By Amy Evans and Juliette Tulloch
The Cover Evaluation team have picked a selection of summer reads that are sure to keep you entertained on holiday, whether that’s mythological retellings, family conflicts or first loves. We’ve taken a look at how their cover designs encapsulate the themes of their stories and characters…
The Island of Forgetting by Jasmine Sealy
If you’re looking for a contemporary novel to dive into this summer, then The Island of Forgetting is one to add to your list. Spanning four decades, Sealy’s 2022 debut (loosely based on Greek mythology) follows a family's adventures and tribulations as they run a beachfront hotel. The novel explores themes of longing, family bonds, estrangement and identity whilst set against the backdrop of Barbados. The design utilises heartfelt photography with neon colours, to illustrate the rawness of the novel yet its beautiful location. This is the perfect read for those who are fans of Girl, Woman, Other and Homegoing.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Emily Henry’s Beach Read is a romance novel about two writers, Augustus and January, who write in different genres (literary fiction and romance). Living next door to each other for the summer, they decide to challenge each other to write in the other person’s genre to help them solve their writer’s block.
This version of the cover is effective because it reflects what the book is about. Like many romance books, Beach Read has the main couple featured on the front cover - we see Augustus reading a book and January with a book and pen next to her. It uses bright eye-catching primary colours to stand out on the shelf. From the cover, Beach Read definitely appears like a book you would want to read in the summer.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Readers of Mexican Gothic and Gods of Jade Shadow will not be disappointed when they hear that Moreno-Garcia’s most recent novel is now available to read. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is a reimagining of H.G. Well’s The Island of Dr Moreau that transports us to 19th century Mexico and our main characters who are jolted by the arrival of an outsider. The cast include; Carlota Moreau, the only daughter of the madman doctor, Montgomery Laughton, who assists the doctor with his scientific experiments and finally, the hybrids, who are the monstrosities that live in the shadows. The cover design is courtesy of Faceout Studios and captures the luxurious and vibrant atmosphere of the estate, while hinting at the isolation felt by Carlota, pictured alone yet surrounded by the chaotic jungle.
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
The Summer I Turned Pretty is the first book in Han’s popular young adult romance series, which was recently adapted into a series for Amazon Prime. The book follows the protagonist Isabel as she spends the summer at Cousins Beach with her family friends.
This edition has a pastel blue-green cover with daisies and shells on it. It doesn’t give much away about what actually happens in the book, but the title by itself definitely gives hints that it will be a romance. The shells help to create a summer atmosphere and give us a clue that the book is going to take place in a seaside setting. Overall, the different components of this cover come together to create a really aesthetically pleasing cover.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
We Were Liars is Lockhart’s young adult suspense book, following the rich Sinclair family, who spend each summer on Beechwood Island. The novel follows Cadence, who loses her memories of a particular summer and slowly remembers what happened two years later.
The cover feels summery, as we see a group of people in the water with a blue sky and the sun behind them. At the same time, it feels mysterious, as the reader can’t see any of the people’s faces. The typeface of the title blurs and fades which also adds to the mysterious feeling and the sense that something is slightly off. The cover works well because it is simple whilst hinting what the book might be about.
Queens of Themiscyra by Hannah Lynn
For fans of Miller’s The Song of Achilles and Haynes’ A Thousand Ships, there is another ancient retelling hot off the press that focuses on the Queen of the Amazons. Queens of Themiscrya is the perfect beach read to transport yourself to Athens and the lives of sisters Hippolyte and Penthesilea, who both take their turns at ruling. Following the design of the previous instalments in Lynn’s Grecian Women series, the cover plays with hues of orange, blue and red, depicting two sisters on opposing sides, who are very different in their way of governing. Retellings of the mythological Amazons events are rare but this could be the next trend to hit the shelves.