Double Cover Trouble

We all have our share of complaints about book covers – especially YA book covers. Dead-looking girls on covers, pretty dresses, white people, and almost-kisses abound. Lately, it looks like cover design has gotten better. It’s more focused on cool fonts, graphic design, symbolic representation. Slowly but surely, we’re seeing more people of color, and they’re less obscured by shadows, objects, or silhouettes. Happy as this makes me, I am a little worried about these upcoming titles and their ability to stand out in a crowd. A cover, whether we like it or not, directs a lot of a book’s interest and determines its circulation, and these are perhaps a bit too similar to other titles coming up. Make sure you study up now; you’re bound to have to clear up confusion for your patrons or yourselves when these almost-twins are released.

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer and Forever for a Year by B.T. Gottfried
In addition to similar-sounding titles, these covers feature similar fonts and shared curves, one with a film strip and one with cherries. Hillyer’s book, due out June 2, is about summer camp and second chances. One-time friends accidentally reunite and have the chance to recreate and perfect a summer – and figure out why their friendship ended. Gottfred’s book (July 7) is a romance, but it also deals with how forevers can be broken and it can be hard to pick up the pieces. Still, the plots should be different enough that you can figure out which one a patron is asking for – so long as you keep the titles straight.

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb and I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
On May 26, Rabb’s novel about heartbreak and road trips drops. The cover seems to indicate that there will be many stops at motels on the road while protagonist Eva journeys to find her lost love, Will. Demetrios’ book, which came out on February 3, has a bit of a head start. Its characters are staying put – but they work at a roadside motel. Rabb’s cover is a bit busier, but if Demetrios’ book is still hot when Rabb’s comes out, expect a bit of confusion. Both really call attention to themselves.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio and Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Starkly different content in these books, which look related thanks to their title-centric line-by-line covers, sans-serif fonts, and handwritten details. Each looks like a nice, simple cover that an actual reader took and marked up. Gregorio’s will be here April 7, and Kirby’s follows two weeks later on April 21. The former is like Middlesex for teens with a more contemporary feel, dealing with coming to terms with being intersex. Things We Know By Heart also deals with the world of interesting medical conundrums. It’s about a girl who tracks down the recipient of her late boyfriend’s donor heart. Still, you should be able to keep these ones straight.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
Niven’s novel, an Eleanor and Park readalike released last month, is sure to remain popular for awhile thanks to movie buzz and aggressive marketing from the publisher. Teens are sure to go for this romance between two people who need each other to bring out their true selves…. and that’s why I worry about Aguirre’s book, due out on April 7, which deals with similar themes, has a shared word in the title, and also has post-its on the cover. One tip: Niven’s book is about a boy obsessed with death, and Aguirre’s male lead loves guitar.

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Gray and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
You might think that because Hawkins’ book is published for adults and is already published that you’ll have no trouble keeping these titles straight. But between the jewel-toned covers and similar titles and the fact that your library likely has a 100+ hold list on The Girl on the Train, I’m willing to bet that when you put Gray’s title on your New Books display on April 28, people will flock to it and think it’s the other. Just remember that Gray’s YA book is a fantasy for fans of Holly Black or Sarah Rees Brennan, and Hawkins’ adult novel is a contemporary thriller in the vein of Gone Girl.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter and After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli and Robert DeFranco
If you don’t remember the one on the left, that’s probably because it was released recently, instantly checked out, and now it’s permanently on hold for everyone. Popular author Carter started a new series with more international intrigue and adventure, about a girl who wants to avenge her mother’s death. This novel came out recently, so it will have a head start over this three-creator title on the right, which doesn’t arrive until August 4 and takes a post-apocalyptic approach. However, given that Carter’s book will likely still be in heavy circulation through the summer, you may do well to familiarize yourself with the two, since the only thing that visually sets them apart is the size of the girl on the cover and what she’s standing on. Then again, they both say “action” so strongly that readers may want both.

I thought I had finished this one, but then I logged into NetGalley and saw Charlie, Presumed Dead on offer, and I thought to myself, “I know I’ve seen that before!” Turns out I kind of have. May 19, Schmidt’s new series opener (Once Upon a Crime Family) drops, so you’ll see a dark and contemporary retelling of The Princess and the Pea in this story about a girl who suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder that makes her bruise easily. Heltzel’s book comes out soon after, on June 2, and also deals with a crime – possible homicide – but its focus is mystery and adventure. While they’re sure to confuse people, I do think that the sans serif font and dark presentation of things we consider light and beautiful make for a compelling cover look.

Have you noticed any other near-twins out there?

–Hannah Gómez, currently reading Gulp by Mary Roach and listening to Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

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Hannah Gómez

Hannah Gómez is a former independent school librarian and now works remotely as a librarian consultant/teacher. She also teaches fitness and writes things. She is on Twitter @shgmclicious