The Cover Wars


The Cover Wars is where we war over upcoming covers and their synopses. Tell us your faves!


You resent her. You can’t stand her. You might even hate her.
But you don’t know her at all.

Hope knows there’s only one thing coming between her and her longtime crush: his girlfriend, Parker. She has to sit on the sidelines and watch as the perfect girl gets the perfect boy . . . because that’s how the universe works, even though it’s so completely wrong.
Parker doesn’t feel perfect. She knows if everyone knew the truth about her, they’d never be able to get past it. So she keeps quiet. She focuses on making it through the day with her secret safe . . . even as this becomes harder and harder to do. And Hope isn’t making it any easier. . . .
In Just Another Girl, Elizabeth Eulberg astutely and affectingly shows us how battle lines get drawn between girls — and how difficult it then becomes to see or understand the girl standing on the other side of the divide.
You think you have an enemy. But she’s just another girl.

Janet: The title is off-putting. It seems to dismiss a girl in particular, and more broadly all girls. The synopsis to some degree counteracts this by turning the phrase into a matter of equality/solidarity, but I’m not sold. The cover doesn’t draw me at all.

Jane: be honest, I couldn’t make out the title at first…the word “girl” is so stylized that I honestly couldn’t figure out what it was supposed to say. Not always the best thing in a book cover. The backstory doesn’t really interest me at all, either.

Nafiza: Nope! I mean, this could be a story where the YA heroine finds that the girl she not-so-secretly hates and is jealous of is just a human being which is what the synopsis is suggesting BUT isn’t the only thing that’s between Hope and Hope’s dream of being with The Boy the Boy himself? It feels super weird that his opinion is not taken into consideration. Is he with Parker only because she is perfect or does she have a personality that he enjoys and loves? There are two sides to every relationship and guess what, it’s not the other girl, boy, person. That’s why, nope.


It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit.

Janet: The cover isn’t anything particularly new but it is most definitely part of a series with a cohesive look. The back copy is clear that this is not the first book in the series. I’m always up for stories involving theatres, though, so as long as each book functions more or less as a standalone I might be sold.

Jane: Unfortunately I’m not familiar with the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize, so I’m not particularly swayed by that prominent claim on the top of the book. The cover is cute, but there’s not a lot of detail in that back copy. Looks kind of spooky with the ghost and the skulls (Alas, poor Yorick!), and the treasure suggests some sort of treasure hunt, which might definitely draw in young readers looking for mystery and adventure.

Nafiza: This looks cute and I want to reaaaad this. I just enjoy the silhouette of the little girl a lot.


Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.
A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.

Janet: Pretty cover. I feel as if we’ve seen it or its twin before on Cover Wars. Fortunately, the back copy is more interesting. I’m not sure what “gone ghost” means, unless her BFF’s ghost used to hang around and now doesn’t. I like the graphic design angle and the mention of a step-abuela, which I hope means that the stepmother isn’t evil, since her mother isn’t.

Jane: “gone ghost”? So, is she stuck with a ghost, or isn’t she? Or is a “gone” ghost a special kind of ghost? Eh, I’m not usually a big fan of modern retellings of fairy tails anyway, I typically prefer a more fantastical setting. Not really my personal cup of tea.

Nafiza: The cover is pretty and evocative of those perfect summer evenings when it is just perfectly warm and everything is all right with the world. I’m not drawn in by the synopsis though so it will be a pass for me.


Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.
Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

Janet: It just doesn’t feel fresh? And if a protagonist has to have a special ability to solve murders, that isn’t too hopeful for the rest of us who have to rely on actual policework instead of magic. I don’t know. Until I hear rave reports about the deep and nuanced writing, I’ll stick to The Diviners.

Jane: Huh, I like that the main character is a collage artist, that’s not something you see every day. The supernatural element sounds intriguing as well – an artifact detective sounds like an interesting career choice! I probably won’t pick it up, since I don’t typically read YA, but it does sound intriguing.

Nafiza: I’m stuck on murderabilia. Hee. I am not too much of a fan of the cover but the synopsis is intriguing so I will keep an eye out for reviews.


Set in a world where fantasy meets science fiction, a subversive narrator lurks behind every page, and intrepid heroine Anne must triumph over time, destiny, and heretofore unknown levels of bureaucracy to uncover the truth of her quest.

