Cover Porn: Gorgeous Young Adult Covers

A Gallery of My Favorite Young Adult Book Covers

by REBECCA, August 26, 2013

Y’all, I am extremely superficial, and book covers are an art I particularly love. It’s such an interesting art, because it can go so many different ways. The cover can be a representation of the book, it can reflect the themes of the book, it can abstract an element of the book. It can elevate those elements or make them laughable; it can feel similar to the book or be a total mismatch. When one works it really works, and there is nothing more sublime than when a gorgeous book gets a gorgeous cover (though I must admit, sometimes I have been seduced by a mediocre book with a pretty face). So, here’s a gallery of my favorite cover porn, and—bonus!—most of them are attached to really great books. Enjoy the beauty!

STRONG GRAPHICS

Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt

Both the hardcover (left) and the paperback (right) edition of Tell the Wolves I’m Home are gorgeous. I love how they look like scherenschnitte (the art of German paper cutting) against gorgeous background colors of the trees that feature in the novel. You can read my full review of the book HERE and our interview with the lovely Carol Rifka Brunt HERE.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Maggot Moon, by Sally Gardner

Both the two hardcovers (left and center) and the paperback (right) have this awesome woodblock look that I love, and the hardcover editions have a kind of Russian propaganda poster font going on that is awesome. You can read my full review of the super-awesome Maggot Moon HERE.

Proxy by Alex London

Proxy (Proxy #1), by Alex London

You can’t see it in this image, but the cover itself is metallic, which looks awesome. I love everything about this cover—the doubling of the imagery that echoes the doubling of Knox and his patron, Syd, the colors, the bar code look of the background, the font—everything! And I loved this book, too. You can read my full review HERE.

Teeth by Hannah Moscowitz

Teeth, by Hannah Moskowitz

The fish hooks making a heart is such a goddamned brilliant an image for Teeth. And I love the metallic in the fish scales that look like teeth. It’s so simple and so, so good. My full review of the awesome and eerie Teeth is HERE.

How To Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis

How To Repair a Mechanical Heart, by J.C. Lillis

How To Repair a Mechanical Heart is a self-published book, which makes me all the more impressed by its awesome cover. I love the three-color scheme and halftone dots here that evoke classic comic printing—so adorable, just like the book! My full review is HERE and our interview with the delightful J.C. Lillis HERE.

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Liar & Spy, by Rebecca Stead

I think this paperback (right) change in the lettering is interesting. I really like them both, but I lean toward the hardcover (left) because the bright yellow echoes that window light and the moon and I just love it. This is the absolute perfect cover for Liar & Spy—my full review is HERE.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Sweethearts, by Sara Zarr

The cover of Sweethearts is so simple, but it’s so perfect. The pink and the turquoise against the white background is beautiful, and I just love how lush the frosting on the cookie looks. It doesn’t quite get at the angst between the covers, but it doesn’t really need to because I’m sold. Tessa’s full review of Sweethearts is HERE.

PAINTERLY

Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Girl Unmoored, by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Both the hardcover (left) and the paperback (right) have this beautiful, sunny color scheme, but I particularly like the blue and orange of the hardcover. The fingerpaint-y style of the hardcover fits with the young protagonist’s voice, and the paperback looks like awesome wallpaper that would be in a kid’s room. They perfectly evoke the summeriness of the book, but they definitely don’t give away its heartbreak. You can read my full review of Girl Unmoored HERE.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) and The Scorpio Racesby Maggie Stiefvater

I’m obsessed with the art on The Raven Boys hardcover and The Scorpio Races paperback, both by the incredible Adam S. Doyle. There’s a robustness to his brushstrokes that makes these animals look so dynamic, and I love the colors so much. Besides, these books are both so wonderful that they deserve the best of all possible covers. You can read my full review of The Raven Boys HERE, and The Scorpio Races HERE.

