The Cover Wars

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

Janet: The title is off-putting (not another woman defined by her father’s occupation!) but the cover is as eye-catching as the chalkboard art it mimics. Classical rewrites are iffy territory; the back copy is a definite no for me unless I hear rave reviews.

Nafiza: The cover is superbly beautiful. I adore the colours, the details, and the drama of it. But the back copy leaves me strangely unmoved. I am undecided whether it is the excessive details or lack of a hook. It just feels rather stagnant at the moment. I am not sure why I should care for these women. I will certainly look at some reviews of it though.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.

Janet: The cover art is intricate, but the strain of white on white isn’t great for anyone with less than perfect vision. The back copy give a scenario, not a character to care about. I’ll pass.

Nafiza: Ugh, another beautiful cover. I love paper cut covers though I think I would have appreciated it had the background provided a contrast. As it is, the effect though startling at first soon becomes too monotonous on the eyes. I appreciated Kat’s debut novel though I wasn’t as blown away as I had hoped to be. I will read some reviews of this one before I make up my mind.

With their mother long dead and their father unknown, eleven-year-old Penny Porter and her twin brother Parker have been bouncing around foster homes for as long as they can remember. Inspired by the historical figures in her favorite book, Penny likes to imagine who she could be related to. Sacagawea? Her genes would be good ones to have. Or maybe Ghandi, or Harriet Tubman. There are endless possibilities!

But while Penny embraces the question marks in her family tree, she and Porter are both ready for a real home. Living with their aging, ornery Grauntie isn’t easy, but it’s better than other places they’ve been, and they don’t want to get moved again—or worse, split up. Penny believes the key to keeping them from being bounced to another new home is getting their town of New Hope, North Carolina back on the state map. And what better way to do that than to spruce up and sell New Hope’s Finest—an old orphanage that was supposed to reopen years ago as the best attraction ever, but never did.

She’s got the creativity and the gumption to do it. And maybe knowing who you are doesn’t matter so much as knowing what you can do. But will that be enough to finally keep her and Parker in one place for good?

Janet: Horrible as this may sound, I’m kind of over plucky orphans with madcap schemes that really shouldn’t work out yet always do. I’d like to like this book, but I need more from the cover and back copy about what Penny and Porter are like on the inside to invest time in reading.

Nafiza: I don’t know how I feel about the cover. I get the cute but I’ve seen better MG covers. The back copy is intriguing so I might pick it up and give it a whirl if I see it in the library.

When Sunflower, a young city girl, moves to the countryside, she grows to love the reed marsh lands – the endlessly flowing river, the friendly buffalo with their strong backs and shiny, round heads, the sky that stretches on and on in its vastness. However, the days are long, and the little girl is lonely. Then she meets Bronze, who, unable to speak, is ostracized by the other village boys. Soon the pair are inseparable, and when Bronze’s family agree to take Sunflower in, it seems that fate has brought him the sister he has always longed for. But life in Damaidi is hard, and Bronze’s family can barely afford to feed themselves. Can the little city girl stay here, in this place where she has finally found happiness?

A classic, heartwarming tale set to the backdrop of the Chinese cultural revolution.

Janet: That cover is beautiful! The ink style is just gorgeous. I haven’t seen many books set in China’s cultural revolution and the surge to the countryside. Yup. This is going on my tbr list.

Nafiza: Basically, everything Janet said.

Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective, prying mom and a big brother who is perfect in every way.

Then Caleb meets Kit – a vibrant, independent, and free girl who lives in a house in the woods-and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky, turns every day into an adventure, and never sees him as his disorder. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and, more and more, danger. Soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him – or Kit.

Janet: The cover is cute, very middle grade. The back copy gives a sense of character without spoiling the plot. I’d look through the first few pages.

Nafiza: See, this is the kind of MG cover I am talking about. It is absolutely beautiful. The back copy presents interesting and chewy conflicts that are sure to pull at my heart strings–heck, stomp at my heart. I would read this.

The March sisters encounter new friends, challenges, school dances, and more in this fresh, modern retelling of the perennial classic, Little Women.

Thirteen-year-old Meg March and her sisters Jo (twelve), Beth (ten), and Amy (nine) are a close-knit group who share in one another’s hopes and dreams, as well as struggles and frustrations. Over the course of one year they get to know their neighbors the Lawrences, attend school dances and sleepovers, have first crushes, and grow closer as sisters despite their differences.

This sweet, contemporary take on part one of the beloved novel Little Women is the perfect introduction for young readers to the March family. With a craft project or recipe at the end of every chapter, Littler Women is sure to become a cherished favorite.

Janet: The cover is extremely cute. I don’t know if I want to read a modernized part 1 of Little Women, and the craft of recipe feels a little like the sort of thing added in to appeal to parents buying for kids, rather than kids buying for themselves, but the cover and the back copy’s emphasis on sisterhood are very appealing.

Nafiza: I read the original when I was a kid, loved it. I read it again as an adult and loathed it. Ugh. So I am going to pass on this one. The cover is a little too blue for me.

The Bone Flute by Patricia Bow

The Bone Flute by Patricia Bow

An outline of treetops formed through the walls of the house. The fire in the windows turned pale yellow, then green, then blue, a watery shadow printed on the trees. And then the house, with its brass, its ivy, and its fiery windows, melted into the night. Camrose has inherited responsibility for an ancient bone […]

The Cover Wars

The Cover Wars

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he […]

A Few Resources from Reconciliation and Indigenous Education

A Few Resources from Reconciliation and Indigenous Education

For the past two months, I’ve been taking UBC’s Edx course on Reconciliation and Indigenous Education. Somehow I missed the fact that the “education” in the title wasn’t just the theory but the practice: this course is primarily aimed at educators, and most of my (literally hundreds of) classmates were teachers or professors. However, although […]