Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
The adult romance cartoon covers are slipping into YA and I am in love!
Granted, YA has had a lot of cartoony covers recently, but it’s becoming more of a trend and I’m so happy.
However, there are some distinctions within my personal preferences of what I like and what I don’t:
I love the bright, hand illustrated not overly detailed figures of such covers as The Kiss Quotient, The Royal We, The Proposal, Take a Hint, Dani Brown and One to Watch. They are bright, stylized and fresh (also, the generally undetailed faces means that readers can insert themselves into the character easier).
I do not like cover illustrations with lots of fine lines—it feels amateurish and sloppy. Books like I Wish You All The Best, The State of Us and Her Royal Highness just bother me, while I dislike the overly serious artsy feel of books like We Are Okay and Orpheus Girl.
And yes, it’s annoying to me that the majority of these books with covers that I really dislike are all LGBT books. Why can’t they get pretty covers too? (Minus The State of Us, which fully deserves its shit cover).
However, there is a dark side to these cute, cartoony covers, one that is sliding over from adult romancelandia to YAland: it’s a sneaky way to avoid putting actual people of cover on book covers (see: Boy in Blue, The Black Flamingo, Felix Ever After, etc., etc.). The trend is moving away from real people on romance covers in general, but the big shift started creeping in with the return of contemporary romances and the increased push for highlighting and reading more authors of color. The trend has its perks: the non-romancey covers get more non-romance readers picking up those books. The downside is that many authors and readers of color don’t get to see themselves reflected in a book cover with a real person.
Anywho, here are some upcoming YA books with cartoony covers that have me swooning at their outsides and potential insides!
And while you’re swooning along with me, check out how many of these covers have people of color/LGBTQIAP+ characters. Granted, I’ve cherry-picked my favorites, but check the YA section next time you go to a bookstore.
Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest (August 20, 2020)
Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted. Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears. I loved her debut, and this new one sounds so interesting!
The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani (March 23, 2021)
Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer – even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule. Yet the court holds its share of surprises. But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself. Did I request this book from NetGalley 100% because of the cover? You betcha.
Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira (March 2, 2021)
Carmen Aguilar just wants to make her happily ever after come true. Except apparently “happily ever after” for Carmen involves being stuck in an unpaid summer internship! All she has to do is perform! In a ball gown! During the summer. In Miami. If Carmen is going to move into the future she wants, she needs to leave the past behind. And if she can manage dancing in the blistering heat, fending off Mauro’s texts, and stopping Ariana from ruining her own quinceañera Carmen might just get that happily ever after after all. *squeals* I’m trash for Disney-esque princesses and this just hits all my guilty pleasures. Can. Not. Wait.
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le (February 9, 2021)
If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and spark and fire. For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring phở restaurants. Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories? You all have no fucking clue how excited for this book I am!!!!
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant (January 5, 2021)
Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. This sounds so adorable.
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer (November 3, 2020)
Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate. Kinda on the fence with this one. I’m either hot or cold with Meyer’s works.
May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor (May 21, 2021)
ZR Ellor’s May the Best Man Win is a debut YA novel about a throw-down battle for Homecoming King between a transgender teen and the boy he dumped last summer… Yeah. That’s literally the blurb on Goodreads. I NEED MORE! This sounds fantastic and that cover…apparently there is a height disparity between smol teen and tol teen and I am intrigued?
She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen (April 20, 2021)
After losing spectacularly to her ex-girlfriend in their first game since their break up, Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, the incredibly beautiful and incredibly mean Irene Abraham. Things only get worse when their nosey, do-gooder moms get involved and the girls are forced to carpool together until Irene’s car gets out of the shop. Their bumpy start the only gets bumpier the more time they spend together. Fake dating? Hells yes! This cover does have a lot of the overly fine lines that I really, really do not like but my dislike is replaced by girl with basketball and a cheerleader! Yes sports!
March 2021 is bringing so many amazing looking reads! I have no idea how I’ll get to them all.
What’re your thoughts on cartoony covers?