They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in the world of literature, but in the world of Young Adult (YA) literature, the cover can be a make-or-break factor for grabbing a reader’s attention. A great YA book cover is not just a pretty picture; it’s a carefully crafted piece of art that encapsulates the essence of the story within its pages and entices the readers to dive in. In this blog post, we will explore the elements that make a great YA book cover.


*Captivating Visuals


The most obvious element of any book cover is the imagery. A great YA book cover should feature captivating visuals that immediately grab the reader’s attention. These visuals can take various forms:

*Character Portraits: Featuring a compelling character from the story can immediately draw the reader into the book’s world.

*Symbolism: Images or symbols that represent key themes or elements of the story can intrigue potential readers.

*Vibrant Colors: Bold, eye-catching colors can make a cover pop and stand out on the shelves. Pro tip! Look at using contrasting colors together…like a bright, sunshine orange paired with a deep teal or navy blue. Google “contrasting color palettes” for ideas and inspiration.

*Whimsical Illustrations: For Fantasy or whimsical YA books, intricate illustrations can transport readers to another world.


 *Genre Appropriate Design

The design of the cover should be appropriate to the genre of the book. A cover for a YA fantasy novel should look very different from a cover for a contemporary romance. The design should reflect the tone and content of the book. Readers should be abled to glance at the cover and have a sense of what kind of story they’re getting into. Pro tip! Spend some time on Amazon looking at best-selling book covers in your specific genre. What jumps out at you? What ones are you most drawn to? Pull your favorite elements into your own creative design. If you hire a designer, give them examples of your favorite covers by other authors to showcase the vibe or look you are aiming for.



The choice of fonts and their placement on the cover is crucial. The typography should be legible, but it should also contribute to the overall aesthetics of the design. Fonts can covey the book’s mood and genre. For example, a playful, handwritten font may be perfect for a lighthearted YA romance, while a bold, mysterious font could suit a dark, dystopian story. Pro tip! Make sure that your typography (and graphics) look great and are readable as a thumbnail, not just on your paperback copy. Many readers shop books online. That thumbnail is the bread crumb leading a reader to click to learn more.




A well-balanced composition is vital for a great YA book cover. This means that the elements on the cover, including the images, typography, and any additional design elements, should be harmoniously arranged. The cover should be visually pleasing and not too cluttered or chaotic. And again, as above with the typography, choose elements that look good in a variety of resolutions, especially small thumbnails online.


*Unique and Memorable


A great YA book cover should be unique and memorable. It should stand out from the crowd, making it instantly recognizable. A cover that blends in with others in the genre may not pique a reader’s curiosity.


*Connection to the Story


The cover should be more than just a pretty picture; it should connect to the story in a meaningful way. This connection can be through imagery that hints at a key scene or symbol, or it can be through visual cues that foreshadow the plot or characters.


*Emotional Appeal


Lastly, a great YA book cover should evoke emotion. It should make readers feel something, weather it’s curiosity, excitement, or intrigue. A powerful cover can create an emotional connection between the reader and the book, making them more likely to pick it up and start reading.


In the vibrant world of Young Adult literature, book covers aren’t just an accessory; they’re a critical gateway into a realm of imagination and adventure. Crafting a great YA book cover is a complex alchemy of captivating visuals, genre harmony, typographic artistry, emotional resonance, and meaningful storytelling connections. As you gaze at these covers, remember that they are not just windows to stories, but also the first whispers of the enchanting tales that lie within. So, the next time you pick up a YA book, take a moment to savor the masterpiece that is its cover and see how it applies to the adventures waiting for you to turn to the first page.


Mid-October, Everything That Was began its cover creation adventure. Sign up for the newsletter for sneak peeks.


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