We, bookworms, tend to use “don’t judge a book by its cover” quite literally. After all, we know that not every author, or publisher can afford a beautiful cover, and, perhaps even more importantly, what works for us may not work for others and vice versa. Thus, judging a book by its cover is unfair and shouldn’t be done… even if it’s hard not to do.
To fight against negatively judging covers – which is an all too easy habit to fall into for many of us – I’ve brought you a couple of my favorite novels that have, well, unfortunate covers. Not necessarily bad, no, but they seem(ed) unattractive to me at first sight, and made me not want to pick them up. *hides*
Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl
PLOT: In an attempt to get back together with her ex, CeCe follows him to a Christian summer camp. The problem? She knows nothing about the Bible, which prompts her best friend – and soon to be fake boyfriend – Paul to accompany CeCe to camp.
💙 Hartl makes excellent use of the best friends to lovers trope: Paul and Cece are the cutest. Their interactions made my heart melt, and I adored the way they were both so adorably clueless when it came to how the other felt about them. *sobs*
💙 It approaches sex in a way few YA novels (that I have read) do; it’s incredibly sex positive, while it directly states that not every person wants to have sex. It’s also very inclusive of same sex relationships – as it should be.
💙 On that note, the open and honest discussions on sex ed and consent are two of the most important parts of the novel.
Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley
PLOT: Katie and Sarah have been best friends since they were kids – their different personalities make them one hell of a pair. Everything changes, however, when they get mistaken for a couple, and, to appeal to Sarah’s crush they go along with it. The question is: what happens when Katie starts developing very real feelings for Sarah?
🌸 It’s an F/F romance with OwnVoices lesbian rep and a bi heroine.
🌸 The friendship between the girls and the friendships they develop during the novel are extremely beautiful.
🌸 It actively condemns lgbtq+ stereotypes and shows the struggles of lgbtq+ teens.
🌸 It’s a cute and entertaining novel that will 1000% melt your heart on multiple occasions.
🌸 The atmosphere/voice reminded me a bit of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so if you liked that, try this.
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
PLOT: Private detective Nevada Baylor is tasked with a quasi suicide mission – she has to find and bring in a magic user who can set anything and anyone on fire.
🧡 The romance is pretty fantastic – it’s kind of a slow-burn; the attraction is there from the start but Nevada is not about to start anything with a man who would try to control her.
🧡 The magic system is fascinating – there are different ranks between magic users, and every magic user is part of a House, which they can (a) born into, (b) marry into, (c) found themselves.
🧡 Nevada’s family is delightful – she lives with her four younger cousins/siblings, her mom, and her grandma, and they are all so fun!? For sure I felt like they were uh, a lot at times? To the point where they felt incredibly unrealistic, kind of as if they were the comic relief of the novels, but I enjoyed reading about them a lot.
The Fifth Season by N. K Jemison
PLOT: All fifth seasons are distinctly different from each other, but they do have something in common: they can last for years and they feel much like the apocalypse. The novel starts with a new fifth season and with a tragedy – Essun comes home to find her son brutally murdered, by no other than her husband. The Fifth Season is about the fight for survival, but it’s also about revenge, as Essun sets out to find her husband who also kidnapped their daughter.
💚 (This is actually my “favorite” cover from this post, but I think it’s still pretty boring and this wonderful book deserves better.)
💚 The world-building is detailed, dense (in the best way possible), unique, and captivating. I was confused for a while there, but it all comes together wonderfully as you get more into the book.
💚 I adored the way the novel was divided – we had multiple narrators with great voices.
💚 There’s a big reveal in the novel that took me by total surprise. It’s the kind where you look back at everything and say, “oh, yes, this makes so much sense” but reading the book I was clueless.
Act Like It by Lucy Parker
PLOT: After Richard’s reputation takes several blows, he and Lainie are forced/cajoled into playing a couple by PR to make him look better. The only problem? They can’t stand each other.
💛 Truth to be told, there are plenty of romance covers like and this isn’t the worst, BUT this wonderful, fun rom-com deserves better, so I am including it.
💛 The hate to love romance means that Act Like It blesses us with some of the best banter I’ve ever read – reading this book always puts a smile on my face.
💛 It’s super light-hearted and funny – even when some “drama” is going on or when heavy topics are brought up Parker quickly compensates with a few laughs.
💛 I love the characters so much – Richard is super-grumpy and it took a while for him to grow on me, but I loved Lainie from the start. She is kind and sunny, but will 1000% stand up for herself in any and all situations.
Have you ever turned away from a book because of its cover? Have you ever bought a book because you loved its cover? Do you like these covers? Have you read any of these novels?