Sofia has never felt special. Not at school, or with her track team, and especially not since she’s become sick.
She’s always been different, but this doesn’t make her stand out . . . it’s makes her invisible. Then something special lands right in Sofia’s lap. An ancient book that serves as a portal for the Greek philosopher, Xeno, one of Aristotle’s lost students. Sofia has been chosen to be the next Guardian.
Suddenly Sofia is not only trying to survive middle-school cliques and first crushes, she’s in charge of protecting grotesquely beautiful, lonely monsters that have roamed the Earth for centuries. Drawn into Xeno’s violent and unpredictable world of mystery, Sofia learns that loving outsiders has a price.
Janet: I am absolutely positive that we have done this before on Cover Wars, even if my searches turned up zero proof. I know it. I said that the wolf looked like Coyote from Gunnerkrigg Court and that I would like to read this. I still haven’t come across it in the library yet, though, so it is still on my tbr list.
Yash: We’ve done this one before! I do like it! And yes, I agree with Janet. Gunnerkrigg. Wolf. TBR. Yep.
Nafiza: Eep, we did? My apologies. I don’t know why but I felt like we hadn’t. I like ‘grotesquely beautiful.’ An interesting way of putting things but yes, I would be interested in seeing how this story unfurls.
One tangled cassette tape. Two tangled lives.
Cassidy snaps. She quits her job and fiancé all in the same day and ends up on her parents’ doorstep. In the midst of everything she is determined to fix a broken cassette tape that she thinks holds the key to rediscovering happiness.
On her quest to fix the tape she meets Leo, a guy as down on his luck as she is lost. What starts with curiosity leads to something resembling a relationship and maybe a chance at love.
Janet: Another girl in a skirt falling down an endless blank space. How do the photographers pose these shots? From above as the models lie on the floor, perhaps? Anyway. I like the snapping and quitting part (apparently fiancés can be quitted, rather than jilted), but I’m looking for a little more substance if I’m to swallow a romance.
Yash: I’m gonna say no to the cover, though I do like the title, the cassette, and the font fashioned out of cassette tape. And I don’t know if this story is for me, but like I said, elements of the cover did work and I see lots of people picking this one up. In fact, I may have picked it up when I was in high school and reading Sophie Kinsella?
Nafiza: I thought this was a YA contemp. It certainly gives off the vibe. I do like the unrolling tape being used to spell out the title but I’m not a romance reader so this book is not targeted for me.
A summer away from the city is the beginning of everything for Brooklyn Shepard. Her theater apprenticeship at Allerdale is a chance to prove that she can carve out a niche all her own, surrounded by people who don’t know anything about her or her family of superstar performers.
Brooklyn immediately hits it off with her roommate, Zoe, and soon their friendship turns into something more. Brooklyn wants to see herself as someone who’s open to everything and everyone, but as her feelings for Zoe intensify, so do her doubts. She’s happier than she’s ever been—but is it because of her new relationship? Or is it because she’s finally discovering who she wants to be?
Janet: The cover has a high school besties feel to it. Aimed at a certain audience. I like that the title is a pun which the back cover makes sense of. (It is a pun, right?) This is the sort of substance I meant earlier – a protagonist with a definite end in mind whose romance is part of but not the whole (and certainly not a replacement for) self-discovery. I’m not rushing to find this but I’d glance inside.
Yash: Aw, I like this! They are so cute and happy on the cover! And it so … summer-y. I can’t resist summer-y covers. Whether this books turns out to be a f/f romance, or a friendship story, or all three, it’s a win-win-win type situation in my eyes! I’m going to put this on my TBR!
Nafiza: I do so love the happiness in this. The sunshine, the smiles, this feels like a feel-good book perfect for spring or summer. I’ll get Yash convince me.
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.
Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
Janet: So. Things that I like: The keys! (This is all Garth Nix’s doing.) The many different keys (and keyholes) forming no particular shape but a repeating pattern (like wallpaper) is eye-catching and distinct. I like that Juliana is given a specific interest (researching ladybugs) and that this is a realistic, attainable, unusual field of expertise. I like that Juliana has a plan beyond ‘don’t get married’ and that the synopsis leaves the reader with the set-up, rather than (tediously and obviously) suggesting that Juliana and Spencer will fall in love. We are already pretty sure that this is a distinct possibility and that, in fact, it is destined to happen. But that this fact is not made redundantly obvious is a refreshing change. Things I don’t like: The silhouettes on the cover. Although I may rethink that, since they are actually doing something and that something is unusual. I don’t like that Juliana is made special by being “not an average girl” (that is a paraphrase). The set-up of a young pair pretending to fall in love is kind of old and thin, but if this trope is done well its continued existence is (once again) justified. I’ll look inside if I come across it.
Yash: Oh hey, this was in Raincoast’s Teens Read catalogue the year before last! I love this one! I love the art style, the keys, even the silhouettes. I also really love the tagline. I am hoping there is a twist to all this. Maybe it will be a non-fantasy version of Gail Carriger’s books? I might check out a few reviews, but yes, this book’s been on my TBR list for a while.
Nafiza: While I do enjoy the cover quite a bit, I recently read A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn and I think I’m all set for premises like this. (That book is amazing.)
Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they’d be identical twins if only they’d been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn’t such a fast—faster than fast—runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they’re not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens…and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that—like their mother—her sister is gone forever.
At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born—half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast—faster than fast—and she senses danger. She’s too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.
Janet: I love this cover. I like the white space, the colours (periwinkle and fox-orange, who’d have thought?), the fox. I like the way the title is clear and ambiguous at the same time. The only thing I don’t like about the cover is the font for the authors’ names. The Hs are hard to read. I like how just enough information is given about the story – enough so that I care and no more than I need. I will look for this.
Yash: I love the font, love the title, love the fox, and WOW THAT SUMMARY LOOKS REAL GOOD. I. Need. This. Book. *grabby hands* GIMME IT!
Nafiza: Please just give this to me. The cover is adorable, the synopsis intriguing and just…I want it.
Fifteen-year-old Ana has a good life–she has friends and a boy she likes and a kind mother–but still, she’s haunted by her past; she knows that she lived once before as a girl named Emma, and she still misses her old family. When, by chance in her life now, Ana meets a woman she knew in her previous life, a terrifying memory flashes through her mind of a young girl drowning. Was Emma responsible? And should Ana pay the price? Consumed by guilt, Ana sets out to find out as much as possible about the person she was before and what she had done, only to discover that the family she misses so deeply had dark secrets of its own. To come to terms with her life now, Ana must figure out how to let go of the past.
Janet: The shadow people in the background remind me of the covers of middle grade books about the Holocaust and other dreadful parts of history. I’m intrigued that the bust on the cover seems to be made of water, and pleased that it/she has short hair (rare, okay?). But the cover doesn’t do much for me. The synopsis is confusing (how does Ana know she lived before as Emma?) and gives too much info (“only to discover”) without any details which convince me to invest in the characters. The last line talks down to the readers. I’ll pass.
Yash: Nafiza probably picked this one because of the water. *shakes fist at Nafiza* I mean, it’s not bad. Not terribly attractive either. Like Janet, I do appreciate that the girl has short hair. Or appears to have short hair, at least. I like the tagline, but somehow, I am not very attracted to reincarnation stories. So, even though, there isn’t anything particular wrong, it’s just not for me.
Nafiza: Oh Yash, I’m not that devilish. Can you not see my halo? (Now I’m singing Beyonce…) But I do like the cover. I feel like captures the transience of moments, lives and people so perfectly. Frozen in time and the next, the water will fall and wash away…everything. I haven’t heard good reviews of this one though so I’m going to be passing it over. Cool cover though. I enjoy looking at it.