The Cover Wars

A standout middle grade debut with a sassy, memorable heroine and a charming Southern feel, perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo and Natalie Lloyd.

Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants.

With her animal familiar sure to make itself known any day now, the only thing left to do is prove to the council that she has heart. Then she will finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy to follow in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors.

But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots.

Set in the evocative Louisiana bayou and the vibrant streets of New Orleans, Evangeline’s is a tale of loyalty and determination, the powerful bonds of friendship and family, and the courage to trust your gut no matter how terrifying that might be.

JANE: I like the look of this cover, it’s kind of spooky, a little bit scary, but not too much, just enough to grab young readers who want something with a bit of adventure and a bit of creepiness. I don’t know about the “charming Southern feel” part, though – if I was a kid, the last thing I’d want is a book that was “charming”, especially if I was looking for an exciting, spooky read about ghosts and banshees.

Nafiza: I like the cover and the back copy is interesting. The only thing that gives me pause is the alligator-skin boots. -_- Still, I love MG so I will probably give this a try if it comes my way.

Everything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester’s debut powerful horror collection, is full of weird, unsettling tales that recalls the styles of such accomplished storytellers as Laird Barron and Tom Piccirilli.

Crawl across the earth and dig in the dirt. Feel it. Tearing at your nails, gritty between your teeth, filling your nostrils. Consume it until it has consumed you. For there you will find the voices that have called from the shadows, the ones that promise to cherish you only to rip your body to shreds.

In Everything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester explores the dark places most people avoid. A hole in an abandoned lot, an illness twisting your loved one into someone you don’t recognize, lust that pushes you farther and farther until no one can hear yours cry for help. In these 18 stories the characters cannot escape the evil that is haunting them. They must make a choice: accept it and become part of what terrifies them the most or allow it to consume them and live in fear forever.

JANE: Ummmm….no. No, no, no. Not for me. But boy, if you’re a fan of spooky, creepy, scary stories, this definitely looks like it will fit the bill. The cover is very atmospheric, the back copy is pretty dark, wow, this is definitely a scary looking collection of short stories.

Nafiza: Oooo, I never seem to manage to finish short story collections but if I did this would be one I would try out. The cover is seriously atmospheric and can be read in so many different ways.

Learn all about Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, in this lush picture book from bestselling mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal.

Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!

JANE: SO CUTE!! Oh my goodness, this cover is so gosh darn cute I can hardly stand it! So joyful and sweet and lovely. And the colours!!! I absolutely need to add this to my collection IMMEDIATELY. I actually don’t have many books on Holi, so I’m very excited to have a look at this one.

Nafiza: YAS. I love it.

Tempest and Tally Jo Trimble are mirror twins—so alike they were almost born the same person—and they’ve been inseparable since birth. But it’s the summer they turn thirteen, and it seems like everyone can tell something is changing between them.

Pa Charlie, whose traveling carnival is the best part of every summer, is watching them closer than ever. Digger, who sneaks poor kids onto the carnival rides for free and smiles faster than anyone, seems to be fixing for a fight. Even Mama is acting different, refusing to travel with the carnival this year even though her own twin, who she hasn’t seen since childhood, will be there.

And Tally and Tempest are the most different of all. There’s a strangeness between them, a thickness to the air, an unseen push and pull, and it’s getting stronger. It starts as a feeling, but soon it’s sputtering and sparking, hurling them backwards, threatening to explode.

When Tally learns that she and Tempest may not be the first twins in their family to be separated by whatever this force is, she realizes she’ll have to find a way to stop it—or she might lose not only her sister, but everyone she loves.

JANE: What a beautiful cover! The back copy surprised me a little – for the most part it sounds like a story about two siblings growing up and growing apart, forging their individual identities and discovering who they are, both together and apart. The last two paragraphs, though, suggests a supernatural element, which to be honest I found a little disappointing. I mean, the kids travel with a carnival, isn’t that interesting enough? And what’s a “flower moon”? Still, a very pretty cover with a lot of shelf appeal.

Nafiza: This seriously appeals to me. Give it to me please.

A middle grade novel in verse that tells the story of a Cuban-American boy who visits his family’s village in Cuba for the first time—and meets a sister he didn’t know he had.

Edver isn’t happy about being shipped off to Cuba to visit the father he barely knows. The island is a place that no one in Miami ever mentions without a sigh, but travel laws have suddenly changed, and now it’s a lot easier for divided families to be reunited. Technology in Cuba hasn’t caught up with the times, though, and Edver is expecting a long, boring summer.

He was NOT expecting to meet a sister he didn’t know he had. Luza is a year older and excited to see her little brother, until she realizes what a spoiled American he is. Looking for something—anything—they might have in common, the siblings sneak onto the Internet, despite it being forbidden in Cuba, and make up a fake butterfly. Maybe now their cryptozoologist mother will come to visit. But their message is intercepted by a dangerous poacher, and suddenly much more than their family is at stake. Edver and Luza have to find a way to overcome their differences to save the Cuban jungle that they both have grown to love.

JANE: Oh how I love verse novels! I love them so very much, and Margarita Engle is such a treasure, I know this will be lovely. And that cover! The colours are so vibrant and inviting! I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

Nafiza: Everything I have read by Engle I have loved and I do so love stories that focus on sibling relationships. I would like to read this one too.