Man and woman's faces hidden by books in library

Guessing The Plots of 7 YA Books Based On Their Covers

Admit it: we’ve all judged books by their covers at some point (or points) in our lives. However, there seems to be a long-running trend of covers of books, especially those under the YA genre, depicting the leading characters, usually female, with little to no faces or facial features.

Why? Because of marketing. And as much as I don’t want to, I have to agree, because it has worked on me several times over the years! Before I even think about reading the back-cover summaries on some of these books, I’d pick them up once their beautiful, faceless covers catch my eye.

I have to say, if this has been a tireless trend enforced by publishing companies to make its mostly female target audience go buy the books upon picking them off the shelves, then it sure is a better trend than the one that food companies have come up with that involves scattering bits of food or pouring colored, sticky water all over the books’ pages to use as bookmarks, a topic which you can read all about right here.

I would assume that the idea behind these covers with no faces is to instill some mystery, or at the very least intrigue, within the picker-upper, enough so that would make them go out of their way to buy the book and read for more in order to satisfy this need. Or it could be so that the picker-upper would see themselves in or automatically identify with the hero with no face: by putting their own face in the open space where the protagonist’s face should normally be.

Let’s see some of these faceless covers, to which I will offer my own solely-based-on-the-cover predictions, given that I have not (yet) read any of these…



7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling book cover

Image via Amazon


Of course, Gracelings could involve some warrior named Grace who wants to join the “Graceling” warrior tribe and learn how to fight gracefully, or maybe all she wants to do is be able to check her appearance in the blade of her favorite sword against an emerald-green background but the sword is too small that it only reflects her eye. The rest of the story, I would have no clue about.

And if you think this cover is obscure in not revealing too much of anything, check out the other cover of the book that I found on Goodreads…


Graceling book cover #2

Image via Goodreads


Again, all I can say is that it’s about a warrior named Grace who this time is now standing upon a snow-covered plain, shrouded in shadow like the bad-ass, as well as graceful, warrior she is…


6. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me book cover

Image via Amazon


If that really, really blue eye made of glass or even ice, of course it’s going to shatter!


5. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch book cover

Image via Amazon


My guess is that she is a witch who is sworn to always tell the truth, or else the hidden right side of her face will be unleashed unto the world, exposing the lies within herself that she thought she could hide.

And by the way, those are some wicked water-bending skills from just a seemingly ordinary, medieval-looking sword!



4. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies old book cover

Image via Goodreads


Now, I’ve had this book on one of my shelves for quite some time now, and I guess I know some of the summary but not too much to go on, so this would be fair game. Based on the cover alone, this girl is hiding in the bushes to hide her ugliness away from the world that would not accept her otherwise.

And actually, when I put it like that, and given the book’s caption, I am not too far off…

Also, this is just one of the first, if not the first cover to ever come out for this book, and I like that it only shows half of her face while the book cuts off the other half. However, there is another cover to this book that actually outdoes it: this is is the newest cover for the book as of now…


Uglies new book cover

Image via 300 Pages


Given this second cover, I would add on to say that this girl would only be accepted if she were to get a certain surgery that would make her beautiful.

See? I just gave it away… somewhat. Again, I have been meaning to read this, ever since middle school when I first came across it with the first cover in fact, but I just haven’t gotten around to it or the series as a whole.

The next one on this list is a bit similar…


3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind old book cover

Image via Target


Are you seriously trapping this poor kid behind this bluish wall and unwinding them to the point of killing them? Well, given part of the summary that I remember from it, not quite but very close… just minus the blueness (in the literal sense).

As is the case with Uglies, I have been familiar with this book since middle school at around the same time but have not been able to find time to read it or the series. And this specific cover is very hard to find due to the immense popularity of another cover that came out a few years ago…


Unwind new book cover

Image via Amazon


What exactly is going on? There is nothing for me to latch onto, or for the reader to go off of except the subtle yet distinct shapes made in the whiteness? (Maybe a white sheet?) When it is paired with the other cover, you go from blue to white, from a kid to sort-of claw-marks…

While I personally go for original book covers, I can stand by the newer cover for Uglies, as it gives out more description for its plot than its predecessor, but the same cannot be said for the newer cover for Unwind, and this is for book covers in general, not specifically for their individual plots, as I have read neither one of them.


2. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

We All Looked Up book cover

Image via Amazon


I’ve had this on my bookshelf as well, but I have not read it and do not remember the plot or back-cover summary plot at all, so let’s do this…

Hey kids, it’s fine for you all to stand together while camping outside to look up towards the sky at that meteorite, but would you mind turning towards us on the book so we can see you? “No”? Okay…



1. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls book cover

Image via Barnes & Noble


I’m sure that this book I keep hearing about but never truly looked into has something to do with a girl who went a little crazy and got into an unfortunate accident that resulted in having most of her face shredded (in horizontal lines, no less), thus dubbing her a “wild girl” for pulling a stunt like that and still living to tell the tale!



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