The Cover Wars

Covers Wars Final

Where we give our opinions on books (usually new or upcoming releases) based purely on their back copy and their covers.

Into the Abyss

Violet has lost her memory, and her sense of self—but can she decide who she wants to be in time to save the world? Find out in this sequel to Falls the Shadow, which Kirkus Reviews called perfect “for fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games.

Violet Benson used to know who she was: a dead girl’s clone, with a dead girl’s memories. But after Huxley’s attempt to take over the government left her memories and personality wiped, all she has left is a mission: help the CCA fight back against the rest of Huxley’s deadly clones that are still at large.

But when a group of clones infiltrate CCA headquarters, Violet is blamed. Already unsure of where her loyalties should lie, Violet finds herself running away with an unlikely ally: Seth, Jaxon’s unpredictable foster brother. With Seth at her side, Violet begins to learn about a whole new side of her city’s history—and her own.

But when she learns the shocking truth about cloning, Violet will have to make a choice—and it may be one that takes her away from everyone she ever loved.

Steph: The cover is simple, on one hand I kind of like it–a girl plummeting into the abyss (as the title states)– on the other hand it feels a little over photoshopped and too simple. Also, the back copy doesn’t mention any abyss, is it purely metaphorical? Is it her mind that is an abyss or the secrets of her society? Anyway. I know this is the second in a series that hasn’t received great reviews . . . and perhaps that first line in the back copy can tell us why. This story is going to be very similar to many of the other teen dystopias we’ve seen: a girl discovers that she is brave and that she disagrees with society and then rebels in order to “save” it. Ugh. I won’t go into it here, but for me, this isn’t a “dystopia” but a different framework for an individual’s coming of age. I will be skipping this one, simply because there are too many others on my TBR.

Janet: I like the increasingly dark red, and the subtle lines in the background, but the rest of it feel been there done that. Is this the second of a series? I don’t know who Seth or Jaxon is, and it seems to be assumed knowledge. I’ll pass.

Nafiza: I’m with Steph and Janet on this one. While I like the increasing indent of the shadows and the cover is kinda  cool, the dystopian is not for me. Give me elves and fairies instead please.

Yash: Well, as the rest said, I like the reds, the shadows, and the title. I’m typically not a fan of falling girls on covers–just doesn’t good–but it does with the title. (BTW, is “abyss” the new word to have in your title? Used to be “clockwork” and “ashes”. Or am I just seeing patterns where none exist?) As much as I like (or, uh, don’t hate) the cover, the synopsis makes it clear it isn’t for me.

Into White

Sixteen-year-old Latoya Williams, who is black, attends a mostly white high school in the Bible Belt. In a moment of desperation, she prays for the power to change her race and wakes up white.

Steph: Well, the cover pretty much exactly lines up with the back copy. I like the cover. The premise, a racial Freaky Friday, could either be awesome or awful. I await reviews.

Janet:  I like the blues and the (torn paper?) style of the silhouettes. I would be freaked out by the lack of eyes and nose, but the cover feels like less detail is more, and that more detail would be too specific. I’ll wait for reviews for the same reason Steph will.

Nafiza: The cover is simple and I like that. I like the background and the minimalist art. As for the synopsis, wow. It will either be amazing or horrible. We’ll see.

Yash: I am gonna go ahead and assume this will be terrible? Even if it’s amazing, the amount that I cringed, just reading the synopsis makes me feel like reading the novel will make me feel like crap. When this plot line emerged in Ms. Marvel, I actually stopped reading for a bit, even though it was done wonderfully. Anyway, interesting cover (blue lips!) and interesting premise, but I’ll have to wait for the review.

Ivory and Bone

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Steph: The cover is very . . . Eona-esque but more stark, and I kind of like it? The back copy is too purposefully vague. The same sentences is repeated, like, three times with the “shattering loss” and “history wrought with loss” and “an enemy from Mya’s past.” What I do like is the temporal setting. I usually really enjoy prehistoric stories–Clan of the Cave Bear and Wolf Brother were immensely enjoyable mixing survival with coming of age–so, I’m not sure where Pride and Prejudice comes in and that makes me a little anxious, as does this love triangle (oh, I got it . . . love triangle = P&P). Hopefully, despite the obvious omissions in the back copy this one can live up to these predecessors? Maybe?

Janet: What’s going on with the cover? Is that a shattering ring of bone or ivory? The back cover is both specific and too vague, and filled with too many cliches/YA tropes. I’ll pass.

Nafiza: For some reason I have an ARC for this and I’m dreading it because this is supposed to be set in the cavemen era and um…whyyyy did I request it? I’m too tired to make sense but the cover is pretty ambiguous, isn’t it? I mean, what is it trying to say? I will read this book (have to review it for Cuddlebuggery) and I hope it will defy all expectations and end up enjoyable but we’ll see.

Yash: The cover is kind of boring. It’s also kind of funny because on first sight, I was like, “Is that an exploding Polo?” You know, mint with a hole, etc.? Anyway, the cover doesn’t give me much to go on. It reminds me of Sara Raasch’s book for some reason? And a ton of other dystopian books that just have logos on them. I wouldn’t really have paused long enough to read the synopsis as I did here. So, yeah, pass.

