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He Said, She Said: Cover Talk

I was browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble recently and it got me thinking about what makes me pick up a book. There are some things that are instant "pick up this book right now" traits for me. These would be things mentioned on the book jacket or on the cover that make me want the book. I started talking to Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan about it and we have very different opinions on what attracts us to a book, so we decided to make this a co-post and discussion! So join in with your thoughts-we'd love to hear them!

GreenBeanTeenQueen: I'm a sucker for pretty dresses. If a cover has a beautiful dress on it, I pick it up right away. Chances are I won't even really care what the book jacket says, I'm going to just stare at the dress and pet the book and come up with ways to make the dress mine. Pretty dresses mean I'm going to pick that book up for sure!

GreenBeanSexyMan-No, no, no. No pretty dresses! I don't care who wrote it-it could even be Harry Potter and the Pretty Dresses by J.K. Rowling and I still wouldn't read it even though I'm eager for more Harry Potter. Give me a simple, elegant cover like the covers of George R R Martin's latest book. Simple, elegant, but also very visually interesting with the few elements that are on the cover. Save the artwork for the inside.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: See, I think that's boring and too simple. If I can't have pretty dresses, I like covers that have an interesting element to them. I'm really drawn to the covers of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Imaginary Girls because of the cool underwater effects.

GreenBeanSexyMan: Yeah, but those have dresses on them too.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Umm...OK, yeah, I guess they do. I like pretty dresses!

GreenBeanSexyMan: I mainly read fantasy and sometimes I really hate fantasy covers. I hate animated fantasy covers. Those are the type of covers that make me embarrassed to read the book in public. If it has an animanted dragon on the cover, I have to force myself to read it. I also really don't want something that screams "I live in my mother's basement!" or Dungeons and Dragons. Fantasy is looked down upon enough, I hate the covers that make it look stupid.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Animated covers aren't my favorite. But some are animated and they don't look so bad. I think the cover of Way of Kings looks good for an animated cover.

GreenBeanSexyMan: That cover's not bad. Like I said, simple is better.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: And I like more details in my cover. One of my favorite animated covers is for Kat, Incorrigible. It's animated, but it adds details to the artwork without looking cheesy, which I think can happen very easily with animated covers.

I'm not drawn to simple covers, I like covers that can give me details. I like when the details on the cover can help set the tone for the book. Another one that comes to mind that does this very well is the cover for A Spy in the House. It has a nice, mysterious tone to the cover which sets up the book nicely.

GreenBeanSexyMan: And both of those have dresses...again.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Well, what can I say? I love my dresses!

What do you think? What draws you to a cover? What makes you hate a cover? And do you want to hear more-our talk kept going and we had fun!


  1. I am on the fence. I like dresses on covers if it fits the book, but I think it is getting way overused. Entwined was probably my favorite dress cover of last year. What draws me first is a color scheme. I like simplicity as well, and a great font.

    Fun post!!

  2. Oh my gosh, that was hilarious to read! That last line by Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan made me LOL. I agree with you about the pretty dresses; it seems every other book I read has a pretty dress on the cover.

  3. This is the closest we've come to "Puke and Glitter," so YES, I want to see it again! Obvs!

  4. LOL, now I'm wanting to know what the plot of Harry Potter and the Pretty Dresses would be :D

  5. I really like the covers for Imaginary Girls and the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but I am honestly not a fan of having dresses on the book cover. So often they don't really add anything but aesthetic value, and I'd like covers that are both pretty and actually have something to do with the book. Plus, so many YA novels nowadays either have a girl staring back at you or in a fanciful dress; it's really hard to have one that stands out among the masses.

    But... at the same time... I disagree with Mr.GreenBeanSexyMan's comment about the A Dance with Dragons cover. It's simple and elegant, sure... but its simplicity would probably make me overlook it in a store.

    Also, "I also really don't want something that screams 'I live in my mother's basement!' or Dungeons and Dragons." <---hahahah, so TRUE!! And it is sad that fantasy is looked down upon :(.

  6. Fun post. I hadn't thought about it, but apparently I like a good pretty dress cover, too. Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney has a great one. And I've even been admiring the dress Julia Child is wearing on the cover of A Covert Affair -- a mid-century modest dress with pretty lines and great texture.

  7. " could even be Harry Potter and the Pretty Dresses by J.K. Rowling and I still wouldn't read it..."

    LOL. What a great post!

  8. I love this exchange! You should do this more often. And you know, I never realized how many dresses were on covers before...

    (I'm with you on The Way of Kings cover - love). I also think the cover for Warbreaker is gorgeous for a painted cover.

  9. Ha! Ilove that everything came back to the dressed. Love the co-posting. I tend to like covers that have interesting elements to them (pretty dresses or not) like the water or like Hourglass which I thought was a really interesting cover as well. I'm not a fan of the fantasy covers, I agree with Mr. Greenbeansexyman on his comments there.


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