The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

52 YA Covers for 2015


As my 2014 post was such a hit, here is my second annual look at the past year’s young adult book covers. This isn’t my speciality, so this list is a lot more of a crowd-sourced effort than my very personal adult list. A special thank you to all the designers who have made suggestions in the past couple of weeks  — you know who you are! — and if there are any burning omissions, please let me know in the comments!

Birdy Jet Purdie
Birdy by Jess Vallance; design by Jet Purdie (Hot Key Books / July 2015)

Big Lie design Jet Purdie
The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew; design by Jet Purdie (Hot Key Books / September 2015)

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert design by Maria Elias; illustration by Christopher Silas Neal (Disney-Hyperion / May 2015)

Cut Both Ways design Erin Fitzsimmons
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (HarperCollins / September 2015)

Zebulon Finch design Lizzy Bromley illustration Ken Taylor
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch; design by Lizzy Bromley; illustration by Ken Taylor (Simon & Schuster / October 2015 )

Delicate Monsters design Kerri Resnick
Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn; design by Kerri Resnick (St. Martin’s Griffin / June 2015)

Drop design Maria Soler illustration Levente Szabó
Drop by Katie Everson; design by Maria Soler; illustration Levente Szabó (Walker Books / August 2015)

Dumplin design by Aurora Parlagreco illus Daniel Stolle
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy; design by Aurora Parlagreco; illustration by Daniel Stolle (Balzer + Bray / September 2015)

Eden West by Pete Hautman; design by Matt Roeser; illustration Dadu Shin (Candlewick / April 2015)

Emmy and Oliver design Sarah Nichole Kaufman illustration Matthew Allen
Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway; design Sarah Nichole Kaufman; illustration Matthew Allen (Balzer + Bray / June 2015)

Everything Everything design N C Sousa
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon; design by N. C. Sousa; cover art by Good Wives and Warriors (Delacorte / September 2015)

Extraordinary Means cover art by Julie McLaughlin
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider; cover art by Julie McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster / June 2015)

This lung-tree illustration is just incredible, but it is worth noting that this UK cover is actually an adaptation of the killed US cover (HarperCollins).

Fans of the Impossible Life design by Jenna Stempel; art by Mia Nolting
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa; design by Jenna Stempel; art by Mia Nolting (Balzer + Bray / September 2015)

5 to 1 design by Jennifer Heuer
5 to 1 by Holly Bodger; design by Jennifer Heuer (Knopf / May 2015)

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough; design by Nina Goffi; illustration by Christopher Silas Neal (Scholastic / April 2015)

The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke; design by Mirada (Breathing Books / December 2015)

History of Blood and Glitter design Kelsey Premo Jones cover art Sam Weber
History of Blood and Glitter by Hannah Moskowitz; design Kelsey Premo Jones; cover art by Sam Weber (Chronicle Books / August 2015)

I Am Princess X
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest; design Phil Falco; cover illustration by Kali Ciesemier (Scholastic / August 2015)

Ill Give You the Sun design Maria Soler; illustration Sophie Heywood
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; design Maria Soler; illustration Sophie Heywood (Walker Books / April 2015)

Walker Books also reissued Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere with matching cover art by Sophie Heywood.

Theresa Evangelista‘s design for the hardcover of I’ll Give You the Sun was on last year’s list.

Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler; design by Michelle Taormina; art by Matthew Allen
Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler; design by Michelle Taormina; art by Matthew Allen (HarperTeen / September 2015)

Island cover art Chris Riddell
Island by Nicky Singer; cover art by Chris Riddell (Caboodle Books / October 2015)

Lottery Boy design Jack Noel
Lottery Boy by Michael Byrne; design by Jack Noel (Walker Books / May 2015)

Madness So Discreet design Erin Fitzsimmons
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis; design by Erin Fitzsimmons; cover art by Brooke Shaden (Katherine Tegen Books / October 2015)

Mosquitoland design Theresa Evangelista illustration Andrew Fairclough
Mosquitoland by David Arnold; design by Theresa Evangelista illustration Andrew Fairclough (Viking Books / March 2015)

My Heart and Other Black Holes design Jenna Stempel
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga; design Jenna Stempel (Balzer + Bray / February 2015)

Nest design Jon Klassen
Nest by Kenneth Oppel; design Lucy Ruth Cummins; cover art Jon Klassen (Simon & Schuster / October 2015)

It also looks pretty spiffy with the jacket removed.

