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When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books

The Things I Wish Authors (and Publishers) Knew

When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books

When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books. These are the books that I am so glad I picked up despite their uninspiring covers…

I love book covers and sometimes, unashamedly, choose books based on the cover alone. But sadly sometimes bad covers happen to good books.

Unfortunately, these books that, despite me almost standing on my head to promote them, are frequently turned down by the students who visit our school library.

So what do you think? Have you read any of these? Would you pick any of them up based on their covers?

x Ugly Covers

When I was Joe

When I was Joe
by Kerin David
YA Contemporary/Thriller

After witnessing a crime, Ty has to go into witness protection.
The beginning of an excellent thriller/adventure series.


Dont call me Ishmael
Don’t Call me Ishmael
by Michael Gerard Bauer
Children’s Contemporary/Humour

A laugh-out-loud, feel-good story about trying to fit in at Middle School.


by Laurie Halse Anderson
YA Contemporary

A beautifully written contemporary novel from a male POV.



by Jerry Spinelli
Children’s/YA Contemporary

Should you act normal just to fit in or be yourself…?



To Kill a Mocking Bird 
by Harper Lee
YA Historical Fiction

A deeply moving and compassionate look at humanity.
Set in Southern America in the thirties, this book explores topics which remain relevant today.


Catcher in the Rye
Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
YA Realistic Fiction

Previously reviewed here



by Gordon Reece
YA Psychological Thriller/Dark Comedy

Expect the unexpected…



Summer I wasn't me
The Summer I wasn’t Me
by Jessica Verdi
YA Contemporary

Although approaching homosexuality sensitively, this book also cuts to the chase.
Well worth adding to a high school library.


Curious incident
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
YA Contemporary/Mystery

By following the Christopher has he attempts to solve a mystery, which blows the neighbourhood secrets apart, we are afforded a rare glimpse into Asperger’s Syndrome


Perks wallpaper
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
YA Contemporary

A quirky, but charming, journey of a shy outsider as he discovers how the other half live.


Top Ten TuesdayTop ten tuesday

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  1. I just came across your post. A really intersting topic. Covers are such important selling points but so subjective. I actually like all those covers. The strange thing is that my book Don’t Call Me Ishmael has now been published in different countries and languages with around ten different covers and the UK one in your post is probably my favourite (except for the original Australian one that my sone Joe created!) Then again, I guess I’m not the main target audience, so what would I know.
    Glad you like liked the book and thanks for supporting it.

    • Comment by post author

      Wow thank you so much for visiting. I love your books. When I saw that Don’t Call Me Ishmael was being passed over by the students I started reading it to them on their weekly visits to the library. They loved it so much I had to get additional copies!

  2. Ohh this is such a fun topic! I agree with you on some of them- the Catcher in the Rye cover makes me cringe every time I see it, it is one of the ugliest covers ever. And that cover of Perks is terrible too- there are SO many better ways to have done that. Stargirl always turned me off too, it is just so… boring. Actually, on second look, I agree with all of them! I don’t LIKE any of them, but I don’t completely hate Twisted (mostly because I used to love those pencils as a kid) and The Summer I Wasn’t Me isn’t TOO bad, but it isn’t great either. Very nice list!

  3. Ha ha — great topic. I love book cover art and it’s so sad when it goes SO wrong!

    Happy TTT!

  4. I agree with all of these except Perks, I quite like that edition, but then I find the totally plain green one uninspiring! R x

  5. I actually kinda like the covers of Perks and Catcher in the Rye. Nice list. Thanks for visiting my TTT post!

  6. I’m terrible for judging books by their covers. If it’s an author that I’ve loved some of their other things then I’ll grit my teeth and get on with it, but I know I’ve passed by books that I’ve later come to love just because the cover really hasn’t appealed…

  7. Fun topic! It’s so funny to see the covers on some of these classics. This is not how they looked when I read them in school. At all. I guess they are trying to appeal to the YA crowd?

    • Comment by post author

      Ha ha. If that’s what they are trying to do its not working! These are books that gather dust on the shelf despite me trying to promote them. I need to come up with new idea -something like blind date with a book where the books are wrapped in brown paper…

  8. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    Great idea for a list!

    (I would…actually did…pick up Stargirl based on the cover. I thought it was intriguing. But that’s probably just me.)

  9. I actually really liked the cover of Twisted, and I liked the book but it’s not my favorite by LAH. I also read an even uglier version of TKAM, and I still enjoyed that book 🙂

  10. I actually find the Stargirl cover cute. But the rest ain’t exactly pretty. 😛 I DO judge a book by its cover. But put in a good word about a book, and I just might get past my initial impression. Of your list, I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye (my book’s cover was the plain white one), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttile (my cover was plain orange with an inverted dog silhouette), and Perks of Being a Wallflower, my cover of which was the movie poster!!!!! Which is one of my book peeves, really–movie posters/actors’ faces on the cover of a book that was turned into a movie. 😮 But hey, I’ve read good reviews about it (the book) so I still read it despite my book cover bias. And I’m glad I did. 😉

  11. Such a good topic! I totally agree with you about Twisted. What is even going on when that cover? Is it supposed to look like a noose?

  12. Wow another fantastic topic. #TTT should have more of these freebies as there’s been so many fantastic topics! I’ve been hopping from blog to blog to read as many #TTT lists as I can and I am amazed at the creativity of the topics.

    Well done. I actually don’t mind the Perks of Being a Wallflower cover, but I totally understand what you mean with the rest.

    My Top Ten Tuesday

  13. I actually really like the covers of To Kill a Mockingbird and Perks. It’s all about taste though. Happy reading!


  14. Okay those covers are just terrible lol I work in a bookstore and I constantly see a ton of bad covers and also some very poor book titles come into the store and though it may be a good book a lot of people base their reading material off of covers themselves.


  15. The only one that I’ve read from your list is The Summer I Wasn’t Me and I really enjoyed it. I’m curious about a few of the others but never picked them up. Great topic!

  16. I actually love the covers of the Incident Case of the Dog In the Nighttime and Perks! So I’m cool with them! XD But I totally judge books off their covers all. the. time. And I only just recently found a new favourite (The Catalyst by Helena Coggan) after procrastinating it foreeever because of a dodgy cover!
    Here’s my TTT!

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