I’d like to discuss some of the covers I’ve loved. The list of covers I love is so extensive I don’t think I could fit them in a single blog post, but I’ve listed some of the few I’ve been thinking of lately. Recently, I’ve loved atmospheric and soft earthy tones in covers. That’s something that I would love to see publishing pick on more. There’s just something gloomy and dark imbued with softness that I love. It’s like a folktale that shows you beauty before the gloom.
Here are some of my favorites!
Root Magic by Eden Royce
Cover: Jen Bricking, designed by David Curtis
Root Magic is a Middle-Grade historical ghost story set in South Carolina during the 1960s. It features African-American folk magic. This is a cover I’ve been screaming and obsessing about for a long time. I have a hard copy of it for obvious reasons. It’s like the minty-fresh version of a book. It’s cute but gloomy and atmospheric. Root Magic is so wonderfully designed.
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Cover: Alison Jay
This is the final book in Shannon Hale’s Middle-Grade fantasy series The Books of Bayern, which started with The Goose Girl. It’s essentially a feminist twist on Grimm’s tale of the princess who became a goose girl. It’s soft yet dark and boldly told. I will caution that it’s classic Middle-Grade. I used to read these when I was a kid. The art has such an odd perspective and reminds me of the art in Scandinavian fairy tale books.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon
Cover: Micah Epstein, designed by Sonia Chaghatzbanian
Written in collaboration with Daveed Digg and his group, clipping, The Deep is a beautiful and horrific novella of the mermaid-like descendants of an enslaved African woman that had been tossed overboard during the Middle Passage. It drags you through memory, through what it is like to have so many memories and so many feelings in a single person, the way trauma does to a person descending from peoples that have endured centuries of trauma.
The cover is so atmospheric. I love illustrated covers depicting what is deep within the ocean. I can’t get over it. It’s impeccably designed; One of those books I can’t stop opening and going over all of the facets of its beauty.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Cover: Tim Green
This is one of my favorite books from 2020. It has the sharpest of heroines and the most gloomy of atmospheres.
This cover matches the heroine, Noemí, perfectly. Set in the 1950s, sent to check in on her cousin’s wellbeing, and at every wall, she meets horrors. And maybe some mushrooms too. She loves lipstick, cigarettes, and putting on a glamorous dress just to walk around in an old manor. I love the setting of the red dress and her sleek black hair up against the wallpaper. It’s almost like she’s starting to become the wallpaper or yet another painting in the manor. The things it tells about the book are spot on.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
Cover: Erick Dávila, designed by Kelli McAdams
This is Córdova’s upcoming adult debut, releasing from Atria. It is about inheritance, family, and curses. I’ve only recently started to see adult book deals coming out from Latinx authors. I’m happy to see them pick up steam.
Everyone on Twitter flipped out when the artist released the cover. It’s the type of book I would put on a single shelf as if it deserves a showcase by itself.
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Cover: Aykut Aydoğdu
House of Hollow is a modern fairytale with a sharp edge. Think less Disney fairy tale and more bloody mystery. Set in Scotland, two sisters disappeared and were the only ones to return a month later. Their hair turned white, their eyes turned black, and they’ve developed an appetite.
I love soft and earthy covers for YA novels that speak of earthy horrors, like fairytales or folklore. I love how they’ve bordered it in white and kept it simplistic. Nothing is overwhelming, just a person with flowers on their face and seemingly dripping in blood.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso
Cover: Simon Goinard, designed by Lauren Panepinto
This cover is for one of my favorite books, so full disclosure, I’m probably biased here. Simon Goinard is a talent. Wolf has such an atmospheric feel to it. The rain, the gloom, the angst. It feels like horror or a saga, and Goinard perfectly encapsulates that the mood in his painting. The way Talyien, the heroine stands, is unlike what I’ve seen of women on fantasy covers previously. I don’t often see them in armor without being impacted by the male gaze. He perfectly understands that the author is twisting and breaking gender expectations.
The Bladebone by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Cover: Chris Cocozza
Bladebone is the fourth in Ausma Zehanat Khan’s Khorasan Archives, an adult fantasy series from Harper Voyager. The first in the series is Bloodprint, inspired by Muslim history, religion, and culture. This cover, Bladebone, depicts a female warrior in striking blue and gold. I love everything about it. The kingdom. The reflective light. The dudebro pose.