Before I read a book, I look at its cover. Despite what people say, you can tell a lot about a book based simply on what it looks like on the outside. Although you cannot judge a story by its cover, the outward appearance can draw you in and make you want to read the words inside. I love talking about covers maybe as much as I love talking about the novels themselves, so I started a feature to spotlight these essential works of art.
Only Everything by Kieran Scott
Release: May 6, 2014 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
High school romance is tough—even for a bona fide love goddess. Can Cupid succeed as a mortal matchmaker?I understand what Only Everything's designer was trying to do with this cover. Its neon-bright color scheme stands out on bookshelves, the elaborate series of swirls around the title adds a romantic touch to the words, and the kissing couple standing center stage clearly proclaims the book's genre.
When Eros (aka Cupid) is expelled from Olympus for defying Zeus after falling in love with Orion, she is banished to what she believes to be hell. We call it New Jersey. If she ever wants to go back to the comforts of her old life, she will have to find love for three couples—without using her powers.
Eros, now calling herself True, immediately identifies her first project in Charlie and believes finding him love will be a piece of cake. Charlie is new at school and eager to break out of his old image of band geek, so it’s lucky for him when he falls in with the right crowd on his first day. But music is still his passion. That is, until he meets Katrina...
Katrina is floundering after the death of her father and takes refuge with a boy who, while not entirely supportive, will be there when she needs him, unlike her mother. Too bad True thinks any girl Charlie talks to is perfect for him. Can she get out of her own way and help Charlie and Katrina connect, or will she be stuck in New Jersey forever?
However, all attempts to individualize and romanticize this cover fall flat. The ostentatious yellows and blues may initially capture readers' attentions, but after a few seconds the psychedelic effect will appear garish and begin to give viewers headaches. The title treatment would have been pretty by itself, but when paired with an already-overwhelming background, it becomes an overload to the senses. Worst of all, the cliché clinging couple drains the image of any uniqueness it may have had, and the models' pseudo-steamy position looks more tacky than romantic. This cover's use of the kissing trend seals the design's failure in its attempt to be both different and sweet.
Although I am excited to read Only Everything, I likely would have passed it up if I was not already a fan of Scott's writing—simply because its outward appearance does not appeal to me at all. This cover makes me want to read the story it holds in private rather than in public, and I once I get my hands on a copy of the book, I will be turning its pages while ensconced in my own room.