Funny thing, I actually came up with a post idea or two but as it turns out, it was much more fun to scour for ugly covers. So here we are. 

Feel free to check out my other creative-slump-inspired lovely posts about unfortunate covers. And hey, one of these days, maybe I will actually post a real discussion or something. Stay tuned for that miracle-in-the-making! 

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

 L-R: Danish; French; Russian; Czech

These are heavy on the “terrible” and pretty scant on the “great”, eh? The Danish cover decided to go with a shitty Photoshop of a blurry girl on what looks like a background of an 18th century Russian throne. So that all seems legit. The French cover designers are confused, because they thought that this was a book about witches in a dungeon, so they went for that aesthetic and no one bothered to correct them. There is so much wrong (and straight up offensive, let’s be real) about the Russian cover that I can’t decide where to begin. Ohh I know! Why the fuck is Snooki dressed like she’s in an antebellum porn film? After that, the Czech cover seems tame. It’s just… what appears to be a dead girl lying in the grass. I haven’t read this book, but it seems like either a really big spoiler, or really off-base. Neither is ideal.

Which cover is the most unfortunate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown

L-R: Red Rising- Polish; Red Rising- Latvian; Golden Son– Greek; Morning Star- Latvian

Whatever is happening with the Polish Red Rising is going to give me nightmares. Is that… half a skull, half a face? Just why? Don’t worry, the Latvian Red Rising didn’t want to be left out, so it too can give me nightmares. Is it supposed to be an actual human? Because it looks like a cyborg with a scythe, just saying. Holy fuck, the Greek Golden Son is here to play, because what the hell?! I read this book, and I cannot tell you what incantation of character that is supposed to be. And maybe the Latvian Morning Star isn’t *that* bad, but he is completely channeling John Bender at the end of The Breakfast Club, and I just cannot get past that, sorry.

Which cover is the most unfortunate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

L-R: Swedish; Danish; Polish

I can’t even tell what the Swedish cover is going for, as it looks like a brochure for a (very) gaudy Southern Plantation museum. The Danish version appears to be going for a “Dead Girl with Clarinet” aesthetic (and is it just me, or does that sound like a book Cait would write? 🤔) And is that bird eating said dead girl? This is why I don’t trust birds. Meanwhile, the Polish cover people went with an early-90s tampon ad. Because I am sure that was the vibe Jandy was shooting for.

Which Cover is most unfortunate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

L-R: Czech, Italian, Russian

Poor Holly Black. Remember the covers for The Darkest Part of the Forest? Well, these aren’t much better. First, the Czech folks are totally down with naked YA covers, which…okay. I mean, I see actual sideboob and underboob, and I am pretty sure this character isn’t an adult, but… sure. Let’s not even get into the fact that she’s fucking transparentThe Italians have decided that this is an actual episode of True Blood– only instead of Bill Compton, they slapped what appears to be the lead singer of Green Day on the cover- complete with the emo-guy ear gauges. Cool, Italy. And the Russian cover… well, as usual they’re doing some weird shit. It’s like Lolita-Meets-Twilight and it’s so very wrong.

Which cover is most unfortunate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

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



L-R: I’ll Give You the Sun, Vietnamese; Everything, Everything, Indonesian; Where She Went, German

I have a favorite! But I don’t want to sway your vote. So I am not telling- but I will vote for it!! 😀

Which cover is ALL the pretty?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

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 July 12, 2018 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Funsies , , / 24 Comments

24 responses to “Unfortunate Covers of Your Favorite Books: Part 5

  1. Yes!!! I live for your unfortunate covers post (I like your pretty covers post too). It’s like my version of a horror story. I have a hard time believing that there are no talented designers in these other parts of the world, so am I to believe that this is what they like there? The covers for A Great and Terrible Beauty were all sort of tragic, and even more so, when I think of how lovely the US version is.

    • Ugh RIGHT? Like look- I get that there might not be as many resources as in other countries, so I try to take that into account, but some of these are just… it’s not lack of resources, it’s a lack of like, giving any fucks? (AND I always try to find US or UK terrible ones too hahha. This was a smaller batch so I didn;t but usually there are a few!)

