Got It Covered: Favorite 2014 YA Book Covers

The other day I came across the Best Book Covers of 2014, as listed by New York Times. My reaction:

The covers themselves are fine, but as a collection of the ‘best of,’ they’re all too minimal for my taste, and seem to run toward one idea of aesthetics. So I wondered what covers would be on my ‘best of’ list for 2014. I got into a great conversation on Twitter about what YA covers of 2014 people loved, and thought I’d share a few of my picks here. Some of these I’ve read and loved and some of these I haven’t gotten the chance to read yet, but their covers are so appealing I just had to include them.

  • Bleed Like Me by Chrisa Desir
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
  • Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Some of these covers, like Bleed Like Me or The Half Life of Molly Pierce or Stitching Snow are striking just upon first look. Others, like Breakfast Served Anytime or We Were Liars or Far From You are gorgeous when you first see them, but become even more meaningful once you’ve finished the book. And some just appeal to me for my own aesthetic preferences, like Isla and the Happily Ever After and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (love those blue-green tones).

And, of course, I have a very special place in my heart for The Chance You Won’t Return‘s cover.

Chance_HJ_comp copyTotally biased, of course, but I think Candlewick did a great job with with one.

In case you need even more great YA covers, check out this list from Buzzfeed–special thanks to Liz Maguire!

I know we’re not supposed to judge books based on their covers, but what are some of your favorite YA covers of 2014?

Hearts on a String

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! I know it’s not a happy holiday for everyone, but I think it should be. Valentine’s Day is a chance to share all kinds of love–love for your friends, love for your family, love for your partner, etc. And you can do things your own way. Bake cookies, play board games, put on music and dance like crazy, go to a basketball game, curl up with a favorite collection of short stories–whatever you and your favorites like to do.

In case you’re still looking for ways to share your love, I suggest checking out these adorable bookish Valentine’s Day crafts. My favorite:

valentines-day-heart-garland

This garland would be fun to keep up year-round.

Hope you’re all having a great Valentine’s Day. Cool plans with loved ones? Share in the comments!

(image: Book Riot)

Follow Your Characters

At writing group last weekend, my critique partners mentioned they liked my latest project but were wondering where it was going, exactly. “Me too!” I said (in more or less words). I know a lot of writers who like to outline everything and map out exactly where their characters are going, but that doesn’t really work for me. I’m more of a “write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kind of writer–I have a vague idea of where I’m going, but I don’t have a strict outline and write toward where the characters feel like they should be going. Which sometimes makes it difficult to create a real plot.

So of course I was psyched to see this hilarious comic from Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro about creating plot.

Make sure to click through for the rest. I especially like Yolen’s comment at the end: ““There are two kinds of writers—the ones who figure out a plot ahead of time before writing, and the ones who set their characters in motion and then run after them saying, “Hey. . .wait for me.”” The latter is definitely more like me. And it might take a little while to figure out exactly what’s going on and how it should all come together, but there’s something exciting about chasing after your characters and learning about what’s important to them.

Okay, in case you’re a pants-er like me and do want some plot guidance, here are some great suggestions for laying out a basic plot map.

(image: Mike Cavallaro and Jane Yolen, via Figment) (H/T Lauren M Barrett)

http://lizwritesbooks.com/2012/05/the-7-point-plot-system-aka-save-the-cat-for-pantsers/