Cover Conversations: Interactions with the Title

Posted March 20, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 25 Comments


I love book covers. I’ve never gone by the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” for a few reasons. If book covers weren’t important, publishers could just print all books on a black cover with the title in white and call it a day. Instead, tons of people work on book covers because they really are marketing tools. A great book cover should be both eye-catching and true to the story. Sometimes, book covers are aesthetically pleasing, but not representative of the actual story, and that can sometimes be almost as bad as a terrible cover to begin with. I have a friend who loves book covers and such as much as I do, and we spend a LOT of our friendship time analyzing book covers, which led me to create this feature. . . COVER CONVERSATIONS.

I know a lot of bloggers have cover features. Some that immediately come to mind are Do! Judge a Book by Its Cover at Pop! Goes the Reader, and Judg(ing) a Book by It’s Cover) at The Novel Hermit, so I’m under no impression that I am trailblazing here, but I really wanted a feature where I could analyze covers.

Today I wanted to talk about a cover trend I’ve been seeing that I absolutely LOVE: When characters or illustrations on the cover interact WITH the title! I love this! And if you need an example, one of my favorites is. . .



I think I like the cover for Fangirl so much because in a way, it’a a bit of leaning on the fourth wall. It’s like the characters have to acknowledge the presence of the title as they hang on the edge of the letters. Besides the cool look, it just really appeals to something inside of me. And Fangirl has a LOT of interaction with the title–Cath’s sitting on one of the letters, her laptop is perched on the edge of another, and Levi is just leaning over so casually. It is illustration perfection(Rainbow Rowell gets the best covers). Then there’s Cath’s thought bubble, which amuses me to no end. I like that the computer has the words “A NOVEL” on it because you get the impression right away that Cath is writing a novel about the boys. I also like how it’s sort of a play on words, because Cath is writing a novel, but Fangirl is also a novel. It’s reminiscent of those books that are titled “SO AND SO: A NOVEL”. The colors for Fangirl are also gorgeous(in person. . . they don’t render quite the same on a screen). The mint green and light pink isn’t a color combination I see often on colors.

Love letters to the Dead

Love Letters to the Dead


Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira also showcases this concept well. First, this cover is stunning through and through. Even without the girl, the font chosen for the title and stunning sky background that fades from dark to lighter would catch my eye immediately. But her addition really gives the cover an extra POP! The girl is pale–almost ghostly–which is fitting considering the title and the synopsis of the book. You can’t see her face, but we get enough details about her to have a pretty decent idea in our head of what she looks like. And I like that it’s clear she’s writing as she hands there on the letters. I think it’s interesting that she’s also slightly covering up the bottom portion of some of the letters in the word “Letters”–mainly the second T.

 The Winner’s Curse


I have mixed thoughts on the cover of The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski as a whole. I know many people love it, but I despise the sideways title–yes it’s original, but it’s hard to read. I’m all for pretty covers, but clarity over confusion any day. That being said, *besides* the sideways title, I think this cover is stunning. It’s a pretty dress cover done right. The angle feels fresh, and look–the girl is grabbing the ornate R of course, just like we’re talking about today. I love that it’s almost dead center in the middle of the cover, and your eyes can’t help but to be drawn to that area. I also love how we’re sort of seeing her through several of the letters.

 Side Effects May Vary

Side Effects May Vary

For today’s last cover, I wanted to spotlight something slightly different. The Side Effects May Vary cover doesn’t have any people or characters interacting with the title, but it does something similar–the ballet slippers are hanging off the word “side”. It’s subtle and not the focus at all–you could easily miss it–but for the purpose of today’s post, I thought it fit this concept well enough. I really love the cover–it looks classic and timeless, and you get all the major players up front. Pill bottle, a checklist, ballet slippers. And I don’t know if it was done on purpose, but I love that the ballet slippers are “hung” up–as in, Alice wants to hang up her ballet aspirations after her diagnosis.

Let’s chat: Do you like this cover concept as much as I do? Know any other recent covers that play with this? Which one of the four featured today is your favorite?



25 responses to “Cover Conversations: Interactions with the Title

  1. Love this feature! (Shhh, I totally judge books by their covers sometimes)
    I really love this! I love when cover art is mixed in with the book title. It seems so…. purposeful. It just brings a whole different “something” to the cover and some how is more dynamic.
    Very fun post and feature!

    • Stormy

      Hey, if we weren’t suppose to judge books by their covers, people wouldn’t put hard work into designs, right? that’s how I justify it to myself.
      I agree about it feeling purposeful. I really love how it just blends elements together!

  2. Fangirl is done by this really good artist. That’s why it’s just awesome and it even has that paperback with the extras it’s one of the few books my graphic designer brother pad attention to because of the artist. 😛 I have seen those other covers around too but I never really noticed any of it and I love that you pointed it out, 😀

  3. This is such an interesting idea! I hadn’t really noticed this before but now that it’s brought up, I definitely like these “interactions” as well. Especially with Love Letters and Winner’s Curse, I feel like that little movement makes the cover stand out, instead of it just being a usual stock photography layered on with typography cover. Fangirl is my favourite though. I LOVE the color scheme and the font for Fangirl and the illustrations are just so cute!

