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America’s Next Top Book Cover: Season 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, everyone on the interweb is reflecting on the “best of” from the past twelve months. Here at The Hub, we’re joining in the fun by listing some of our favorite book covers of the year. Enjoy a look through the image gallery, then read more to find out why each cover was selected. Tell us your favorites in the comments!


The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
It takes a famous old optical illusion (Rubin’s vase) and uses it in a dynamic new way that suggests violence and sadness.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
A simple, graphic, eye-catching cover.

— Becky O’Neil

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Hands down, no contest.  They should make posters of it so we can hang it on our walls!

— Amy Pelman

Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia
I liked it because it was relevant to the story (which begins in a tattoo shop). It’s unique, so it catches your eye, and the illustrations are just plain pretty.

— Molly Wetta

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
For the pure compositional beauty of having the mermaid’s tail wrap around the frame, for the beautiful shimmering blue, and for the deep black of the sea which hints at danger.

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
For the gorgeous rolling of the ocean, the entrancing look on the selkie’s face, and the strange garment she’s wearing which can’t be her seal-skin but is mysterious all the same.

— Mark Flowers

The Selection by Kiera Cass
It is eye catching. The colors of the dress and the girl’s red hair jumped out at me.

— Kris Hickey

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
I think the graphic elements on this one add up to make it look so contemporary and different than the usual stuff. We see so many photographic covers in YA, and I think this one plays with the collage aspect really well. Plus, I think the colors are really fun!

Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers
This contemporary fiction cover definitely hints at the funny and romance-ish based plot of the book in a way that is more spot-on than most titles. I also think the title placement is clever and well-done.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Awesome, artistic cover for an awesome, artistic book.

— Ariel A. Cummins

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
I do not have any idea why that is, but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to read that book! I guess it just struck a chord with me. :)

— Carla Land

Happy Families by Tanita Davis and The Boy Recession by Flynn Meany

I love them because a) they don’t have giant, partially obscured faces or girls in fancy dress on them and b) they use nearly universally recognizable symbols in a way that actually relates to the plot and themes of their stories.

— Emily Calkins Charyk

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

I adore the creepiness of this cover. The back is even better: a skeleton marionette. Sadly, I can’t find a picture of the back cover on the internet. How is that possible?!

Sailor Twain, or, the Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

It seems fitting that a graphic novel would have such an interesting and eye-catching cover. I love the image of the sailor upside down in the river, and the water lapping on the letters of the title.

— Whitney Etchison

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

It beautifully re-imagines the Cinderella fairy tale set in feudal Japan.

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara

Its snowy cover set in the Maine woods shows where depressed high school senior Wren escapes to recover from a tragic accident.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Shows beautiful Liyana dancing to summon her desert tribe’s goddess.

Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull

For the beautiful birds on the cover.

— Sharon Rawlins

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Whitney Etchison

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  1. Oh, Tyra, this makes me so happy…my mascara is running! (Many thanks to Mark Flowers, to MacKids, and to Anne Diebel, who designed the cover.)

  2. Leslie Leslie

    Monstrous Beauty does have a cool cover, but what about Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor?!

  3. Chris Gordon Chris Gordon

    So happy to see Fingerprints of You on this list. It was by far my favorite YA read of 2012, and the custom tattoo cover art is as unique as the story! Excellent group of recommendations, YALSA.

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