Got It Covered: Favorite 2014 YA Book Covers

The other day I came across the Best Book Covers of 2014, as listed by New York Times. My reaction:

The covers themselves are fine, but as a collection of the ‘best of,’ they’re all too minimal for my taste, and seem to run toward one idea of aesthetics. So I wondered what covers would be on my ‘best of’ list for 2014. I got into a great conversation on Twitter about what YA covers of 2014 people loved, and thought I’d share a few of my picks here. Some of these I’ve read and loved and some of these I haven’t gotten the chance to read yet, but their covers are so appealing I just had to include them.

  • Bleed Like Me by Chrisa Desir
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
  • Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Some of these covers, like Bleed Like Me or The Half Life of Molly Pierce or Stitching Snow are striking just upon first look. Others, like Breakfast Served Anytime or We Were Liars or Far From You are gorgeous when you first see them, but become even more meaningful once you’ve finished the book. And some just appeal to me for my own aesthetic preferences, like Isla and the Happily Ever After and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (love those blue-green tones).

And, of course, I have a very special place in my heart for The Chance You Won’t Return‘s cover.

Chance_HJ_comp copyTotally biased, of course, but I think Candlewick did a great job with with one.

In case you need even more great YA covers, check out this list from Buzzfeed–special thanks to Liz Maguire!

I know we’re not supposed to judge books based on their covers, but what are some of your favorite YA covers of 2014?

Cover It Up

Love this post at the Hub about why YA novels deserve better book covers. Unlike much of adult fiction, there are a lot of strange model shots–pictures of girls that crop off their heads, pictures of just girls’ faces, lots of bright colors and big fonts. That doesn’t mean these kinds of covers can’t match a particular story or style. But much of the time, they don’t fully reflect the depth of the story inside. And perhaps even more than adult readers, teens can appreciate a cool design aesthetic. (Check out the stuff that’s posted on Tumblr.) Just because YA readers are younger doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate awesome cover art.

Capillya Uptergrove looks at some covers that work well, such as Winter Town by Steve Emond, which keeps things spare and lovely, or Insurgent by Veronica Roth, which can appeal to readers of any gender. A few other recent covers I’ve lived are The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, and Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. These tend toward the more minimal, which is my taste, but I think they’re good examples of how to design a cover without relying on a model shot.

Just like YA content has been expanding over the last few decades, I think we’re going to see more covers that push boundaries over the next several years. Again, teens are already very design-savvy. Why shouldn’t YA get more covers that reflect that?