and poetic style, Kwame Alexander explores what it means to finally come home.

Janet: Striking cover, with all those bold colours and unusually muted lines. (I don’t know if that makes sense. I feel like the cover is meant to be bold but not stark, so the lines where the colours meet aren’t sharp; the tones are chosen to not contrast too much.) I would ignore this at the mention of “forbidden love” but. Kwame Alexander. I might have to look inside.

Nafiza: I’m not too much of a fan of the cover. It just seems clunky to me but it’s Kwame Alexander so an automatic yes please for me.

It’s the 1920s – cars and aeroplanes are new. Lily Gabriel is 13 years old – she’s scruffy and confident and takes no nonsense from anyone. Antony is 17 – he’s rich, spoiled and arrogant and Lily is completely and utterly – no nonsense! – in love with him. So join Lily as she falls…Falls in love…Falls out of the sky…Falls through time…And effortlessly, inescapably, falls into her future. Life is never what you expect or what you predict. But if you’re lucky, you hold onto exactly what you need – a young and wild heart.

Janet: I’m not sure what to make of the cover. The back copy is promising for the first two lines and then – um. I’ll pass.

Nafiza: The cover is interesting somewhat but what is up with that back copy. I have no idea what it’s saying. Is there time travel involved? What? Why do I want to read about a rich, spoiled, arrogant love interest? Why? What?

Annabelle Balog’s life is a mess. Literally. Her mother refuses to throw anything away. Life gets even more complicated when Grandma Nora decides to clean house against the wishes of Annabelle’s mother. Now Annabelle, who can usually be found trying to sneak her mother’s collections to the nearest dumpster, must decide if some things are worth saving.

Janet: The cover isn’t terribly engaging; the style and colours aren’t quite my thing. But. Hoarding. Living with a hoarder. I’m interested.

Nafiza: I’m with Janet. Though the cover isn’t interesting, the premise is very new and I would like to see what happens with Annabelle’s mother.

Matilda loves science and inventing. Her heroes are Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, and one day she wants to be a famous inventor herself. So when she doesn’t win the school science fair, she’s devastated – especially as the judges didn’t believe she’d come up with her entry on her own. Because she’s a girl.

When Matilda shares her woes with her Grandma Joss, she’s astonished to learn her grandma was once a scientist herself – an astrophysicist, who discovered her very own planet. Trouble is, Grandma Joss was also overlooked – her boss, Professor Smocks, stole her discovery for himself. And he’s about to be presented with a Nobel Prize.

Matilda concocts a plan. They’ll crash the award ceremony and tell everyone the truth! So begins a race against time – and against Matilda’s strict mum and dad! – on a journey through Paris, Hamburg and Stockholm, and on which they encounter a famous film star, a circus, and a wanted diamond thief…

Janet: Ha! I love Matilda’s expression. The title had me wondering if this was a reference to Roald Dahl’s Matilda, another young brilliant girl. I wish I could say that the day for stories of girl/women scientists being discredited and their ideas stolen was long past, but nope. We need this still. And it looks like a madcap adventure; I’m in.

Nafiza: Okay yes to both the cover and the back copy. This seems like it’ll be a fun ride with some heartbreaking moments. Yes, yes, yes.