    • Stormy

      Yes, I especially like the one for Love letters to the Dead! I have trouble choosing favorites between LLttD & Fangirl. I think I like the typography better for Love Letters, but they’re both great!

  4. numinousnnp

    I love cover features because they’re just fun too look at and discuss 🙂

    The Winner’s Curse – I never noticed that she’s hanging onto the R. I like that the flare of her dress looks like a flower because that seems like a motif they were going for.

  5. Cait

    I love all these covers. *hugs the Winner’s Curse* It’s probably my favourite and I solely am dying for it just for the cover (I’m pretty shallow like that yes). Fangirl also has such a terrific cover! And I think it really reflects on the book too, yup, like you said. 🙂

    • Stormy

      Hah, I can be shallow when it comes to covers too, so this is a safe place here! I do like all the covers today, but I’m still sort of iffy on The Winner’s Curse. I like it but don’t love it, I think. Fangirl & Love Letters to the Dead are my favorites!

    • Stormy

      I would totally wear that dress. I know people get tired of pretty dress covers, but that dress? Don’t even need a reason.

  6. I always talk about covers on my blog and I think it’s a great discussion starter, so I’m looking forward to more of them. I actually like all the covers you’ve mentioned, but my favourite is probably Love Letters to the Dead just because it looks so stunning, and the font is beautiful 🙂

    • Stormy

      I think Fangirl is my favorite out of these covers, but Love Letters is a close second–it’s just so beautiful!

  7. Kelly

    I didn’t even notice that the girl on The Winner’s Curse was interacting with the font, but now it’s all I can see! Haha

  8. I definitely like all these covers. My favorite is probably Fangirl, because it’s so representative of the book. The other covers could be, too, I just haven’t read them yet. The covers I tend to like the most in general, are covers that really portray what the book is about.

    • Stormy

      Fangirl is my favorite too! I think The Winner’s Curse is a fairly good representation of the book, but nothing spectacular. I do think Side Effects May Vary works REALLY well, especially when you learn about the Ferris Wheel in the book. But Fangirl’s still my favorite.

  9. I recently did a discussion post on covers as well! I am a (as my co-blogger Rashika would say) a cover whore, haha! I adore the cover for Fangirl–the colors blend really nicely with each other, the illustrations are adorable and the fonts are nice, simple and readable. I’m not a huge fan of the Love Letters to the Dead cover, since the black font for “Dead” is contradicting the white of the other words, but I love the concept and how the girl’s sitting on the word. I ADORE the Winner’s Curse’s cover. The fonts are so elegant, and I love how the girl’s holding the letter. I may have to tilt my head to read the title, though. 🙂 I really like the colors used in the Side Effects May Vary cover, as well as how significant each image is to the story. It’s a simple but really eye catching cover.

    I can’t wait for more posts for this feature, Stormy! <3

    • Stormy

      Yeah, the cover for Fangirl is definitely my favorite as well! I honestly don’t even think I noticed the white/black colors on Love Letters(though I do still love the cover!). The Winner’s Curse is kinda eh for me. . . it’s pretty, but I don’t like when anything becomes less readable.

  10. Great idea for a feature! I am looking forward to your future posts as part of this feature!
    I love covers as well and I think a good cover can really add the the book in general. And while there are some good books with bad covers, I am still less likely to pick those up. I especially like covers that fit the story. One of the best covers I saw recently is the one for Face Time by SJ Pajonas, the cover tells almost the whole blurb, it’s really awesome!

    Also while I’ve seen the cover for Winner’s Curse quite some times on other blogs I never realized the girl is holding the R. Although I don’t really like this cover. I don’t really have something with covers on which the characters interact with the titles, but I never realized how many of those there are, probably because I don’t pay them much attention.

    • Stormy

      I actually didn’t realize the girl was holding the R on The Winner’s Curse until someone pointed it out to me! I didn’t like The Winner’s Curse cover at first, but it grew on me.

  11. Very interesting! I’ll admit, I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing covers, but if there are ones I’m particularly drawn to, I spend a long time looking at them and taking in all the little things about them. I really like how you’ve pointed out this particular cover concept of playing with the title. I loved how the girl on the cover of The Winner’s Curse is holding onto the letters. I don’t 100% get it, but it’s a cool look. My favorite, hands down, though is the cover of Fangirl. It’s a perfect representation of the book! Great new feature and can’t wait to talk about more covers!

    • Stormy

      Ha, I’ve been known to drag a friend to the bookstore with me *just* to analyze the covers. It’s a compulsion, I suppose. I LOVE the cover of Fangirl! It just works so, so perfectly with the story.

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