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
    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
    Winner of the 2015 Printz Award. Obsessed with this cover, has spawned MANY copycat designs.
  3. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
    "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
    That hair thooooo
  5. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
    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
    Soooo pretty. Made me finally pick up this awesome series!!
  7. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
    This cover is so dope. I haven't even read it yet but it's just. So. Good.
  8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    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
    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
    For the record I hated this book but it just has such a great cover
  11. This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
    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
    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
    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
    Just makes you grab it and go "hmmm what's this???"
  15. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
    Finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Young People's Literature