Sometimes, however, the cover do the books no favors at all. Plain and simple, they're just a hot mess. In attempting to guess what sells or what a reader wants, some publishers and some designers get it disastrously wrong.
So this week, we have decided to pick our ten least favourite book covers, whether it's books we have still not read because the design is putting us off, or books we love that have non-deserving artwork on the front. These are our personal opinions, and something that just doesn't appeal to our aesthetic sensibilities. An ugly cover can be different for different people, but these are ones where we know for a fact that we are not alone.
1. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The state of this cover. This book series is absolutely wonderful, and the cover really lets it down. It doesn't even give a hint of the epicness that's in this series. It's obviously just something quickly made up, and they haven't been updated yet. I refuse to buy the physical copies until they're remade. I don't want this on my bookshelf at all.
2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
There are many variations of the cover of Vampire Academy, but any of the ones with the Angelina Jolie look-a-like on the front looks dreadful. It's very lucky that they re-did them. This just looks really tacky. Maybe the gates and the title on their own wouldn't have been so bad, but the girl on the front doesn't do the final look any favours.
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (new)
Why put a spoiler on the spine of the book? That's crossing the line.
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (old)
I remember the author saying at the book signing that even she disliked the cover for this book. Putting a cheerleader on the front instead of a girl that truly represents Celaena. This girl doesn't look badass enough, it looks a bit lame and it doesn't even resemble how Celaena is supposed to look. Not a good representation of this story at all. I'm so pleased the book covers have been remade because they look amazing now!
5. I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
All of the Gallagher Girls books look like this, and they need a makeover STAT. I just...urgh. I know they're quite fun and not dark or anything, but at least make them look less...kiddy? They're such great books, and I think if the covers were re-done, they might get read more. Who'd want to walk around with this in their hands? Just a tad embarrassing.
6. Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Lawd. This was a good book, but I didn't want to walk around with it in my hands, because this cover. You could have had something really simplistic or creative with a cover like this, but they decide to stick a girl on it, wearing big hoops in her ears and a top that doesn't fit right. Eh.. not really sure how this helps sell the story.
7. The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Let's face it - there's so many with this kind of cover. A hot guy or just a muscled torso. I mean, that's not the story, there's so much more to it than this. Sure, it's nice to look at but for a book cover, it cheapens it a bit.
8. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
I adore this book. I've contemplated buying the physical copy so many times, but the cover.....urgh. I always put it back down, hoping they remake it. It's so lazy. This story is about two people who love each other, yes, but it also about gangs, it involves violence and it's quite about family too. It has so many meanings to it and they just stick two people nearly kissing on it. I just..why. If I recommend this to someone, they'd see this and go 'are you for real? I'm not reading this sappy romance' nope. It's really not.
Whether I like this book or not, this cover is just....urgh. I cringed when I first saw it, and I still do now whenever I see it. I'd be more bothered had I enjoyed the book, but still. Just look at it. It's dreadful.
10. Leo by Mia Sheridan
I don't see how this cover has anything to do with the book at all. I adore this book, but...really? A guy covering the main protagonists boobs? There's a lot of potential for this book's cover, you could have so many things, but they picked this. I'm not sure if there are physical copies of this book, I read the ebook and I've never seen it in the bookshop, but if it is...no thanks. I'll wait until it's a bit more presentable.
1. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Wendy Higgins's Sweet Evil is not a laughable series. In the world of angels and demons, children who are forced to embody their fathers' sins, there is quite a lot to enjoy. But darn if I don't laugh myself silly whenever I see these covers.
2. Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout
On its own, this cover is typical in its level of atrocity: a girl who doesn't resemble the protagonist staring off into the camera in a field of absolutely nothing. This has been done before. YA can't quite seem to shake the trend. The reason, therefore, that this particular cover has made it onto this list is that Every Last Breath is the finale to a trilogy where the first two books had cringeworthy covers which begged for a revamp, and this was the resulting mid-series cover change. We kid you not. (But, really, when has a mid-series cover change ever been done well?)
3. Titan by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Really, whoever is designing Jennifer L. Armentrout's covers needs a day off. If it's multiple designers, they all need a day off. And make it a day when they're picking designers for her future books, please.
4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The layered, shiny effect on physical books in The Mortal Instruments series goes a long way in concealing the awkwardness of the actual design. But every now and then as I walked around town reading this humongous series (on my Kindle!), I was reminded of how much looks I'd have gotten if I'd opted for physical books instead. ("You're reading about... naked torsos and abs in a big city?") The prequel trilogy to this series, The Infernal Devices, is designed in much the same style, but far less awkwardly. Those designs, in fact, are quite beautiful. This also symbolic of my enjoyment of the series. (A fan of The Infernal Devices, not a big fan of The Mortal Instruments.)
5. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Now, before I get death threats, hear me out. I liked The DUFF. I even liked its unfortunate movie, in all its non-understanding of the book's message. But the only reason I ever picked this book up is because (a) my co-blogger loves it, (b) my co-blogger sent me a copy for my birthday, and (c) I was procrastinating from NaNoWriMo. The basic design of this cover, while succeeding in terms of typography and the basic placement, absolutely failed in pulling me in. On the contrary - it was repellant to me. It's teenage girls and cliques and high school and gossip and boys and foolishness - all that the actual book is not. And I thought I was alone in this until recently, when I dared voice this opinion aloud and had a group of people agree with me. Which is why this cover got a place on this list. I now know I'm not alone in my dislike of it.
6. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Holy awkwardness, another series which saw a cover revamp which went from really bad to... quite bad. Much like my complaints about The DUFF, this is a series which is all magic and humor and effortless enjoyment - something the covers fail at conveying quite spectacularly. I've reviewed all three of the Hex Hall books here on this blog - and only did so earlier this year. The reason being that I am just never in the mood for high school clique wars and vapid teenagers which the covers seems to emphasize. And here, right of the Atlantic, it's pretty hard to find any covers but the ones featured above - the really bad ones.
7. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I just have trouble with vast, meaningful, engrossing series getting a close-up of a face as the cover. Bear with me.
8. Grey by E.L. James
In many ways, I feel like this cover is appropriate. As someone who finds Christian Grey to be one of the most downright terrifying characters in modern literature, the cover of this terrifying eye oddly does it justice for those of us who feels the same. And the fact that it reminds me of The Police's Every Breath You Take is really just gravy. But there is no denying that it's a lazy, uninspired design, and that it has real potential to induce nightmares.
9. The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
It's not that this cover is any better or worse than 99% of other New Adult covers. Really, I could have wandered blindfolded into the NA section, grabbed any book and featured it to illustrate my point. Which is... these covers are half the reason why nobody will take the genre seriously even when we argue that there are gems to be found therein. (Well, half is overstating it by much. But they're part of the reason, definitely.) That is all.
10. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Quite a cute cover, actually, I agree. But here's the thing: this book was the perfect opportunity to have a road trip on the cover. It doesn't have it. (When a book is about a road trip, put the road trip on the cover. When it's tangentially about a road trip, put the road trip on the cover. When it's about something 100% cringeworthy... ignore the subject matter and just put the road trip on the cover.)
Do you have any book covers that you wish you could see remade into something better? Do you agree or disagree with our choices? Tell us your own picks, your cover pet peeves, and how you agree with our list via comments below, or feel free to track us down on social media and rant at us 'til your heart's content:
TOP 10 CRINGEWORTHY BOOK COVERS
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub