The Cover Wars

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

Janet: The cover is lovely. Alice’s expression is alert, prepared; her body language suggests a lull in combat (a new threat arriving, perhaps?), the splatter-spray hints that the roses are part of the peril and also that Alice’s two worlds are bleeding together, and the white space keeps our focus firmly on Alice. Woo! The back – I’ll admit, I’d hoped that the ace shape was a reference to Alice’s (a)sexuality. However! This looks intriguing and original, so I’ll swallow protests against yet another  Wonderland revision, even stifle groans at mention of a “handsome and mysterious mentor”.

Nafiza: I adore this cover and the back copy is calling my name. I especially appreciate the determined expression on Alice’s face. I am curious to see how Alice is characterized and what McKinney does with Wonderland. I’m super excited.

Yash: I’m with Nafiza and Janet here. I love everything, the nice use of blank space, the way the title is positioned/how they used colours for the title, I love the title itself, and I love, for once, how the paint/blood splatter effect is used a little differently. Alice herself is a magnetic presence. I’m definitely into this–which is saying something since I swore off Wonderland adaptations so long ago.

Patrick “Pack” Walsh may not know exactly where he’s going in life, but he’s happy where he is. He’s got a girlfriend who gets him. His single dad is his best friend. After graduation, he has a desk job lined up at the local crossfit gym, maybe he’ll even work his way up to trainer. He can’t see himself ever leaving the small town of Brooksby, MA. And he’s fine with that.

Then, on his eighteenth birthday, a letter from Pack’s mother changes everything.

Pack hits the road, searching for a mother he’s never known and a family he had no idea existed until now. His journey unearths questions about both of his parents that he never saw coming. And by the end of the summer, Pack has a whole different understanding of his past—and most importantly, where he wants his future to lead.

Janet: Is this not the most Nightvale cover ever? All that is missing is a floating eye or an unmentionable cloud. I like how the first paragraph of the synopsis dishes out solid details in a tone that suggests Pack’s own voice. The last paragraph doesn’t spoil anything, either. Nicely done.

Nafiza: Though this book is not my kind of book, I can appreciate the beauty of the cover. It is so dynamic; the colours are arresting. There is so much movement in it. The back copy, too, is well written and let the reader glimpse a bit of the protagonist which I once again appreciate. I think this book will do well.

Yash: I do love the cover and I’m honestly a little intrigued by the synopsis too. Do he and his girlfriend go on the road trip together? A feminine figure is on the (stunning! beautiful!) cover, but isn’t mentioned in the synopsis? Anyway, I may pick this up when it comes to the library. Everything from the cover to the back copy is clean cut, without giving too much away. I can’t not.

A moving story of grief, honesty, and the healing power of art—the ties that bind us together, even when those we love are gone.

Melanie and Damon are both living in the shadow of loss. For Melanie, it’s the loss of her larger-than-life artist mother, taken by cancer well before her time. For Damon, it’s the loss of his best friend, Carlos, who took his own life.

As they struggle to fill the empty spaces their loved ones left behind, fate conspires to bring them together. Damon takes pictures with Carlos’s camera to try to understand his choices, and Melanie begins painting as a way of feeling closer to her mother. But when the two join their school’s production of Othello, the play they both hoped would be a distraction becomes a test of who they truly are, both together and on their own. And more than anything else, they discover that it just might be possible to live their lives without completely letting go of their sadness.

Janet: Hand and background colour are great; but I can’t like a cover with an obscured face. The back is – well, I’m not running to buy this, but there isn’t anything that is an absolute no. Maybe Othello? Enh. I might glance inside. Might not.

Nafiza: This might be odd but I find the brown hand/unmanicured nail so profoundly beautiful. I don’t mind the obscured face–grief does strange things to people. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to read this but I do like the cover.

Yash: I think this is a gorgeous photograph. I’m not convinced it works for a book cover, but I admit I can’t look away and that I read the back copy with great curiosity. I do love the title and it looks like the story itself may murder me with feels, but if the early buzz is good, I might just.

It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Janet: That cover. Beautiful and so sorrowful. The back gives broad sweeps with a fine hand, suggesting character without spoiling the plot. Tbr.

Nafiza: Like Janet said, this cover is beautiful. I will read this someday.

Yash: Holy crap, I never thought I’d get to see a protagonist like Nisha in my life. I’m in and with great expectations, at that.

A realistic contemporary story of two girls, both named Naomi, whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia.

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

Naomi Marie starts clubs at the library and adores being a big sister. Naomi Edith loves quiet Saturdays and hanging with her best friend in her backyard. And while Naomi Marie’s father lives a few blocks away, Naomi Edith wonders how she’s supposed to get through each day a whole country apart from her mother.

When Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi Edith’s dad get serious about dating, each girl tries to cling to the life she knows and loves. Then their parents push them into attending a class together, where they might just have to find a way to work with each other—and maybe even join forces to find new ways to define family.

Janet: The cover seems to be made of disparate elements and styles that don’t quite fit together. The title font, most noticeably; but even the girls themselves look as though they’ve been transplanted onto the background and are still sending out roots. However, cover and back copy promise a sweet and gentle story with a touch of mischief. I’d glance inside.

Nafiza: I like the cover; it speaks of afternoons when school has let out and time stretches out full of possibilities or not. The title on the other hand feels intrusive. I like the back copy though and am definitely interested in giving this one a try.

Yash: Guys, maybe I’m just not cut out for that middle-grade life. Or maybe I’m not into PARENTS CHANGE EVERYTHING IN THEIR KIDS’ LIVES kind of stories. Mostly because I read books for stability and I guess I still do. The cover is also a mix of styles that don’t, for me, work well together. I don’t think this is for me, even though the back copy shows real heart.

We all knew about Cullen Hickson.

Siblings Brielle and Ray O’Dell are lost. Anxious. Restless. Bullied at his Catholic school for being small and timid, Ray wants to be someone people respect or, even better, someone people fear. Meanwhile, Brielle—whose “popular” status feels tenuous at best—knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. They don’t really understand Bri, and if Bri is being totally honest, she doesn’t really understand them either.

When storied delinquent Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O’Dell siblings, though, everything changes. Brielle and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn’t know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of small-time crime—from breaking and entering to grand theft auto—while Brielle quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman.

But as Brielle and Ray find themselves more and more entwined with Cullen’s antics, the once-thrilling experiences begin to feel increasingly dangerous, culminating in a life-changing event that shakes the teens to their core.

Janet: The cover is intriguing, almost graffiti-style, promising danger. The back is wholly foreboding. I want to grab Bri and Ray by the shoulders and say don’t do it! Seriously, too much tension. Looks maybe good, but I have to pass.

Nafiza: Once again, this is a cover I can appreciate without feeling compelled to read the book. This has nothing to do with the book–it’s just not my kind of book. But I do like the cover.

Yash: Mm, not for me, I think. I’m not interested in reading about white/white-passing (judging by the cover here) kids behaving badly. *shrug*