Two days late but worth the wait, amiright? Hopefully, because this topic is so applicable to my life. I can’t say how many times I read a book, only to feel that the cover is an inaccurate representation of the true story. Either because it gives a poor impression of an actually fabulous story, is misleading, or absolutely too boring for words. Sooo…in this most recent Top 5 Wednesday (hosted by Ginger Reads Lainey), I compiled five perfect examples of this. Hopefully I’m not alone in this phenomenon, and you can share some of the covers that make you cringe as well. Without further ado, let’s cut to the books!
1.The Girl with the Wrong Name by Barnabas Miller
Whenever I bring up The Girl with the Wrong Name, I always mention how it’s a must to look past the horrendous cover. And, no lie, it might be the worst dustjacket I’ve ever seen on such an awesome book. Just going down the list of alienating design elements, I’ll start with the font. It looks like Times New Roman which, while perfect for essays, is only a step above Comic Sans in the world of typography. It’s boring, it’s lazy, and it’s largely unappealing to the eye. This is followed up by the classic cover pose of mystery’s; a girl facing away from the camera. Only in this case said model is wearing fashion straight from the worst trends of the early 2000’s. She’s rocking a spaghetti strap tank, cargo pants, and a belt that deserves to be a relic of the past. And that’s it. That’s the whole cover. The entire first impression a reader has, wrapped up in one ugly nutshell. I don’t really know where to get started in fixing this one, so I’ll just leave it at making my PSA to tell you to read it.
2.American Girls by Alison Umminger
When I received American Girls as an ARC, I was extremely hesitant to read it. Despite being drawn to the story, the cover had me thinking it was going off in a direction I didn’t want to read about. After all, what appealed most to me was the introspection and social commentary Alison Umminger alluded to. The US covert on the other hand tells an entirely different story, with artwork more reminiscent of the Kardashians than anything of substance. We have two scantily clad models, and that’s about it. This is a problem two fold, as it alienates various groups of readers, and makes it practically impossible for Umminger’s debut to find its home. You have people like me, looking for a contemporary with more depth, who end up writing AG off from the get go. Then there’s those wanting a fluffy and fast paced romance, of which this story is not. Long story short: this book is so underrated, and I believe this is a big reason why.
3.Soundless by Richelle Mead
Richelle Mead’s big claim to fame with Soundless was how diverse she was being. I’m sure the publishing team at Razorbill was counting on this one being a big success, what with the built in fan base of Mead, and the push on #weneeddiversebooks. Unfortunately, the cover of Soundless is the most unique thing about this book. It seems like someone thought that hiring an Asian cover model, setting the backdrop in a stereotypical Chinese village, and including a quote alluding to such novelties made this story one of a kind. Alas, no. If I dressed in Party City geisha costume I would be more Asian than this book. So if you, like myself, have this one on your TBR solely to see this “fresh” perspective in YA, walk away. Walk away very quickly. Or, more accurately, hold that delete button down two fold. This is not an idea worth bothering with, sans any false expectations this cover may give you.
4.All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry
All the Truth That’s In Me is a smart, thoughtful, quasi-historical fiction novel that everyone should read. Unfortunately for Julie Berry, I don’t think a whole lot of people know that based on the cover. At best it’s unmemorable and at worst resembles a mass market paperback of an indie vampire romance. So is to say; a whole lot of potential readers are writing it off from the get go. If I was a cover designer (which, obviously, I’m completely qualified to do), I would rely on a soft, feminine, romantic color scheme to pull off this books true spirit. Above all else it’s a sweet story, akin to the likes of my recent read The Lost & Found, and that needs to be showcased. However, while I have your attention on the topic, let me just reiterate that this one is definitely worth checking out. Just, you know, maybe loan it from the library, so the “haunting” eyes of the cover model don’t stare into your soul for eternity.
5.Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver’s Delirium is one of the original trendsetters of the horrible cover theme that is “pretty girl faces”. This trilogy is dominated by the appearance of a brown haired, brown eyed model staring somberly into the souls of readers. Not that that’s such a bad thing, but a little more creativity, people! It gives me no insight into what this book is about, and misleads readers in a major way. I get none of the romance, none of the dystopian elements, just a blank slate of nothingness. I do love the color schemes, but beyond a visual level not a whole lot is happening here. As I outline a lot in my Cover Duels series, the best covers contain some kind of symbolic importance to the story contained. An Easter egg if you will, to make us readers feel a part of an elite club. Fortunately for the sake of my aesthetic pleasure, Delirium is a one time shortcoming in Lauren Oliver’s normally fabulous covers.
What covers do you feel are the biggest mispresentation? How would you resdesign them? Let me know in the comments!