Books are the ultimate artistic expression. Within their pages worlds can take shape and characters can perform unmanageable feats. If it wasn’t clear enough, we love books and all things bookish. But every now and again we come across a book, usually through a personal recommendation from a friend, that we absolutely love. As we devoured the chapters we think to ourselves, why didn’t I read this sooner? But then we take a step back, usually in the form of a coffee run or dinner break and get a fresh look at our new favorite book’s cover and, it hits us.
While the contents of our new found favorite novel are spectacular, its cover is downright bewildering. Either by imagery that doesn’t match the contents of the book or by just plain wacky art direction, sometimes a cover of a book can be what holds us back from cracking its spine. We all know that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover... but how often do we actually listen to that advice, especially when we’re surrounded by so many promising choices at the bookstore? We’ve decided to round up a list of our favorite novels that have unique covers to show that you really shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, no matter how wacky that cover may be.
To be fair, we know that some books that were originally published with overly unique covers have been republished with new artwork, but we’re still going to talk about those original publications. Enjoy!
Daughter of Smoke & Bone
By Laini Taylor
Goodreads Rating: 4.04
A lot of people LOVE this book. And yes, the all caps was necessary. This novel is the first of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy (plus one novella) of the same name. We have admittedly not read this one yet, but after a quick perusal of fellow book lovers reviews, we’re pretty excited to pick this book up the next chance we get. Here’s the review provided on the novel’s Goodreads page, because we were going to write our own but then we read this and became confused.
“Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands," she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?”
By Louis Sachar
Goodreads Rating: 3.93
Holes is a classic - in fact, you probably read it in middle school and then watched the movie starring Shia LaBeouf. But let’s get real, this cover is kind of odd. We’ve spoken to more than one reader who thought that the character on the front was an alien upon first inspection. If you haven’t picked up this young adult classic yet, it might be due to its unusual cover. Holes is the story of Stanley Yelnats, who has the unfortunate luck of being under a curse that started with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.
After being sent to Camp Green Lake, a boys’ detention center, Stanley discovers some startling conclusions. One, the holes the boys are being forced to dig all day are for more than just character building and two; there might actually be something to this curse after all.
By Lori Foster
Goodreads Rating: 3.83
Half of this cover makes a lot of sense. A stork dropping a literal baby bomb on the main character, that works. But the main character depicted is what puts this cover on our list. Who is this mysterious person? Because she certainly isn’t the hero depicted in the book. In the novel, the main character, Ray, is a take-no-nonsense mercenary that wears combat boots, weapons belts, and flannels. Because of the cover, Unexpected is not what you expect.
When Eli Conners’ brother is taken captive during a trip to the jungle, he hires the mysterious mercenary, Ray Vereker, to fight his way through the jungle in order to return his brother home safely. Only Ray turns out to be a “her” not a “him,” and passions flare as the duo fights through their mission only to be caught unawares in the weeks following by an unexpected arrival.
A Wrinkle in Time
By Madeleine L’Engle
Goodreads Rating: 4.04
A Wrinkle in Time is a childhood classic, but this novel is perfect for both children and adults alike. L’Engle seemed to shake up the YA genre by not “dumbing down” any of her ideas or concepts in this complex story. L’Engle’s version of time travel is complicated and comprised of high-level concepts that may be hard for some younger readers to understand, but they’ll be so transfixed by the story that they’ll simply go with the flow. As far as the iconic cover art goes... well, that evil floating head was pretty terrifying back in 3rd grade. Better to dive right into the book and not stare too long.
In a nutshell, A Wrinkle in Time is about Meg, her brother Charles, and her friend Calvin as they travel through time and space to rescue Meg’s father, a gifted scientist, from the clutches of evil forces on another planet. With the help of the tesseract, no not that one, Meg and her traveling companions traverse the multiverse in search of her father.
Find Your Next Good Read With Frostbeard
Every book deserves a shot. So the next time you see a book with an unexpected cover, we urge you to flip it over, give the summary a read, and maybe try out the first few pages. You might be surprised by what you find. We are in no way throwing shade at any of the above-listed titles, just the opposite. We love these books so much that we want others to give them a chance. And, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so some of you may even love these covers just the way they are. Whether you’re getting ready to try out a new novel or are preparing to dive into an entire series, we’ve got the perfect book inspired candle just for you. Keep them for yourself or share them with your friends this holiday season, a Frostbeard candle can see you through even the most perilous of literary adventures.