Okay so I work in kids & YA publishing and anyone who says not to judge a book by its cover doesn't know what the hell they're talking about. Writing aside, these days a book really needs to have a killer cover to sell/be noticed. Here are some personal favorites that have met with success (in part, I believe, due to their covers):
  1. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
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    Finalist for the 2015 Morris YA Debut Award. One of my very favorite covers, ever, but the beauty of it doesn't even hold a candle to how exquisite the actual book is.
  2. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
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    Winner of the 2015 Printz Award. Obsessed with this cover, has spawned MANY copycat designs.
  3. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
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    "Though I am neither a teenage girl nor a lesbian, I found this story super real and relatable." -- Ira Glass / For some reason I find this cover so pleasing to look at. Plus this graphic novel is bomb. READ THIS.
  4. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
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    That hair thooooo
  5. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
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    So striking--and this book is eerie and beautiful and original and I am a huge cheerleader for it.
  6. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
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    Soooo pretty. Made me finally pick up this awesome series!!
  7. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
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    This cover is so dope. I haven't even read it yet but it's just. So. Good.
  8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
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    Honestly not a fan of this book (though I love love love Fangirl which is like, my biography, and Rainbow Rowell) but it's got a great cover. Here's another style that's been mimicked by dozens of other YA books recently hoping to tag onto the success of this one.
  9. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
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    Pretty sure this book is singlehandedly responsible for the whole "YA? let's just put a girl in a dress on the cover" movement. A real ~~bodice ripper~~
  10. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
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    For the record I hated this book but it just has such a great cover
  11. This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
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    First book EVER to win both a Caldecott Honor and a Printz Honor (2015) READ THIS.
  12. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
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    Put a night sky on anything and I'll pick it up. Most beautiful story of friendship and love 😍
  13. The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond
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    Has received seven starred reviews so far this year. Obsessed with the clean lines on this and the color combo.
  14. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
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    Just makes you grab it and go "hmmm what's this???"
  15. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
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    Finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Young People's Literature