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp Under the Wolf, Under the Dog, by Adam Rapp 33 Snowfish by Adam Rapp

Punkzilla and Under the Wolf, Under the Dog and 33 Snowfish, by Adam Rapp

Adam Rapp’s books often get cover art by one of my favorite illustrators, Timothy Basil Ering. I find his paintings so evocative and otherworldly, and I think they fit Rapp’s style of storytelling and writing perfectly. Ering’s own picture book, The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone, is awesome too.

PHOTOS OF PEOPLE

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn For Burn, by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

I usually hate book covers with photos of people on them, but I think this one is really beautiful. The light, faded colors make these girls look like they’re drenched in strong summer sunlight, and the transparency of the text and the border makes the whole thing look like a framed poster. I just love it (and the book’s good, too!). You can read Tessa’s full review HERE.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1), by Lauren DeStefano

Wither wasn’t a good book, but I adore this cover. It’s so . . . trashy or something. Like, the girl’s dress is so frothy, and so is her hair, but it looks like she’s collapsed in a basement. I love the birdcage and the lines connecting the boxes of text and the circles around the living elements are in such great contrast with that frothiness. Also the colors look great. Too bad the book doesn’t live up to it, but the cover definitely deserves a shout-out. Here is a great 3-part interview with Lizzy Bromley, executive art director at Simon & Schuster, who designed the cover.

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

The Marbury Lens (The Marbury Lens #1), by Andrew Smith

I think this cover is perfect. The blued-out black and white of the picture and font combined with the fiery reds and orange of one lens is an awesome way to indicate the different world that is seen through the Marbury lens. It’s eerie, but not sinister, and it’s what attracted me to what has become one of my favorite books of all time! My full review is HERE.

The Hanged Man by Francesca Lia Block

The Hanged Man, by Francesca Lia Block

Francesca Lia Block’s books often use photos by Suza Scalora, who’s famous for her photographs of fairies. I love how ethereally beautiful this photograph is, but also how this girl, despite that beauty, looks so haunted, which is the core of The Hanged Man: the line between beauty and destruction.

SUBTLE & REALIST

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

The Tragedy Paper, by Elizabeth LaBan

This cover is so simple, but it’s so beautiful—the darkness of the tree branches at the top giving way to the whiteness of the snow below, and both of them creating a tunnel for the dark figure to run through. It’s the light spots that really make it, though, as if the person watching the figure run away is blinded by the light refracting in drops of snow on the lens. A perfect cover for a great book. You can read my full review of The Tragedy Paper HERE.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman

I love the subtle colors here, and how the figure looks realistic, but is so small that it evokes the vastness and non-realism of the novel.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick

You can’t see it in this image, but the hardcover is printed on pearlescent paper that makes the whole thing extra gorgeous. I was at Border’s one night during grad school, and I couldn’t decide what to read. I saw this book on an endcap and was totally captivated by it. Sadly, it’s not a great book, and the sequels are awful, but I still love this cover. The near black and white combined with the subtle red in the feathers. So good.

So, what about you all? What are your favorite YA covers?

Leave a comment

15 Comments

  1. Nice selection! I especially LOVE the covers of How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, Proxy and Teeth. Maybe because those are all books I’ve read :)

    Reply
  2. weheartya

     /  August 27, 2013

    YES YES YES! Man, we have similar cover tastes. (Not identical, but similar.)

    We haven’t done a cover post in a while, but here are some we have liked in the past: http://www.weheartya.com/search/label/covers

    (Hmm, maybe we should do a new one…)

    Reply
  3. I absolutely LOVE the Gemma Doyle trilogy covers. They are SO beautiful. The cover of A Great and Terrible Beauty is what caught my eye!

    Reply
  4. How to Repair a Mechanical Heart is one of my all-time fave YA covers! AMAZING. All the others you mention are fantastic too btw…and you are so not superficial!!! Well, maybe a little. But in a good, healthy way. Wait, does that exist?

    Reply
  5. Margalit

     /  August 26, 2013

    Fun post! And it’s amazing how many of the most wonderful covers are on the most wonderful books!

    Reply
  6. i do the same thing with children’s books – i am mesmerized by the cover art )

    Reply
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