Let’s Judge A Book By Its Cover


We know we shouldn’t, but sometimes the cover is our first impression of a book, and it may just be the reason we pick it up in the first place. The YA shelves are full of beautiful, elaborate, and artful covers that draw any reader in. Here are some of our favorite covers that are sure to catch your eye!

The Night Country by Melissa Albert

The Night Country by Melissa Albert has what may just be the most dark and dreamy cover of all time. The striking contrast between the dark blue background and the blood-red designs sets the perfect tone for this twisted fairy tale. It truly is a work of art. The longer you stare at this cover, the more hauntingly beautiful details you’ll notice. Rest assured, the story inside is just as gorgeous and mesmerizing as its top-tier exterior. The second installment of The Hazel Wood series, this novel is full of Albert’s signature rich detail and lyrical prose. The cover offers little hints about what a reader might find between its pages: celestial objects, creeping ivy, ominous candles, a mysterious door, and a human heart dripping with blood, just to name a few. Best of all, the entire series has a cohesive set of covers (who doesn’t love a consistent design theme?) so they will look beautiful sitting together on your bookshelf.

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is proof that flashiness isn’t a prerequisite for an amazing book cover. Told in dual timelines and the alternating perspectives of twins Noah and Jude, this character-driven novel will take your breath away. The soothing white background and clean colorful lines on the cover coincide perfectly with the simple yet emotionally intense contemporary story it contains. The cover design also works as both a subtle nod to the LGBT representation in the novel and the overarching theme that a rainbow can still appear even after life’s heaviest rainstorms.

PRR Writer Emily Pimental

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

The Wilder Girls is hands down my favorite YA cover. It’s beautiful and aesthetic but it also gives a great hint to the book’s plot. The wildflowers beneath the girl’s skin are definitely symbolic. If you like this cover I highly recommend you read the book—it’s a haunting story!

PRR Writer Frances Drye

Yolk by Mary H.K. Chei

I love the bright and clean colors of this cover. It’s simple, yet dynamic, with the sisters on the front and back cover and their holding hands printed across the sides of the pages! Truly an iconic wrap-around book cover!

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

I love multimedia art, and I am so fascinated with the layering of paper to create texture in art. This cover has rich colors and really unique imagery. The new sequel, Tokyo Dreaming, has an equally gorgeous cover!

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

I have spent so much time staring at this cover. I love how it makes vulnerability look so beautiful, and the flowers and butterflies have such an ornate and delicate texture. A stunning cover for a wonderful debut book!

PRR Writer Erika Brittain

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

By far the most stunning YA cover I have ever seen is Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin with cover art by Katt Phatt. It was an automatic buy for me when it first came out. I was (and still am!) enthralled by the beautiful golden serpent design that forms the “&” seen in the title. And it just so happens that the book is amazing too! Be sure to check it out because each subsequent book is fantastic as well.

PRR Assistant Director Sophie Applin

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

One thing I love about YA fantasy novels are the covers that feature an illustration of the main character! Before I even read the jacket copy I know that Sorcery of Thorns is about this fierce female holding a sword, and I’m intrigued. Charlie Bowater’s art is a force to be reckoned with! Her illustration of Elisabeth is beautiful—the small details like the sword’s jewels, curling thorns, and light eyes make this cover a true eye-catcher that lives up to the story inside!

(Some of Charlie Bowater’s other amazing covers include Bone Crier’s Moon, An Enchantment of Ravens, and The Princess Will Save You, plus numerous character illustrations!)

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Mass

This cover is just as epic as the final installment of the Throne of Glass series and as fierce as the queen herself. While Throne of Glass (book 1) was the original cover that made me pick up this high-fantasy series, this cover of Aelin Ashryver Galathynius in her battle armor with the beautiful sword, Goldryn, in her firm grasp is by far the most eye-catching cover of the series. Each installment of the series (except the fifth book Tower of Dawn) is a different color and features Aelin on the cover and spine to make for a beautiful set to display on any bookshelf!

PRR Writer Taylor Quinn

While there are so many more beautiful covers and stories that weren’t included on this list, we hope that this collection will inspire you to pick up one of the titles we mentioned. So, the next time you pick up a book just because its beautiful cover caught your eye off the shelf, don’t feel bad! First impressions mean a lot, and each of the stories we picked certainly live up to the amazing cover art!