World of YA book covers

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Hello YA readers!

Do you love book covers and book cover design? If you’ve been here for a minute, you know it’s one of my personal passions. This week, as I scoured social media, I was reminded of how many different ways the same book can be packaged, and not just whether or not it gets a paperback cover that differs from its hardcover. There is also a literal world of different covers for books that see international editions.

Let’s take a look at a handful of YA book covers with different, compelling, and interesting designs outside of the United States. I’ve done my best to research information about artists and cover creators, but it’s often hard to find in English…and even more so in other languages.

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At left is the US cover of This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry, designed by David Curtis. It’s smart and minimal and manages to pack a punch with that alone. You know it’s going to be a fun book, but you’ll also be using that humor for a bigger purpose.

The right cover is the German edition. It’s a whole different feel, but it’s also incredibly appealing (heh). I like the ticket, the maximalist foliage in the background, and the color contrast of red and green.

The American and Swedish editions of Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas side by side.

While we’re mostly looking at red American covers, how about Angie Thomas’ Concrete Rose? The illustrated cover blends so perfectly with The Hate U Give while making it clear that it’s all about Maverick’s story. Its style screams late 90s/early 00s. Jenna Stempel-Lobell designed the cover and Cathy Charles illustrated it.

The cover of the Swedish book on the right is both incredibly different and incredibly similar. It’s certainly not illustrated, but it does center Maverick and although the style is less indicative of a period, its timelessness makes it clear that the story itself isn’t historical or timely and relevant today. today. I’m not a big fan of the weird title color combination of yellow on purple blocks, but I dig the Maverick profile that takes center stage.

side by side US and Russian covers for Akemi Dawn Bowman's The Infinity Courts

Akemi Dawn Bowman’s sci-fi adventure The Infinity Courts was released last winter with a cover illustrated by Casey Weldon and designed by Laura Eckes. The pitch for this book, which is the first in a series, is Westwood meets Warcross, and I think the US cover does a great job of conveying that. There’s a mystery to this one, alongside themes of love, humanity, heartbreak, and technology.

The Russian cover on the right strikes me as a bit more fantasy than sci-fi, although it’s also really charming. The long dark braids from the cover artwork are retained, as is the inclusion of stars and a large pink moon.

American and Italian blankets side by side for gold

Johnny Tarajosu’s artwork for Namina Forna’s The Gilded Ones is beautiful, isn’t it? I love that it portrays its main character as both strong and gentle – we see power in all the symbology she dons, as much as we see real softness in her eyes, lips, and expression. The jade green of the cover also really brings out her skin. I

The Italian cover on the right reminds me a lot of the updated covers of the Akata Witch series. It doesn’t offer the same softness for our main character as the American cover, but leans more heavily on strength. Using just two colors only enhances this feeling of being a powerful, power-filled book.

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