Woeful Covers

A few days ago, I was looking into books for the next fiction order, and read a very positive review of Yesterday’s Dead by Pat Bourke, a novel about the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak in Toronto.  I got excited because it can be tough to find historical fiction that I think will appeal to teenagers, and what could be better than a deathly epidemic?  I looked the book up in our vendor’s database and found THIS…

My excitement was snuffed out in an instant. Who thought this cover was a good idea? I am pretty sure it was not someone who has ever tried to get teenagers to read historical fiction. Seriously, what do you even CALL that color?  I think they were going for sepia, but just ewww.

Based on my reaction, I decided not to purchase the book. I know, I know—don’t judge a book by its cover.  But let’s face it: most of us do initially, and in my library, if a book doesn’t have immediate cover appeal, it’s probably going to go the way of Hard Times and The Last of the Mohicans, and make a lovely dust collector.

Thankfully, during my Google image search to find a picture for this post, I saw that the publishers have updated the cover to something more palatable, shown below, which means I probably will add Yesterday’s Dead to the order list.

(I still wonder why the girl has to be headless.  Perhaps there are a number of book cover models in the witness protection program. However, it could be worse; she could look like a catalog ad for Hollister or a prom dress campaign.)

Sadly, this is far from the first time I have experienced cover shock. What follows are a few of my most head-shaking examples.

Really, this one gets a nod for both the cover and the title. I’ve never met princesses with posses before, but I see a whole new world of hip-hop emerging as I write this.  I bought the book anyway because it had reviews from sources I trusted, but I’m going to have to do a LOT of leg work getting it checked out.

I HATE this cover.  I bought it thinking that maybe the werewolf thing wasn’t totally played out, and my teens who love paranormal romance would be forgiving.  Also, it was nominated for the Teens’ Top Ten last year.  (Just checked—it never circulated.)

Did she just get stood up for the homecoming dance in a weird snow/glass storm?  Even though I love dystopian fiction with most of my being, I’m not sure even I can get over the girl on the cover.  Also, this cover has forever guaranteed no teenage boy in my library will touch this book, much less read it.  Talk about lethal power.

So, what are some of your least favorite YA book covers?  What are some of the best?  Do you vehemently disagree with my choices? I’d love to hear from you!



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