  2. I just love these posts. There are some really really bad covers. Sheesh. For the pretty ones though, I think the Everything Everything cover is beautiful and I like it way more than the U.S. one.


  3. Kel

    Great work once again! I don’t think I saw any “acceptable” bad covers this time around. These were pretty much straight up bad, lol. And thank you for the kind words the other day! Blogger has apparently given up on emailing me when I have comments (which is horrible for someone who doesn’t check her blog daily), so I stumbled across it and am glad I did. We’ll see about “fun time.” I’m officially down to a week and a half and I have that Ron Weasley “Can we panic now?” gif running through my head on repeat, haha. We’ll get there though. No worries. Thanks for the entertainment once again! 🙂

  4. I love these posts because I can be baffled at what book designers are thinking. _Nobody_ is going to buy these books! “Dead Girl With Clarinet” is the worst. I have no idea what’s going on there. Also, the combination of baggy clothes and camera angle makes parts of her body look shriveled. Yuck.

  5. Omg I’m dying.😂😂 WHO HIRED THESE PEOPLE. ANd for the recodr, while I WOULD write about a dead clarinet player (maybe?!) I’m concerned that that girl is ascending into the sky in death (??) with her instrument? and like I get that woodwinds can be unfortunate to play but this is very extra.

    And that first Red Rising cover…that looks like a girl’s face though??? DARROW? WHERE ARE U.

  6. I love this series so much, glad you’re back with another! I absolutely adore A Great and Terrible Beauty, so those covers killed a part of my soul. I mean, who on earth would pick any of those up in a bookshop!? I kinda like the French cover, but NOT for this book oh my god. Gotta love when someone who has no idea about the book designs the cover haha. As for the beautiful covers – I adore Everything, Everything’s – it’s even better than the original. Also, I haven’t read I’ll Give You the Sun, but that cover seems incredibly creative, love it.

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

  7. Wow the Russian cover for Libba Bray’s is getting LOTS of votes! I voted for the French though, because witches. None of those Red Rising covers are any good. I never would have noticed the bird on the Jandy Nelson cover if you hadn’t mentioned it! What even?? And the Coldtown covers… oy. I like the Italian one though, kinda, minus ear gauges. I voted Russian on that one, but the Czech cover is running away with it, so yeah…

    LAstly we have the good covers. Although Everything Everything is the only one I really like? But I DO really like it, if that helps… 🙂

  8. Forget real discussions, these are much more fun 😉 You really found some awful ones. Like, some of these are just sad. They didn’t even bother to *try*. But, other than the random and (now that you’ve reminded me she was like 17) inappropriate nudity on that first Coldest Girl cover, I don’t think it’s terrible? But I love the US version of that cover, so it’s definitely not as good as that, and I feel like it doesn’t quite match the story.

  9. My favourite theme, I always get excited when I see your Unfortunate Covers in my inbox. I am always astounded by the covers you find – what were they thinking! I LOVE The Sky is Everything and all three of those covers are dreadful!. I did vote for the Vietnamese cover though, it’s actually not quite as pretty as the other two, but it is unusual and clever. Great post.

  10. Hahaha I always love these posts from you, Shannon, they never fail to make me smile. I must admit I kind of like the French cover of A Great and Terrible Beauty – it’s giving me Macbeth vibes – but those covers for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown are bad and what even is the Swedish cover of The Sky is Everywhere? It’s like an IKEA advert from the ’90s. That Vietnamese cover of I’ll Give You the Sun is beautiful, though!

  11. I love how you include some positivity at the end of these posts as well just to be positive! I have to admit I didn’t think the Russian cover for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was bad at all! I strangely liked it but then again I haven’t read the book and that might change my mind. However, some of the other covers were truly horrific and I don’t think I can unsee them now 😛

  12. I 100% read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown because of the cover, so if I lived elsewhere, I guess I never would have read it.

    The Latvian covers are really terrible, but I speak Latvian and love Latvia, so I couldn’t vote against them.

    I especially liked the Vietnamese “good” cover.

    Thank you so much for doing these posts. They are gems.

Leave a Reply