The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

50 YA Covers for 2014


Like all the best things on The Casual Optimist, this post started life as a conversation on Twitter. The topic this time was the under-representation of YA book designers in all these end of the year cover lists. YA covers are becoming more and more sophisticated, yet my posts this year have rarely featured them, so feel that I am unquestionably at fault here. To make some kind of amends, I thought I would post a selection of 50 YA covers from 2014. Many, many thanks to all the book designers and publishing folk (including my colleagues Alisha, Brooke, and Megan at Raincoast) for their suggestions and assistance. And special thanks to Serah-Marie and Derek at Type Books for letting me browse their shelves with my notebook in hand…

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer; design by Kristin Smith (Dutton / September 2014)

Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters; design by Regina Flath (Simon Pulse / October 2014)

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige; design by Ray Shapell (HarperCollins / April 2014)

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / September 2014)

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour; design by Theresa Evangelista (Dutton / May 2014)

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang; design by Paul Zakris (Greenwillow Books / September 2014)

Far From You by Tess Sharpe; design by Whitney Manger; cover photograph by Yojik (Disney-Hyperion / April 2014)

Firecracker by David Iserson; design by Emily Osborne (Razorbill / October 2014)

Forever by Judy Blune (Reissue Edition); design by Lizzy Bromley (Atheneum Books for Young Readers / April 29, 2014)

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell; design by Debra Sfetsios-Conover; illustration Jeffrey Everett (Atheneum Books for Young Readers / September 2014)

Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond; design and illustration by Neil Swaab ( Skyscape / October 2014)

Half Bad by Sally Green; design by Tim Green / Faceout Studio (Viking Juvenile / March 2014)

The Here And Now
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares; design by Natalie Sousa (Delacorte Press, April 2014)

High and Dry by Sarah Skilton; design by The Heads of State (Amulet Books / April 2014)

House of Ivy and Sorrow
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (Turtleback Books / April 2014)

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch; design by Sinem Erkas (Indigo / January 2014)

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; design by Theresa Evangelista  ( Dial / 2014)

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / August 2014)

Jackaby by William Ritter; design by Joel Tippie / Jdrift (Algonquin Young Readers / September 2014)

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid; design by Natalie Sousa (Harlequin Teen / July 2014)

like no other
Like No Other by Una LaMarche; design by Emily Osborne; cover illustration by Michael Kirkham (Razorbill / September 2014)

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira; design by Andrew Arnold (FSG Books for Young Readers / March 2014)

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern; design by Amelia May Mack (Chronicle Books / June 2014)

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins; design & illustration by Jim Tierney (St. Martin’s Griffin / October 2014)

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale; design by ​​Michelle Taormina (HarperTeen / January 2014)

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Simon & Schuster for Young Readers / September 2014)

Paper Airplanes by Dawn O’Porter; design by Maria T. Middleton (Amulet / September 2014)

Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / October 2014)

Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; cover art by Luke Lucas (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / March 2014)

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz; design by Tanya Ross-Hughes; model photo by Ali Smith; title type by Mario Hugo (Hyperion / April 2014)

Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo; design by Jen Wang (Henry Holt & Co. / June 2014)

The previous two books in the series, also designed by Jen Wang:

Salvage by Keren David; design by Sophie Burdess (Atom / July 2014)

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern; cover art by Ann Shen; design by Alison Klapthor (HarperTeen / June 2014)

Schizo by Nic Sheff; design by Kristin Smith (Philomel /September 30, 2014)

Since You’ve Been Gone by Megan Matson; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; photography by Meredith Jenks (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / July 2014)

Smart by Kim Slater; cover illustration by Helen Crawford-White / Studio Helen (Macmillan Children’s Books / June 2014)

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick Press / March 2014 )

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy; design and illustration by Annemieke Beemster Leverenz (Balzer + Bray / 2014)

This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready; design by Karina Granda (Simon Pulse / April 2014)

Tape by Steven Camden; cover art by Keri Smith (HarperCollins Children’s Books / January 2014)

Tease by Amanda Maciel; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (Balzer + Bray / April 2014)

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki; design by Jillian Tamaki & Colleen AF Venable; cover art Jillian Tamaki (First Second / May 2014)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; photographer Anna Wolf (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / April 2014)

Trouble by Non Pratt; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; illustration by Dermot Flynn (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / June 2014)

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu; design by Elizabeth H Clark (Roaring Brook Press / June 2014)

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank; design by Rachael Cole; cover art Elinor Hills (Schwartz & Wade / August 2014)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart; design by Angela Carlino (Delacorte Press / May 2014)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski; design by Elizabeth H Clark; photography by Ali Smith (FSG Books for Young Readers / March 2014)

Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman; design by Maria T. Middleton; illustration by Shane Rebebschied (Harry N. Abrams / September 2014)

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss; design by Matt Johnson (Simon & Schuster Childrens Books / April 2014)

Thanks all


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  1. Excellent list! I worked in a bookstore for almost 20 years and am always drawn in by a good book cover and amazed by how the wrong cover can affect how I think about and even read a book. I especially appreciate the effort you took to credit the designers, cover artists and letterers. I have a kid’s book review blog and always try to include that info and links to the artists when I can find it. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: A Look at Some of the Most Creative YA Book Covers of 2014

  3. Few covers really stick to my mind. I’m shooting covers for stories and do believe that 50% of success of sells based on good catchy and storytelling cover.

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