The Cover Wars

Mary Anning, considered the world’s greatest fossilist, discovered her first big find at the age of twelve. This novel is an imaginative re-creation of her childhood in early nineteenth-century Lyme Regis.

Mary was born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, England, to a poor family. She and her older brother were the only two of ten children to survive. Her father, a carpenter and part-time fossil hunter, taught his children to look for fossils.

When her father injured himself and was unable to work, Mary quit school and took up fossil hunting full-time to help support her family, a task that became even more important when her father died, leaving the Annings in debt.

At the age of twelve, Mary, with her older brother Joe, found what they believed to be the skeleton of a gigantic crocodile, the Great Croc of the legends. Between dodging her rival fossil hunter, the Curiman, and the sheer work of carefully digging out the fossil, Mary took almost a year to excavate what would later be termed the Ichthyosaurus.

Mary Anning may have been uneducated, poor and a woman, but her life’s work of fossil hunting led her to make many discoveries that influenced our understanding of prehistoric creatures and the age of the Earth. In 2010, Mary was named among the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science. Charles Darwin even cited Mary’s fossilized creatures as evidence in his book On the Origin of Species.

In this triumphant novel about scientific discovery, Monica Kulling brings Mary Anning and her world to life for young readers.

Jane:

As a child I was obsessed with fossils – I was determined to be a paleontologist, and then a paleoanthropologist. Alas I didn’t hear about Mary Anning until I was an adult, because I’m sure she would’ve been one of little Jane’s superheroes. All of the dinosaur-related people I idolized growing up were men – I never saw or read or heard about any lady fossil hunters, and as I grew up I eventually came to believe, at least on an unconscious level, that women just didn’t go into fields like this. I am really, really looking forward to this book, and to sharing it with girls who are as obsessed with dinosaurs as little Jane was, so many years ago.

Oh, and the cover is very pretty, too.

Nafiza: 

The cover is super pretty and the synopsis even more compelling. I feel like Jane hit on all the main points. Her store underlines the importance of the visibility of women in all the fields they go into, not just to deconstruct the idea of field that only men go into but also to give inspiration to girls who would like to step where fewer women have gone before. I would read this.

Yash:

Aside from Primates, I haven’t read any other books that highlight the achievements of women in the sciences. It’s definitely a gap in my reading habits and I’m all too happy to fill some of that void with this book. The detail of fossils and bones in the earth underneath Mary Anning is beautiful and compelling and even if you didn’t know who she was before the synopsis, you kinda want her to discover those beauties. I’d definitely pick it up at a store/library. I’m glad that her story got a good cover treatment because I’m sure I won’t be the only one picking the book up to read more.

A gripping, relentless, and timely new novel from critically acclaimed author of Allegedly, Tiffany D. Jackson, about the complex mystery of one teenage girl’s disappearance and the traumatic effects of the truth.

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

Jane:

What a striking cover – honestly, I’m not sure if I like it or not. The red is so vibrant that it’s almost hard to look it, which seems to match the sobering subject matter brilliantly. This sounds like a tough read, but as the back copy says, a timely one.

Nafiza: 

The starkness of the cover focuses all attention on the lone figure. The red is a scream and one I am only too happy to give this book. I want to read this.

Yash:

It’s going to kill me, but I’m definitely going to read it. That red suits the tone of the synopsis perfectly: it feels tense and urgent to look at. The title is also kind of amazing. At first glance, I was convinced it was a story about bullies and the kid on the cover didn’t want Monday to happen. The synopsis makes things clearer, but my initial impression of the title remains kinda true? Anyway, it looks very interesting and I’ll definitely be reading it.

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

Jane:

I kind of feel like I’ve seen this cover before. So many fantasy novels recently seem to have similar covers. It’s pretty, but it doesn’t really feel like it would stand out on a shelf. Also – “the boy who broke her heart”, MEH. Isn’t it enough for a heroine to battle drakes and stifle a brewing civil war without a “he broke my heart but we have to work together and eventually we’ll fall in love” storyline? Also – I would love to see more fantasy in which male and female characters work together as peers and equals without a romantic element.

Nafiza: 

The cover is eerie and I like it but whoa, the back copy is super telly and lost my attention after the first paragraph. Why don’t people understand the importance of a well crafted back copy? It is what decides a reader when they will want to read a book or not. It’s the equivalent of a first sentence! I don’t know. I might pick this up. I will have to see what the reviews say first.

Yash:

That cover really draws my eye every time I scroll past. The marble tree, the dark blade, it all looks very decadent and very stark. The synopsis doesn’t really draw me in though. *sigh* I haven’t been reading fantasy much lately.

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it also reminds us what it is to be human.

Jane:

That cover is beautiful, viscerally cold with dark, frost-tinged leaves. I’m really struggling with this one, though, because Ellie just seems to have so little agency. According to the back copy Ellie doesn’t really feel like a person, she seems more like a cardboard cut-out character found in countless stories – the quiet bullied girl who no one notices, who just wants to blend in to the background and get through life. She doesn’t seem to do anything, but rather everything is done to her – she’s a victim, she’s trapped, she has to wait for someone to find her.  Rape culture does all it can to strip women of their agency, to render women powerless and voiceless, so it’s not an unrealistic depiction. Still, I struggle with it. I’m unlikely to read this one just because I don’t read a lot of YA fiction, but I’d be interested to hear what other people think of it.

Nafiza: 

Another beautiful cover and another back copy gone wrong. As Jane said, Ellie really doesn’t seem to have much agency and while this is true in real life, I do not want to read a book in which the main character is more of a voyeur than an active agent. Mostly because I see that too much in real life and I want girls fighting and winning in my fiction.

Yash:

I don’t know if I can deal with this. I didn’t know if I could when I saw the cover–good choice on the colours and the lettering there–but after the synopsis? *sigh* I mean, obviously, there is a need for books like this and obviously, I’m going to read this book … I just wish there wasn’t a need. Not that wishing ever got us anything.

In the tradition of Rooftoppers and Three Times Lucky, critically acclaimed author Jessica Lawson returns with her fourth whimsical, lyrical, and heartfelt middle grade novel about a girl who’s desperately trying to keep her life together, when everything seems to be falling apart.

In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her?

Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.

Jane:

Ummm…what does “woodcraft legacy Minna Treat” mean? What’s a woodcraft legacy?  Is this part of a series? Anyway, it’s a very cute cover, with a story that sounds very charming.

Nafiza: 

I have read Jessica Lawson before I’m sure and I liked what I read. This seems very predictable of the genre though the cover is very beautiful and I’m sure the characters and story will be heartwarming. I’m sure the target audience will have fun with this title.

Yash:

The cover just doesn’t appeal to me and when a cover doesn’t intrigue me at all, I don’t see why I would pick the book up at a store to read the synopsis? But, it’s The Cover Wars, so I will say this: this looks like a damn fun mystery and I may just read it. The cover is just a little underwhelming, imo.