The Cover Wars

Freddy wants desperately to not be noticed. She doesn’t want to be seen as different or unusual, but her step-brother Roland gets attention because he’s deaf, and her little sister Mel thinks she’s a private detective. All Freddy wants to do is navigate high school with as little trouble as possible.

Then someone moves into the house on Grosvenor Street. Two extremely odd someones.

Cuerva Lachance and Josiah aren’t . . . normal. When they move in next door, the house begins to exhibit some decidedly strange tendencies, like not obeying the laws of physics or reality. Just as Freddy thinks she’s had enough of Josiah following her around, she’s plunged into an adventure millennia in the making and discovers the truth about the new neighbors.

Janet: Cover and title are so wholly enchanting, I don’t even care that the last paragraph of the blurb doesn’t live up to the first two. Freddy’s siblings sound like fun: I’d look at this.

Nafiza: The cover is brilliant and the back copy is engaging. Yes please.

Yash: I’m a little concerned that my brain is broken because I don’t actually love this cover, but both Nafiza and Janet love it?? I mean, I don’t hate it, but I wouldn’t pick it up? It’s that chalk font. It puts me off for some reason. Also, the title is ???

Welcome to the Matriarchy.

Sixty years after a virus has wiped out almost all the men on the planet, things are pretty much just as you would imagine a world run by women might be: war has ended; greed is not tolerated; the ecological needs of the planet are always put first. In two generations, the female population has grieved, pulled together and moved on, and life really is pretty good – if you’re a girl. It’s not so great if you’re a boy, but fourteen-year-old River wouldn’t know that. Until she met Mason, she thought they were extinct.

Janet: The glimpses of illustration in the title letters are intriguing; they remind me of a certain set of picturebooks from my childhood. I’m hoping that the flowers are connected to the story and not thrown in just because women. The back copy seems to look down on River, which gives off an odd vibe. I’m wary and will wait for reviews. This has the potential to go terribly.

Nafiza: I like the cover but I don’t want to read this. I saw a movie with a somewhat similar premise (the scientist makes her own man) and well…it just didn’t appeal to me. Also, what would kill men but not women? I might be curious to find out about that. Maybe I’ll glance through the book anyway. It could be totally awesome and surprise me?

Yash: I like the cover and title. The title is also the name of a Beyoncé song, so upon reading the words “Who Runs The World?”, I sang/shrieked GIRLS! And now, I’m honestly a little disappointed the book isn’t about Beyoncé and/or Black Girl Magic. Sorry, not feeling this post-apocalyptic (?) novel rn.

Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

Janet: Love the blue sky through foliage! The animals and art suggest that the target audience (from the publisher’s perspective, anyway) is a certain large section of middle grade readers – Guardians of Ga-Hoole or Warriors fans. The back copy informs me that this will be both beautiful and heart-breaking.

Nafiza: Considering how much I love trees, this is an easy  yes for me though I go in cautiously considering how brutal Katherine Applegate is with hearts.

Yash: I’m with Janet on the cover–the night sky hues and the peeking eyes, all so good! I think this could be my first Applegate book. Bring on the heartache.

Welcome, my little lambs, to the Puszcza. It’s an ancient forest, a keeper of the deepest magic, where even the darkest fairy tales are real.

Here, a Girl is not supposed to be a woodcutter. Or be brave enough to walk alone.

Here, a Wolf is not supposed to love to read. Or be curious enough to meet a human.

And here, a Story is nothing like the ones you read in books, for the Witch can make the most startling tales come alive. All she needs is a Girl from the village, a Wolf from the forest, and a woodcutter with a nice, sharp axe.

So take care, little lambs, if you step into these woods. For in the Puszcza, it is always as dark as the hour between night and dawn — the time old folk call the Wolf Hour. If you lose your way here, you will be lost forever, your Story no longer your own.

You can bet your bones.

Janet: Such a pretty, fairy tale cover! The back copy blends traditional expectation with new narratives (a wolf who loves to read!) and the voice of a Polish grandmother (or witch?) with an edge of horror. I am so in.

Nafiza: Ah, yessss. Both to the cover and to the back copy. This is beautiful.

Yash: Ooh, I LOVE that Red is dressed in a hood AND has an axe! And I love how the synopsis is worded. It feels like a fairy tale and set the mood for the story. I’m in. <3

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We’d been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

Janet: We’ve looked at this on Cover Wars before. Title and cover are entirely too lurid and, notwithstanding the allure of the synopsis’s second paragraph, the back copy isn’t much better.

Nafiza: We have done this before. Sorry guys. My fail.

Yash: Heh, it’s still a striking cover, but again, not for me.

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette. Renowned author M. T. Anderson embraces a new form with a sophisticated graphic novel that challenges Yvain’s role as hero, delves into the honesty and anguish of love, and asks just how fundamentally the true self can really change.

Janet: A graphic novel of a fairly well-known Arthurian tale, seemingly focused on the knight but really about the (variously-interpreted, depending on translator/reteller) women? Sign me up!

Nafiza: Once again, yassss.

Yash: Such a gorgeous cover and yay, Arthurial tales. (Of which I know little, but I’m interested anyway.) And gah, I can’t stop my eyes from following the swirls of white and cream leading to the red structure. It’s hypnotic. I’d pick this up at a store.