Think a picture’s worth a thousand words? Well, a good book cover’s worth a million. Unfortunately for foreign book publishing, not too many billionaires are coming out of the mix. After spotting an Australian edition of a favorite book cover of mine, I discovered an unfortunate trend. That being the scientific fact 9 out of 10 cover revisions are cringe worthy in Australia. I guess there’s a reason our friends down under never won in any of my Cover Duels competitions. With that in mind I’ve found five covers I think live up to my recent findings, and will proceed to rant about them. Because covers are gold, yo. And also I think the US could use a win right now- even if it’s YA dust jackets 😉 So without further ado…let’s cut to the books.
1.Ruined & Avenged by Amy Tintera
Seeing Avenged on another reviewer’s shelf is actually what prompted this post. It’s probably the ugliest cover I’ve ever seen, made even worse when you consider how much I like the US edition. That blue color scheme is cringey, and what is up with the weird leaning towers in the background??? Not to mention the biggest cover sin of all (and the only thing worse than featuring actual models); animated video game people. While the two women here do look very badass, I would prefer that message not be conveyed using bad art and even worse typography. I might be a little easier on this one if it bore any resemblance to its predecessor, however that’s not the case. They’re both ugly, but completely different brands of horrendous. Even putting all my stylistic observations aside, how can the marketers excuse the fact this trilogy closely resembles the cover trends in adult fantasy? I would never in a million years guess these books were YA. So with all my passionate feelings out there, I’ll end this rant.
2.The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein
Ok, before I start my cover rant for this one I have a question. Did this book ever actually hit shelves? Because for some reason I thought it was an April release date, but never heard anything more as the month came and went. Bad Australian cover aside, I’d love to read this one so please let me know if you’re in the loop. Granted, if the US cover didn’t exist this might be a completely different story. Because, frankly, the Australian perspective of things makes it look like a middle grade sleuth tale. It’s very reminiscent of the (delightful, might I add) The Name of This Book Is Secret, with a colorful palette and no trace of the grit that was Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire. I can’t imagine Elizabeth Wein has changed her writing style that much, so in any event I suspect many readers to go in with the wrong impression.
3.With Malice by Eileen Cook
I don’t actually think the Australian cover is THAT bad for With Malice, but I absolutely adore the US edition. It’s colors are breathtaking, the image of an Italian town conveys so much mystique, and I just feel it’s the perfect canvas for the thriller ahead. On the other hand, Hot Key Books version of the story is a boring one. The brown post card? Lame. The stamp? A bit out of place. That hokey tagline? Unfitting for a book also described as a suspenseful thriller. I don’t think I would ever pick this one up if the cover was the only indicator I had. Life’s too short for boring stories, and that’s exactly the impression this one gives across.
4.The Graces by Laure Eve
Ok, so I don’t even really like the US edition of The Graces. It’s got that funky red and blue color scheme that makes me think of the hokey carnivals you see on TV and IRL, plus it gives me no indicator of what the hell actually about. What it does have going for it is how much better it is than the UK revision, featuring ample seashells and feathers for no discernible reason. Seriously, what it going on here? Nothing about it screams “witches” to me. The fact multiple people thought this cover was a good idea astounds me. This one is totally a “keep the cover facing down in your bookshelf” kind of a book.
5.The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
I do like this cover oddly enough…just not when it’s on a book. It doesn’t follow any of the aesthetic I enjoy, or really mesh with what I consider a traditional dustjacket should look like. I would feel weird whipping this one out in public, with its pop arty style and angsty paper cutout teens. Not as weird as I would though if this were a paperback romance, which I guess is the true test of things. I think I would like this one a lot more if it were dialled down as far as the color scheme and artwork is concerned. It’s also a personal pet peeve of mine when books have holiday centric covers (though the US edition does too for this one), so that would be another major improvement. Potential is here for Australia to redeem itself, it just needs to finetune the craft that is perfect cover art.
What are your least favorite covers? Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments! Also, please stay tuned for next week when I’ll be releasing 5 Times Foreign Book Covers Slayed My Life (In a Good Way!)!
-Keep Calm and Read On