The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Notable YA Book Covers of 2016

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Hot on the heels of my annual covers post, here is my look back at the year’s young adult book covers. As in previous years, this list is a somewhat crowd-sourced affair, so I must thank all the designers and Twitter-folk who made suggestions and helped in various others ways. I’ve tried my best to credit the designs as fully as possible, but please let me know if there are any errors or omissions.

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Aluta by Adwoa Badoe; design Michael Solomon; cover art Shonagh Rae (Groundwood / September 2016)

American Girls by Alison Umminger; design by Philip Pascuzzo (Flat Iron / June 2016)
American Girls by Alison Umminger; design by Philip Pascuzzo (Flatiron / June 2016)

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And I Darken by Kiersten White; cover art by Alessandro Taini (Corgi / July 2016)

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As I Descended by Robin Talley; design by Michelle Taormina (HarperCollins / October 2016)

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Beast by Brie Spangler; design by Leo Nickolls (Knopf / October 2016)

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Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh; design by Leo Nickolls (Delacorte / February 2016)

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Burdago; cover art by Thomas Walker and John Bartlett; design Thomas Walker and Richard Deas (Henry Holt / September 2016)

Cuckoo design Jack Smyth
Cuckoo by Keren David; design by Jack Smyth (Atom / August 2016)

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A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith; design Elizabeth H. Clark (Roaring Brook / October 2016)

Enter Title Here design Maria Elias
Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia; design by Maria Elias (Hyperion / August 2016)

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Exit, Pursued by Bear by E. K. Johnston; design by Kristin Logsdon (Dutton / March 2016)

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The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes; design by Sarah Nicole Kaufman (HarperTeen / May 2016)

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A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry; design by Allison Colpoys (Algonquin / April 2016)

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Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup; design by Ray Shappell (HarperCollins / June 2016)

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Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / April 2016)

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The Graces by Laure Eve; design by Maria T. Middleton; illustration by Spencer Charles (Amulet / September 2016)

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The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle; design by Krista Vossen (Simon & Schuster / March 2016)

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The Haters by Jesse Andrews; design by Chad W. Beckerman and Will Staehle (Abrams / April 2016)

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo; design by Liz Dresner and Elaine C. Damasco; photograph by Michael Frost (Flatiron / May 2016)

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Into White by Randi Pink; design by April Ward (Feiwel & Friends / September 2016)

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The Island by Olivia Levez; design by Nathan Burton (Oneworld / November 2016)

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Kids of Appetite by David Arnold; design Theresa Evangelista; illustration Yuschav Arly (Viking / September 2016)

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It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / December 2016)

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Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig; design by Rich Deas (Feiwel & Friends / October 2016)

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge; design by Maria T. Middleton; cover by Vincent Chong (Amulet / April 2016)


The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / September 2016)

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The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon; design by Will Steele; cover art by Olivia Lomenech Gill (Faber & Faber / October 2016)

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The Nightwanders by C. J. Flood; design by Nic&Lou Studio (Simon & Schuster / June 2016)

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Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst; design by Michelle Taormina, art by Jacob Eisinger (Balzer + Bray / November 2016)

design Matt Roeser
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / September 2016)

Replica by Lauren Oliver; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (HarperCollins / October 2016)

This really needs to be seen in person for the fancy acetate wrap as well the double covers:

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Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer; design by M80 (Bantam / March 2016)

Scar design CS Neal
Scar by J. Albert Mann; design by Christopher Silas Neal (Calkins Creek / April 2016)

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Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate; design by Maria T. Middleton (Abrams / March 2016)

Shadow Queen design Sarah Nichole Kaufman
The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine; design Sarah Nichole Kaufman; lettering / apple carving Sean Freeman (Balzer + Bray / February 2016)

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Shiver the Whole Night Through by Darragh McManus; design by Jet Purdie (Hot Key Books / April 2016)

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Still Life with Tornado by A. S. King; design by Samira Iravani (Dutton / October 2016)

Study in Charlotte jacket art Dan Funderburgh design Katie Fitch
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro; jacket art Dan Funderburgh; design Katie Fitch (Katherine Tegen Books / March 2016)

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon; design Elaine C. Damasco; art Dominique Falla (Delacorte / November 2016)

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Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan; design by Nathan Burton (Oneworld / November 2016)


Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs; design by Lindsey Andrews; cover art Andrew Davidson (Dutton / September 2016)

tell-me-something-real-cover-art-jill-de-haan
Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin; cover art Jill de Haan (Simon & Schuster / September 2016)

 Thanks for the Trouble design by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; Photography by Keirnan Monaghan, styling by Theo Vamvounakis (Simon and Schuster / February 2016)

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This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp; design by N. C. Sousa (Sourcebooks / April 2016)

This Savage Song design Jenna Stempel
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab; design Jenna Stempel (GreenWillow / July 2016)

thousandth-floor-design-jenna-stempel-art-sasha-vinogradova
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee; design by Jenna Stempel; cover art by Sasha Vinogradova (HarperCollins / August 2016)

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A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison; design by Ray Shappell (Delacorte / May 2016)

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; photography by Meredith Jenks (Simon & Schuster / May 2016)

When Everything Feels Like the Movies design Ceara Elliot lettering Martina Flor
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid; design Ceara Elliot; lettering and illustration Martina Flor (Atom / February 2016)

wink-poppy-midnight-art-by-lisa-perrin-design-by-kristin-smith
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke; design by Kristin Smith; cover art by Lisa Perrin (Dial / April 2016)

wrecked-design-liz-casal
Wrecked by Maria Padian; design by Liz Casal (Algonquin Young Readers / October 2016)

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One Comment

  1. This is a great list, with fabulous designs!

    I feel it bears noting, however, that the ‘Phantom Limbs’ cover owes a debt of inspiration (at the very least) to 2015’s ‘First & Then’ — http://us.macmillan.com/firstthen/emmamills/9781250090683/ — it’s too bad it didn’t get the same attention, as it’s a fabulous book! :)

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