Here is something that irks me: book cover quotes. They are superfluous and more often than not end up getting a rise out of me instead of selling me my next read. Same goes for references to other authors and author endorsements in either synopses or in book cover quotes. To put across my point, I’ve picked out 5 books that demonstrate why I find these things problematic.
Solitaire by Alice Oseman
This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and all unflinchingly honest writers.
What if someone read John Green and didn’t like his books? Or what if another read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and decided it wasn’t for them? Does that mean this book won’t be either? I saw that line and closed my Goodreads window of that book without considering if I wanted to add it to my TBR shelf. The one John Green book I did read, I didn’t like. I’m still sore about it, so I backed away from Solitaire too. And let’s not forget John Green fans who think he is one of a kind? Would they really fall for a line like this? I don’t think so.
Book Cover Quotes
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
“This absorbing debut explores that most profound mystery of all: love.”
—Gayle Forman, New York Times
bestseller of If I Stay and If I Go
This book, I have read, and love is not what first comes to mind. Music, loss and mental illness are the three things that come to my mind when I look back on it. Love matters too but it is not the sole driver of the book. Based on this quote, I wouldn’t have picked up Wild Awake. Thankfully the vibrant colours distracted me and I didn’t even notice that this quote was printed at the top until after I was done reading.
How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler
“Just right for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult.”
What if there are fans of Sarah Dessen who don’t like Jodi Picoult or fans of Jodie Picoult who don’t like Sarah Dessen? Besides, Janet Gurtler already had three YA books published before How I Lost You came out. I would’ve thought by the fourth book, an author should be distinctive enough without needing to be compared.
Decked With Holly by Marni Bates
“Fans of Meg Cabot will find Marni’s voice equally charming and endearing.”
—Julie Kagawa, New York Times author
Who can vouch for that? I mean, I’m sure fans of Meg Cabot are not one-dimensional and neither is Meg Cabot so there must be a multitude of reasons that fans of Meg Cabot are her fans. As for The Princess Diaries, I know of people who liked the series because they’re like modern-day fairytales. Many little girls, I’m told (I wasn’t one of them), dream of becoming princesses one day. This means it’s not just about Meg Cabot’s style. Meg Cabot isn’t all about charm either. She wrote mystery books as well. Look up The Mediator series if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about.
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
“Funny and sweet, just like first love ought to be. It’s the kind of book that makes you late for school because you stayed up way too late the night before reading.”
— Robin Palmer, author of Geek Charming
This is the cover quote of all cover quotes that really got me reeling. I read The Fine Art of Truth or Dare before I started book blogging, so I reviewed it on Goodreads. My opening paragraph was this:
So the cover has a quote from Robin Palmer that states, “Funny and sweet, just like first love ought to be.” I kinda wonder if we read the same book. There was no part where I laughed because I thought something was funny. I didn’t smile. I didn’t even smirk. Also, if that really is how first love is supposed to be, then that is really sad.
Couldn’t have said it better today. Those sentiments are still very accurate even after more than a year has passed.
Concession Towards Book Cover Quotes
In the defence of book cover quotes, they are meant to be short. They are often snippets from lengthier reviews, so they might even have been taken out of context or are missing their explanations and elaboration. But that is also the problem. I don’t think enough can be said in book cover quotes to make them worthwhile. Not when they’re on the front covers, vying for everyone’s attention.
If they really have to be slapped onto books, then book cover quotes should go onto the back. There they don’t interfere with beautiful cover designs, and I’m also less likely to bother disagreeing with them. Any text that goes onto the front cover should be in relation to the book itself. That is to say, if a quote is placed on it, that quote should be from the book itself. Not from some completely unrelated source.
The Uselessness of Name Dropping
Then there are all these references to other authors. Name-dropping is what that is to me. They do nothing to elevate books in my eyes because they do not have concrete connections. Yet they do everything to lower my opinion of a book when a book cover quote is full of praise and I wasn’t feeling it. Oh and what makes it worse for book sales, I will also avoid whichever author praised a book I didn’t like because I start to doubt their credibility as well in writing a good book.