Janet: The cover’s layers of ledges remind me of old computer games. I like the colours, and adventurous poses, the dragon. Also the many houses. The back copy doesn’t give a lot; it has the feel of the second third book on a series although it is in fact the first book in a projected series. However, I like the humour (“heretofore unknown levels of bureaucracy”) and that it doesn’t appear to take itself too seriously.

Jane: Now this is more like it! Fantasy meets science fiction? Sign me up! This definitely sounds like it’s got a sense of humour to it, and “heretofore” is kind of the best word ever. Sounds like a lot of fun, and that cover is just a blast.

Nafiza: I adore this! Both the cover and the synopsis. I love how everything is so dynamic. Yep, sign me up for this one.


Charlie wishes his life could be as predictable and simple as chicken nuggets.
And it usually is. He has his clean room, his carefully organized bird books and art supplies, his favorite foods, and comfortable routines.
But life has been unraveling since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. And when Dad gets sent across country for medical treatment, Charlie must reluctantly travel to meet him. With his boy-crazy sister, unruly twin brothers, and a mysterious new family friend at the wheel, the journey looks anything but smooth.
So Charlie decides to try and spot all the birds that he and his dad had been hoping to see together in the wild. If he can complete the Someday Birds list for Dad, then maybe, just maybe, things will turn out okay…

Janet: That is a great tagline. The font for “Birds” really stands out in a good way, like a burst of vitality against the anxious empty white font used for the rest of the words. The synopsis reads a bit too much like other synopses in which a MG character is convinced if they can only do x, then y will come true. The “mysterious new family friend” is an obvious ploy. But there’s nothing bad about any of this, it just isn’t for me right now.

Jane: We’ve got the zany family road trip story, the control-freak child learning to let go story, and the child trying to solve a life issue by completing an entirely unrelated project/mission story. Wow, that’s a lot of MG fiction tropes. Could be a lot of fun, but it just sounds so familiar already. And who is this “mysterious family friend” taking a group of kids on a cross-country road trip? Kind of creepy? Again, could be fantastic, but it just doesn’t immediately feel all that fresh.

Nafiza: This does have the feel of so many other MG novels before it but I think in this instance the writing could make it distinct from the others. I hope? Anyway, I adore the cover and I love the tagline (I don’t ever want to go on a roadtrip with my entire family, I mean, just to the grocery store is too much). So chaos indeed. I’m not sure whether I will read this one but I think it will be appealing to many kids.

Review: Sacrifice by Cindy Pon

Review: Sacrifice by Cindy Pon

Sacrifice by Cindy Pon is the sequel to Serpentine and the final instalment of Skybright’s story. For those of you are new to this blog and/or don’t know me, Serpentine was the fantasy novel that took me by surprise last year. I knew Cindy Pon wrote fantasy, but I knew her more as the co-founder of Diversity in […]

Looking Back: A Book of Memories by Lois Lowry

Looking Back: A Book of Memories by Lois Lowry

Hardcover, 272 pages Published September 6th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers Source: Raincoast Books Lois Lowry is the writer of many many books  (Goodreads lists her backlist count as 88) and is known particularly for The Giver series. (We have written about it often enough.) This volume was first published in 1998 but has since […]

Actually space (or, rambles about Ken Oppel’s Airborn trilogy and Starclimber in particular)

Actually space (or, rambles about Ken Oppel’s Airborn trilogy and Starclimber in particular)

Ever have a disappointing run of books? You come home from the library and delve in to your pile of loot, only to find that in one or more stories: the plot is lacking the characters are flat the illustrations are clumsy the word choice is bland the treatment of [race/gender/sexuality/ethnic group/religious group/age group/insert-group-here] is off? Not outright […]

The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace #2) by Erin Bow

The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace #2) by Erin Bow

Hardcover, 384 pages Published September 20th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books Source: Publisher “Drowning is quiet. The thing itself, quiet. There is thrashing, shouting, reaching for any solid thing, but that comes first, and it is not part of drowning. Once there is water in you, once the liquid touches the feathery interior of […]

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

Hardcover, 320 pages Expected publication: October 18th 2016 by Poppy Source: Hachette Books I have been thinking about Cloudwish ever since I finished reading it (and that was quite some time ago). I have been trying to think about how I would articulate my thoughts about this–and I have many of those thoughts since I’m a very […]