Last Great Adventure

Some things are better together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Annie and Jason. So when her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, Annie Jenkins is bursting with ideas to save Jason’s home. She could sell her appendix on eBay. (Why not?) Win the lottery. (It’s worth a shot!). Face the evil bankers herself. (She’s one tough cookie, after all.) Or hunt down an elusive (and questionably real) pirate treasure. Whatever the plan, it has to work, or this is undoubtedly THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.

Steph: The cover is appropriately middle grade with a bit of foreshadowing (perhaps this really will be the last adventure? In a way this could be a very satisfying conclusion). The summary sounds exactly like The Goonies but with two kids instead of 6 (??). I did like The Goonies so maybe I’ll give this a go.

Janet: The cover promises a (zany?) MG adventure, which the back copy exactly matches in tone. There’s character, humour, and significant stakes. I’ll keep an eye out for this.

Nafiza: Both the synopsis and the cover are cute. The synopsis especially promises heartbreak when kids realize an adult’s reality. I, too, will keep an eye out for this.

Yash: Aw, that title won me over! The colours and the style are adorable, but then I think about the buried PB&J sandwich and are they mourning their friendship? Is this book going to kill me right after making me laugh?? Synopsis says yes, yes I will be hurt. And yet, this is definitely on my list.

Left-Handed Fate

Lucy Bluecrowne and Maxwell Ault are on a mission: find the three pieces of a strange and arcane engine. They’re not exactly sure what this machine does, but they have it on good authority that it will stop the war that’s raging between their home country of England and Napoleon Bonaparte’s France. Despite being followed by mysterious men dressed all in black, they’re well on their way to finding everything they need when their ship, the famous Left-Handed Fate, is taken by the Americans.

And not just any Americans. The Fate (and with it, Lucy and Max) are put under the command of Oliver Dexter, who’s only just turned twelve.

But Lucy and Max aren’t the only ones trying to put the engine together, and if the pieces fall into the wrong hands, it could prove disastrous. Oliver is faced with a choice: help Lucy and Max and become a traitor to his country? Or follow orders and risk endangering that same country and many others at the same time–not to mention his friends?

Steph: (Are those last two sentences actually questions?) I love this cover. This is my kind of middle grade read, and I can tell that just from the cover. I suppose, if I were to look a little more critically I might fault that the whole thing is a little too cold and on the blue side, but I really like blue 🙂 The back copy promises a romp that I might enjoy, though I’m confused between all three middle grade-aged characters–once of whom is the captain who has this crucial choice and the other two are . . . our main characters? Are we expecting multiple POVs? If it navigates it’s way onto my shelf. I’ll happily read it.

Janet: I really like all the blues and swirls and the shading in the silhouettes on the cover. Based on that alone, I would turn to the back or to the first page. The back copy is a trifle confusing – Lucy and Maxwell seem to be the focal characters, then suddenly the main struggle is Oliver’s. Perhaps this is part of a series? Having a 12 year old captain stretches the bounds of credibility, but if the first few pages are good, I could be talked into reading this.

Nafiza: Kate Milford wrote The Green Glass House (I think that’s what it’s called) and I really liked it. I’m not totally sold on the synopsis but I could possibly be persuaded to try this one.

Yash: The cover doesn’t really appeal to me. The colours, even though they are all pretty ones on their own, together are a little dull. Ships are boring to me, and you know what covers with the ocean on them does to me. Plus, the synopsis makes it clear that it isn’t for me. But whatever, it’s Kate Milford. I’m sure it’ll do well. Ignore me.

A literary Mean Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat that follows Lucy as she tries to balance her life at home surrounded by her Chinese immigrant family, with her life at a pretentious private school.

Steph: Interesting. At first I wasn’t sure, but now I’m pretty sure that Lucy and Linh will be one and the same person. The only question I’m left wondering is, why now? What’ is the instigating incident–has she moved, started a new school, a new family member come to town etc… why is this moment in Lucy/Linh’s life the moment we are starting at. I suppose I’m wondering what the arc will be–because as much as I love the premise of Lucy/Linh growing into herself there needs to be a little more . . . I like the yellow cover and the school girl outfit (not ridiculously slim) but I do lament the loss of our protagonists head.

Janet: Headless girls WHY. I like the yellow background, I like the premise, I don’t like decapitation. If I see this, I’ll look inside; until then I can’t say more than that.

Nafiza: Just give this to me already.

Yash: Not just a headless girl. A headless person of colour. Nice. And by nice, I mean, HOW DARE YOU?!?!? That said, they really didn’t need to say anything past Mean Girls meets Fresh off the Boat. I’m 100% in.

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  • I really enjoy historical fiction, and the prehistorical setting of Ivory and Bone is really intriguing, but the Pride and Prejudice reference really just turns me off. I quite dislike it when authors/publishers decide to ride on the coattails of famous books – if there are elements of classic books present in the story, let me discover them myself! At first glance I thought the cover image was an exploding white life preserver…..

    • Janet

      About the P&P reference, exactly! If a book is good enough to deserve that reference, it is also good enough to stand on its own without that frame of reference. Otherwise the comparison tends to come across as flattery to the new book and an insult to the old.