Next Together design Jack Noel
The Next Together by Lauren James; design Jack Noel (Walker Books / September 2015)

Night Owls design Leo Nickolls
Night Owls by Jenn Bennett; design by Leo Nickolls (Simon & Schuster / September 2015)

Panther by David Owen; design Gray318 (Corsair / March 2015)

Placebo Junkies design Ray Shappell
Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson; design Ray Shappell; photograph by Christine Blackburne (Knopf / October 2015)

PS I Still Love You design LR Cummins
PS I Still Love You design Lucy Ruth Cummins; Photography by Douglas Lyle Thompson (Simon & Schuster / May 2015)

Although this is really a variant to the cover of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (on last year’s list), I still think it works really well.

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre; design by Anna Booth; photography by Jon Barkat and Gary Spector (Feiwel & Friends / April 2015)

Rest of Us Just Live Here
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness; design by Erin Fitzsimmons; cover art by Josh Cochran (HarperCollins / October 2015)

It should be noted that this cover glows in the dark.

The UK version was designed by David McDougall for Walker Books.

Save Me design Richard Deas photo art Adam Andrearczyk
Save Me by Jenny Elliott; design Richard Deas photo art Adam Andrearczyk (Swoon Reads / July 2015)

Show and Prove design by Christian Fuenfhausen
Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero; design by Christian Fuenfhausen (Knopf / July 2015)

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda design by Alison Klapthor illustration Chris Bilheimer
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli; design by Alison Klapthor; illustration by Chris Bilheimer (Balzer + Bray / April 2015)

Six of Crows design Rich Deas
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo; design Rich Deas (Henry Holt & Co / September 2015)

Song for Ella Grey design Liz Casal
A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond; design Liz Casal (Delacorte / October 2015)

Symphony design by Matt Roeser
Symphony for the City of the Dead by M. T. Anderson; design by Matt Roeser; illustration by Kikuo Johnson (Candlewick / September 2015)

Thing About Jellyfish design Marcie Lawrence
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin;design by Marcie Lawrence; illustration Terry Fan and Eric Fan (Little Brown & Co / September 2015)

Tonight the Streets design Elizabeth H Clark
Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales; design Elizabeth H. Clark (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / September 2015)

trouble in me
The Trouble In Me by Jack Gantos; design by Christian Fuenfhausen (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / September 2015)

Tiny Pretty Things art Sean Freeman design Michelle Taormina
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton; design by Michelle Taormina; cover art by Sean Freeman (HarperCollins / May 2015)

Vengeance Road illustration Teagan White
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman; illustration by Teagan White (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / September 2015)

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma; design by Connie Gabbert (Algonquin Books / March 2015)

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach; Lucy Ruth Cummins; photographer Meredith Jenks (Simon & Schuster / March 2015)

I still prefer the title-less version!

Willful Machines design Dan Potash
Willful Machines by Tim Foreen; design by Dan Potash (Simon & Schuster / October 2015)

Winterkill design Will Steele illustration Studio Helen
Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman; design and illustration Helen Crawford-White (Faber / November 2015)

Helen’s cover for Darkthaw, the sequel to Winterkill is also rather lovely.

The US cover for Winterkill designed by Maria T. Middleton with art by Shane Rebebschied was on my list last year.

Wolf Wilder illustration Dan Burgess design Lizzy Bromley
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell; Design by Lizzy Bromley; cover art by Dan Burgess (Simon & Schuster / August 2015)

The Winter Place design by Paul Coomey
The Winter Place by Alexander Yates; design by Paul Coomey (Simon & Schuster / October 2015)

(This probably needs to be seen in person as the blue is, I believe, a metallic finish, and the back cover is the image reversed in a lovely orange-red).

Wonders of the Invisible World design by Lynn Buckley
Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak; design by Lynn Buckley (Knopf / September 2015)

X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick Press / January 2015)

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