So, time has passed, and you’d think that my tortured mind would have been able to come up with a discussion or something, right? Wrong. But I have spent some bored evenings looking for fugly covers, so…. here we are! 

Feel free to check out my other creative-slump-inspired lovely posts about unfortunate covers. Someday I’ll do something more creative. For now, let’s just sit around and vote and be judgy and snarky, yay!

The Giver by Lois Lowry


ROW 1 L-R: German, Persian, Lithuanian

ROW 2 L-R: Italian, Hungarian, Greek 

ROW 3 L-R: Croatian, German 2, Dutch

ROW 4 L-R: French, Dutch (English Language), Danish

I can’t actually believe that the creepy ass US one didn’t make the cut- nope, the rest of them were that bad. Let’s break it down, shall we?

  • Row 1: The German one starts us out in an unsettling fashion. Because nothing says “read this book” more than catastrophic facial photoshopping. For the Persian cover, I high key wonder if they got Mandy Patinkin‘s permission to use his likeness… The Lithuanian publishers must just have this book confused with another book altogether.
  • Row 2: The Italian cover figures that if it uses happy bright colors, we’ll ignore the fact that this kid is driving a VERY large wheeled bike through an infant child’s face. The Hungarian folks are extra confused, they’ve mistaken The Giver for some kind of sledding adventure, and unless I am missing something… no. If anyone can decipher the Greek cover… gimme a call, I’m lost.
  • Row 3Hell, we’re all just going to prison for looking at the covers in Row 3. The Croatian, German, and Dutch publishers have pulled out all the molest-y stops, haven’t they? Old man massaging, kissing, and then massaging on a freaking bed a small boy. Just close your browser now, the FBI is on its way, sorry.
  • Row 4: (These seem anticlimactic after the last row, yeah?) Again, The French have mistaken this for a happy little contemporary. The Dutch-English take seems to be going with a “white 90s kid pretending to rap in a music video” take, because sure. And the last one… well, The Danish have taken the US one, and put the most terrifying spin possible on it, so well done really.

Which of these is most unfortunate?

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Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

L-R: Polish, French, Estonian, Unknown English Audio

Guys, the Polish one has won a non-existent award I just made up for worst cover of EVER because I am so creeped out. Delightfully so, really. Thanks Poland! The French cover is confusing because I didn’t realize that Bill the vampire was a stalker in a trench coat but okay. And Estonian friends, I also didn’t know he had some kind of orb in his chest? Or that Sookie tried to see it on the first date… I haven’t a clue why Madonna circa 2012 is in animated form on the English Audio cover. 

Which is most unfortunate?

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Patrick Ness Combo Pack!

L-R: The Ask and the Answer, Russian;  The Rest of Us Just Live Here, BulgarianMonsters of Men, Korean;  More Than This, Russian

I adored The Ask and the Answerbut at no point do I remember skeleton hands being a thing, sorry Russia. I was also unaware that The Rest of Us Just Live Here took place in a zombie rave. Sorry Korean Monsters of Men, but I think Todd was like 15, this man is about 45? And Russia, Russia, Russia. More Than This is about a dead kid with secrets, not an episode of Magic Schoolbus. FFS.

Which is most unfortunate?

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Random Weirdass Books!

L-R: The 100, GeorgianMatched, RomanianUprooted, CroatianThe Scorpio Races, Persian

I don’t think the Georgians have read The 100. Or watched the show. Shame, that. Also I think I see a waiter’s head? And a policeman? They’re kids, get it together. Pretty sure at no point did Cassia in Matched make out with an old paper man. Uprooted has so, so many gorgeous covers. This is very much not one of them.   The Scorpio Races is held on an island called Thisby, not an apocalyptic hellscape.

Which is most unfortunate?

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And some lovely gems, because let’s be positive woooo! 

L-R: The 100, Dutch; Strange the Dreamer, Turkish; Uprooted, Hebrew; Love Letters to the Dead, Serbian

I don’t know if I can pick a favorite! I want them all.

Which of these is PRETTIEST?

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Let us discuss! Which of these is most offensive to your eyes and/or sensibilities? Any that you think aren’t bad? Like any of my picks for nice covers?

Posted May 23, 2018 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Funsies , , / 40 Comments


40 responses to “Unfortunate Covers of Your Favorite Books: Part 4

  1. These are so fun. So… The Giver. Which I’ve never had a desire to read. Those covers are not good. The Greek one is ??? They’re all bad. The Polish Dead Until Dark is horrible, yes. The Patrick Ness choices crack me up- I mean seriously, the Russian one has an octopus and stuff in it?? But I voted for The Ask and the Answer because… weird.

    The romanian Matched is awful. And I voted for The 100 because… The 100! Although I do like that Uprooted cover.

    • That cover of The 100 is the only non-ugly cover in existence, so nice work Dutch people. The Giver… I barely remember it which seems sad, but I know it wasn’t about pedophilia or sledding? I want a poster of the Polish DUD so I can hang it up and laugh forever and ever. And More Than This is like… well actually, it’s reminiscent of Hotel, only it’s a dead kid and it’s even sadder, and yet the Russians think that a waving octopus and an acid trip are appropriate?

