The Cover Wars

I’m invisible. Ma says I’m supposed to be so the Authorities don’t get me. She goes out into the streets almost every day but I’m not allowed. I’ve got to stay inside the mill so they don’t see me.

In an old, abandoned mill, a girl and her ma take shelter from their memories of life on the streets, and watch the busy world go by. The girl calls it the Castle because it’s the biggest place they’ve ever stayed, a home of her own like no other. The windows are boarded up and the floorboards are falling in but for her neither of those things matter.

Then developers show up, and it’s clear that their lives are about to change forever. Desperate to save their refuge from the Authorities and her mother from her own personal demons, the girl seeks out the ghosts of the mill. And with only Caretaker the old man who’s slept outside the mill for decades around to answer her questions, she begins to wonder what kind of ghosts are haunting both the mill and her mother.

Janet: The cover is haunting, sort of a modern, eerie echo of Rapunzel. The back is messier, less appealing, in part because of the capitalization, in part because of the (missing) punctuation in the last sentence. Still, for that cover, I’d look at the first few pages to make up my mind.

Nafiza: I really enjoy how the girl is almost as two dimensional as the art she is creating. I reckon the image correlates to the synopsis stating the invisibility of the MC. The back copy does have me curious about the novel so I may peek within its pages to see if it holds my interest.

Yash: Whoa, that cover is haunting. I love it. I love that the girl seems to be part of the wall, but her feet are on the ground. It’s a great effect and seems to work really well with the synopsis. I am definitely intrigued.

All sixteen-year-old Tommin wants is to make beautiful shoes and care for his beloved granny, but his insatiable need to steal threatens to destroy everything. Driven by a curse that demands more and more gold, he’s sure to get caught eventually.

When mysterious Lorcan Reilly arrives in town with his “niece,” Eve, Tommin believes the fellow wants to help him. Instead, Lorcan whisks him off to the underground realm of the Leprechauns, where, alongside Eve, he’s forced to prepare to become one of them.

As Lorcan’s plans for his “gold-children” are slowly revealed, Tommin and Eve plan their escape. But with Tommin’s humanity slipping away, the fate-crossed pair has everything to lose unless they can find a way to outsmart a magical curse centuries in the making.

Janet: *eyes Nafiza suspiciously* Is this Cover Wars fairy tale themed? *beams* Anyway, the cover is pretty – not a new concept, that style, but lovely all the same, the style mixing modern with classic. The back (hello, Rumplestiltskin) promises an interesting combination of fairy tale with faerie tale. I could wish that the second pair of quotation marks and the phrase “star-crossed” had been edited out, but overall, the cover and blurb do their job; I’d glance inside.

Nafiza: This cover is gorgeous and no Janet, fairytale theme was not planned. I would like to read this maybe, give it a whirl to see if I can handle the male protagonist. The back copy is compelling, especially the part that states a fading grasp on humanity.

Yash: I really want to read this one. Which surprises me because, yeah, that “star-crossed” comment typically has me rolling my eyes. I have to say though, it’s not the cover that got me, it’s the first line of the synopsis. I’m really curious to see how Tommin’s kleptomania is explored in this fairy-tale setting.

Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshipped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not, and Wing is all too aware of this.

Until the night when everything changes. Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry—could Marcus, the golden boy, really have done something so irresponsible, so reckless? She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother’s and grandmothers’ grief. To make matters worse, the bank is threatening to repossess her family’s house because all their money is going to pay her brother’s mounting medical bills.

Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. With the breeze in her hair and her feet pounding the dirt for hours and hours, she can imagine she is keeping Marcus’s heart beating. If she runs hard enough, maybe he’ll wake up. Maybe she’ll free her family.

When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team—and better still, a shot at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?

Janet: Yeah there’s a silhouette but the cover uses watercolour? and plays with puddles on concrete? Awesome! The back gives a lot away, but I’m betting that most of what it describes happens in the first three chapters. I’ve heard good things about the grandmothers’ dialogue (aka bickering). Definitely interested.

Nafiza: Just the other day I was bemoaning the dearth of YA books dealing with brothers and sisters and voila, here comes one. I am interested. The cover is interesting,. It is not my fave but I wouldn’t look away from it either. The back copy though makes me want to pick it up.

Yash: Meh. Not the best cover, but if Nafiza gives it a thumbs up …

A meditation about the evolution and influence of a song written in 1902 over the next 150 plus years.

Janet: Apparently this is a Tor novella. The cover is skillfully made, I just don’t like it; to me it seems uncomfortably flat and static. Which is entirely subjective, because the art/design is clever and far beyond my ability to match. But between the cover and the (non)blurb, I’ll pass.

Nafiza: Huh. I like the cover but then, it is Tor.com. The back copy doesn’t tell me anything so I don’t know whether I am interested in reading it.

Yash: I like it–most Tor covers are fantastic, really–but because the synopsis gives us so little, I don’t know if I’m very invested.

After so much danger, Nessa and Anto can finally dream of a happy life. But the terrible attack on their school has created a witch-hunt for traitors — boys and girls who survived the Call only by making deals with the enemy. To the authorities, Nessa’s guilt is obvious. Her punishment is to be sent back to the nightmare of the Grey Land for the rest of her life. The Sídhe are waiting, and they have a very special fate planned for her.

Meanwhile, with the help of a real traitor, the enemy come pouring into Ireland at the head of a terrifying army. Every human they capture becomes a weapon. Anto and the last students of his old school must find a way to strike a blow at the invaders before they lose their lives, or even worse, their minds. But with every moment Anto is confronted with more evidence of Nessa’s guilt.

For Nessa, the thought of seeing Anto again is the only thing keeping her alive. But if she escapes, and if she can find him, surely he is duty-bound to kill her…

Janet: The cover is spiky and I don’t like it — WAIT PEADAR O’GUILIN WAIT THIS IS THE SEQUEL TO THE CALL I’m so in. *Ahem* So I can’t speak to the top half of the cover, but the bottom half is accurate. (Also please skip past this cover and blurb if you haven’t read The Call, because major spoilers. Also you should definitely read The Call. I’m hoping to review it next month.) Hand this over please and thanks! 🙂

Yash: So, I don’t know anything about The Call, only that the title font is too similar to the title font for Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking  trilogy and that confuses and concerns me a little. Anyway, I do like the colours and I like how much detail is packed into the cover image without it feeling crowded. I’d be interested. Had I read The Call. I shall wait for Janet’s review. 🙂

MY MOTHER WAS A FISH. That’s why I can swim so well, according to my father, who is a plain fisherman with a fisherman’s plain logic, but uncanny flair for the dramatic. And while it’s true that I can cut through the water like a minnow, or a hand dipped over the edge of a speedboat, I personally think it’s because no one can grow up along the Mekong without learning two things: how to swim, and how to avoid the mermaids.

2014 Nebula Awards nominee for Best Short Story.

Janet: The cover just screams danger and depth. Excellent. The blurb is entirely enticing; the title (a reference to the fisher king?) and the nomination are icing on the cake. Tbr.

Nafiza: Everything Janet said.

Yash: I haven’t read Alyssa Wong yet, I don’t think and this seems like a great place to start. What an incredible cover and synopsis. Despite the cropping of the face, I adore this cover. I’m in.