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Dear Maggie,

You know you are having way too much fun doing homework when you are chuckling maniacally to yourself as you work on the assignment. But when I was charged with finding the worst covers I could possibly find and then redesigning them, I couldn’t help it. The originals are bad. So so bad.

I decided that this project would be even more fun, and frankly easier, if I chose books I own and have read. That also means I have to fess up: yes, I have actually read these books.

And the thing is, they are all GOOD books, high up on my list, though you would never know it from their covers. Trust me; hide their covers with a paper bag and read them.

And the very best part of this assignment? The originals are so awful, poor things, that no matter what you do, your version looks fabulous in comparison.

Here goes nothing:

Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty


Does this cover appeal? I think not. Ugh, I promise you, there are no mournful girls staring out windows in this book. Libby, the main character, has a more than slightly eccentric best friend named Celia. Celia runs away to the circus, thus the stripes on my cover. The book is utterly charming because it is written entirely in letters and notes: notes from Libby’s mom tacked on the fridge, letters to and from her pen pal, letters to her divorced dad. And letters from organizations like The Association of Teenagers and The Society of High School Runners Who Aren’t Very Good At Long Distance Running but Would Be if they Just Trained. No insipid stock-photo-girls here.

My Version

The Mapmaker by Frank G. Slaughter


This is a good, old-fashioned 1950s action-adventure novel. There is Venetian intrigue, pining love, heroic escapes from slave ships, contests involving gold, daring-do at sea, and maps. As the New York Times says on the front of my copy, it’s “A seafaring yarn…fascinating.” How can you resist? One look at that cover, that’s how. One of my classmates asked me if he is wearing pants in that picture. No he is not. He is wearing tights.

My Version

The Alleluia Files by Sharon Shinn


I saved the best for last. As you very well know, I love this series, and the cover is the most embarrassing thing on the face of the planet. When I found this book at Powell’s, you and Stephi laughed so hard I couldn’t bring myself to take it up to the cashier. Stupid cover. It’s actually a really fun book, in a junk-food-for-the-brain kind-of-way (that was an excessive amount of hyphens, apologies). If you can believe it, it’s actually sci-fi. Ok, sci-fi-romance with angels. But at no point can I recall an angel flying aloft, naked, with a strategically placed bed sheet.

I realize my cover is excessively sci-fi. But, come on. I had to compensate for THAT.

My Version

Now I want to see the worst covers on YOUR shelves. I bet you have some doozies.