We really shouldn’t judge a book by a cover but I think that most of us are at least a little guilty of doing it. How often do we run out and buy a book that has an amazing cover, or perhaps miss out on an amazing title because the cover is unappealing? I’m here to talk today about the latter, about books that are just wonderful but… I hesitate or have trouble deciding if I want to purchase it for my personal collection because the covers are just atrocious. I really do spend time looking through multiple editions of books when this happens and will go out of my way to purchase old or foreign editions if the cover is nice. Some unpopular opinions ahead, maybe, but let’s talk about some book covers!
Marriage of a Thousand Lies
I’ll admit that the cover was the first thing that caught my eye when I was browsing library shelves, if only for the fact that it is SO bright. It was a debut novel by an author I had never heard of and had decided to pick it up for the synopsis and boy am I glad that I did. Marriage of a Thousand Lies has been one of my favorites this year and one of the rare contemporaries that worked for me. The cover on the other hand, well, the more I look at it the more that I can’t stand it, especially after I noticed the face on the cover which I somehow missed the first time I looked at it. Red and teal are two of some of my favorite colors but combined? Holy moly is it garishly bright and the contrast is simply not pleasing to me.
Oh boy. It’s pretty rare for me to dislike all of the available covers for a book, there’s usually at least one that is decent. The first cover is the original US edition featuring an eye framed around a cartoonish blood splatter. It’s not the worst cover in the world but it’s just really boring. There was nothing about the cover that I found all that appealing and I would not have picked the book up on my own if that was my first impression of the novel.
However, the original cover does not match the travesty that is the new US and UK editions, featuring a stylish and cute anime-style woman holding a syringe. Completely inappropriate and probably a little bit misleading for what the book is if I were to be perfectly honest. The doll faced anime character with the bloody title seems like something that would appeal to teenagers with a cute spooky feel. In reality the plot is about a 42 year old man that holds a fake audition in search of a new bride as he tries desperately to hold onto his youth. It’s an intensely internal novel about aging and so this choice of covers is really confusing to me.
The Hate U Give
I may get some backlash for this and I will preface this with I LOVE The Hate U Give. The second I saw the announcement for On the Come Up I added it to my TBR before even reading the synopsis. I would absolutely read anything by Angie Thomas, she is an absolute treasure and I really admire her.
However, I will also admit that the first time I saw The Hate U Give I instantly scrolled past it without blinking. The cover is just completely unappealing to me, I guess because I don’t like the art style. I was almost disappointed when I saw On the Come Up had a similar style and I know that I may be a minority with my feelings on these covers.
I will note, though, that I actually really like the UK edition of The Hate U Give, which I used for my review, and have been heavily considering purchasing the special Waterstones edition with sprayed pages for my personal collection. I’m a little jealous that UK got a much better cover for such a brilliant novel, but c’est la vie.
The Gift of Fear
Who says non-fiction books can’t have nice covers? I don’t know who decided that serious self help or non-fiction books need to look like a sales ad but I really wish this trend would end. The Gift of Fear is a brilliant self help book about trusting your gut and avoiding danger. The author is a specialist in security issues, having designed the MOSAIC Threat Assessment Systems which has been adopted by the LA Police Department to reduce domestic abuse cases that escalate to homicide. Almost every cover for this book looks like a loud and gaudy sales advertisement and there is nothing about them that is appealing. I would not have picked this book up if it wasn’t for the endless recommendations I’d seen on reddit.
The Edible Woman
Sigh. I love Margaret Atwood and I ADORE The Edible Woman but my goodness do I hate almost all of the covers for this book. I was specific with which paperback cover I purchased for my bookshelf because a majority of the covers for this book are disastrous.
I’m willing to cut publishers some slack—the themes in this book are not immediately obvious even in the synopsis, and so coming up with an appropriate cover can be difficult. But did so many of them have to be so garish and tacky with ugly colors and fonts? I just don’t get it. It’s such a shame too because The Edible Woman is one of my favorite books by Atwood.
Is a bad cover a deciding factor on whether or not you’ll read a book?
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