The Cover Wars

I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?

Janet: So that’s a really weird set-up: you can have someone resurrected on your 18th birthday only? And Lake is *gasp* almost eighteen? How convenient. Yeah, I don’t believe the worldbuilding and I’m over girls meeting boys who make them question everything. This is not for me.

Yash: It’s an interesting premise, but I don’t think it’s for me. And the cover feels like something I’ve seen a few times over on Instagram, so … I probably wouldn’t pick this up. Gotta say, I am curious about who gets resurrected. If anyone at all. Though I’m not curious enough to go through the heartache and heterosexual relationships–unless Lake is bisexual??–to find out. I can see this enticing quite a few lovers of contemporary romance, though. From packaging to synopsis, it offers exactly what you’d expect and that’s nice.

In May of 1608, the Duke of Mantua will throw the most spectacular wedding extravaganza in history. But it will all be ruined unless twelve-year-old Franni can keep a very big secret.

“Franni and the Duke,” a middle-grade novel, sets a fictional mystery against a specific historical backdrop. It takes place during rehearsals for Arianna, an opera by the great composer Claudio Monteverdi. When Franni and her older sister Alli run away to Mantua, they both find work in Monteverdi’s company. A messenger from the north announces that the next duke of the town of Bergamo is missing, and he may well be in Mantua. Alli notices that Luca, a singer she’s in love with, fits the missing Duke’s description. Although Franni thinks Luca is a pompous idiot, she promises for Alli’s sake to keep Luca’s secret safe and protect him from bounty hunters and Bergamo’s rival family. She does this with the help of the company’s set designer, a worldly wise and world-weary dwarf named Edgardo, who is not exactly what he seems.

Janet: The title and the silhouette on the cover had me utterly convinced that this was a modern(ish) romance. Aren’t there a couple actual romance series with this title structure? The cover is pretty, with those ink splotches and the colour scheme. The back copy feels blunt and a little like somebody threw it (the summary) together without bothering with subtlety, but I like middle grade novels, mysteries, historical novels, stories centred around the performing arts, music, and sibling stories, so I’d peek inside.

Yash: Yeah, I was confused by the cover–screamed YA at me. Honestly, knowing that this is a MG novel is a bit of a letdown because MG covers are just this best and this one … not quite the best? Sorry! I agree with Janet on it looking pretty, though. And! Very enticing back copy. However, this is again, Not For Me.

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

Janet: The cover is kinda boring (another possibly drowned white girl) and the back says too much. The avaricious princess is the most enticing part of the synopsis. I’ll pass.

Yash: Yeah, I agree with Janet again. The cover, while pretty, creeps me out with the pretty (possibly) dead girl. Also, doesn’t seem very diverse? And unless I find out that the book has some LGBTQIA+ characters, I’m not interested in Faris and handsome North.

Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t anything and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.

It turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie’s beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J. s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She’s had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.

It s all good. Well, almost all. She’s trying.

Janet: How clever, to break up the title so that the sentence itself comes out as awkwardly as what it describes! The cover fits super well, with the space between the characters, the visual emphasis on communication, and the lines of sight. Aaaand the back looks a lot like a modern, girl-centric Cyrano de Bergerac*. Which I keep meaning to read. (*Except since there are four people on the cover, maybe with a happier ending?) Yes, please.

Yash: Damn, the covers keep tricking me this week! I thought this one was MG? But I guess not? And it looks super fun–just as the cover implies! I’m in!

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Janet: The cover is kind of enh. Sorry, just not my style to stare at one body part; show me people or scenery, please. The back gives maybe a little much away, and I’m inclined to pass… except that there’s a potential queer couple, and a character who probably either is autistic or has OCD. I guess the first few pages will have to decide it.

Yash: I like the pink hair! And how the words are sort of hiding behind locks of hair. It would intrigue me enough to pick it up. Also, I feel like someone at the last Read Harder meeting spoke positively about this? I’m interested. I’ve never been to a proper convention (Vancouver Comic-Con never felt very big?), but I like that this is the setting for the story. And it looks like a f/f romance! Yeah, I’m tentatively in.

Mia Chen is on what her mother calls a Grand Adventure. She’s not sure what to make of this family trip to China, and didn’t want to leave her friends for the summer, but she’s excited about the prospect of exploring with her Aunt Lin, the only adult who truly understands her.

Then Aunt Lin disappears, right after her old nemesis, a man named Ying, comes to visit. Mia knows that years ago, when Aunt Lin and Ying were sent to the Fuzhou countryside to work as laborers, the two searched for an ancient treasure together—one that still hasn’t been found. She’s suspicious that their shared history might be linked to Aunt Lin’s disappearance.

When Mia discovers an old map filled with riddles in Aunt Lin’s room, she quickly pieces together her mission: find the treasure, find her aunt. Now, Mia, along with her big brother, Jake, must solve the clues to rescue the person she knows best in the world—and maybe unearth a treasure greater than her wildest dreams.

Janet: The cover is an interesting blend of ultra-modern silhouettes everywhere, and a traditional Chinese landscape painting style. I’m not sure they come together perfectly, but on the other hand I really like that both elements are there. Mia sounds like a lot of fun (also, mention of and old map = Maps = always good!), and the emphasis on family and adventure wins me over.

Yash: Again with the characters of colour as silhouettes. I wish I could let it go, but I wish more that covers would unambiguously represent non-white characters. Ugh. Anyway, ignoring that detail, I guess I’m interested in the rest. I do like that it’s a story about siblings and family and uncovering secret histories and it involves maps! It’s just that I’m not really feeling MG today. So, I’d save tag this TBR Someday.