  2. I haven’t read it so my opinion doesn’t really count, but I actually really like that cover of The Scorpio Races. I do, however, think that cover of The Giver with the sled is just AWFUL. I’m not actually the biggest fan of The Giver anyway, but that cover is just hideous. Great post as always, Shannon! I always enjoy reading these.

    • Oh your opinion counts! I mean, for some of these the cover isn’t actually *terrible* (especially compared to some of the others hahah) but this is so… not fitting for the book in any way. It’s like, a dreary, quiet town on an island in I guess what is supposed to be like Ireland or something but who knows? Just… not whatever is happening there hah. And thank you SO much!!

  3. Kel

    Wow, Shannon. You outdid yourself this time. I couldn’t even pick one for The Giver. There were too many! The giant baby face in the sky, the emo kid with color laser vision, the obsession with the sled (what is this, Citizen Kane?), not to mention the row of unmentionables. Just…how? XD

  4. Oh wow … These are all very ghastly.
    I’m glad you posted some beautiful ones too at the end because my poor eyes and brain!

  5. Oh my god I want like 15 more of these posts. They’re so fun! I just saw this one on your twitter and then went back and voted on all of them!

    P.S. It was bit tough to find your older ones so maybe you could link them directly? I just had so much fun with these and I wouldn’t want people to miss out on the other because they couldn’t find them!

  6. I refuse to believe any of these are real. Like, you’re totally joshing us, right? Especially all those Giver covers…RIGHT!?!?!??? Oh my gosh. Wow. Please don’t ever stop with these posts, they’re a gold-mind of cringe and wtf.

  7. Oof, I think it’s a tie between the Croation and the Dutch versions of The Giver. They’re both uber creepy . . .

    I had the exact same thought about the Russian More Than This looking like the “Magic Schoolbus!”

  8. Okay, I think this is my favorite post in this series so far. I could not stop laughing at all of the atrocious Giver covers, oh my god. Also THE POLISH DEAD UNTIL DARK KILLED ME.

  9. Omg, I love these posts. Some of these covers are just…did you READ the book? Or a summary? Or anything!!! Come on people! I do love that you ended with some pretty covers though. Loving that one for Strange the Dreamer.


  10. Too many of those Giver covers make it look like a story about molestation. I just couldn’t even. And that cover for Matched. I didn’t even get it.

    • YES YES YES. I don’t know anything about that book, and when I look at the covers they make me feel uncomfortable because I thought it was something horrible like that.

      **My problem with the majority of the covers for all the books is that they’re super dated. They all look likes the 80s and older, and not appealing at all.

  11. Omg I’m DEAD over The Giver ones!! Like holy wow the Danish one looks like the dude is EATING the kid and the second German one looks…I don’t know?! Weirdly romantic?!?And I’m dead over the Chaos Walking one…is that also THE SHINING WOW.?

    But the Turkish Strange the Dreamer is gorgeous and at least someone is doing their design job right.??

  12. WOW, these covers are… well, quite special, I have to say hahaha. I feel like The Giver’s ones are giving off such a creepy vibe to a story that is not really creepy?? WHY are they doing this? It makes me a bit sad. And the Polish cover for Dead Until Dark is sooooooo creepy as well? I’d be scared picking up that book, just because of that cover haha.
    Thank you for sharing beautiful covers at the end of this post haha I LOVED The Love Letters To The Dead one SO much??

  13. WOW! Those Giver covers are bad! You would quickly decide, thanks but no thanks! It does seem the Russians have a sense of humor from the cover of More Than This. And what’s with the Matched cover?!

  14. As I scrolled through the covers for The Giver, I literally just kept saying, “Oh my,” out loud because, somehow, it just kept getting worse. The one with the baby head floating in the sky is killing me, but the ones that make the relationship between the MC and the older guy look creepily sexual are definitely the worst. I had to go with the Dutch one because massaging him on a bed? Oh my. That last Patrick Ness cover looks like some sort of Magic School Bus / acid trip crossover. Maybe the Scorpio Races one doesn’t match the book, but I actually like it!

  15. Ha. I don’t really care much for any of these books, but OF COURSE an 100 book is in your lovely gems category. I AM NOT SURPRISED.

    (I’m surprised the latest Patrick Ness book isn’t in this post, ya know? Just kidding just kidding, it’s not that bad)

  16. LOL. Omg I love these posts. my coworker recently went to France and when he came back he told me all their book covers are awful! hahahah.

  17. How do you even find these gems? 😀
    Some are “OK, you clearly have no idea what this book is about” but others are just….horrible. Like, bad photoshop, no cultural sensitivity, AND you have no idea what this book is about. Which gives me hope that I can have a future career as a book designer in a foreign country someday.

  18. God these are terrific. Terrible. One of those. Okay, so I actually kind of liked the Hungarian cover of The Giver, and the sled is important in the end of the book. (I taught it to five classes one year, so I REALLY know this book.) And The Giver really does put his hands on Jonas’s naked back, and yes, it made the kids laugh and make inappropriate comments whenever we got to that part. Which is precisely why I would NOT emphasize those scenes on the cover! Sheesh! I adore Ness, so those covers are like being repeatedly stabbed in the chest with rusty spoons.

    On a happier note, I love the Strange the Dreamer one. My daughter had to forcibly restrain me from buying the paperback of that the other night just because I love that cover too.She definitely got a good design for the original cover, and I think that’s guided the subsequent designs.

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