Top Ten Tuesday: Book Cover Tropes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten. Did you think tropes were limited only to plots? Nope, even covers rely on old tropes to be attractive and engender familiarity in the mind of the reader. You know, like just by glancing at a cover, you know what genre it probably belongs to. But generally, it is easy to also get lost in these books that all look nearly the same:

Let me Lie

Basically girls reclining or trying to get some sleep. Being a main character is exhausting!

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette, #3) Sublime Velveteen After the Woods A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, #1) Artemis RisingGeneration Dead (Generation Dead, #1) Dreaming Awake Live Through This Chosen Ones (The Lost Souls, #1) Abandon (Abandon, #1) Everblue (Mer Tales, #1)

 Foot fetish

It is odd, but have you noticed so many covers, especially those of contemporaries having only feet on the cover?

Afterparty Prada & Prejudice Gingerbread (Cyd Charisse, #1) Perfect You Sweet 16 One of the Guys Amplified Mercy The Fine Art of Truth or Dare The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1) Hunting Lila (Lila, #1) Deadly Little Secret (Touch, #1)

Sexy back

The girl’s back is to the reader. Is she looking into the distance? Is she facing something? Is she hiding something? Who knows!

Dark Companion Shadow Of The Witte Wieven (Wieven, #2) One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)  The Mephisto Kiss (The Mephisto Covenant #2) The Suffering (The Girl from the Well, #2) Fade (Fade, #1)Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? A Beautiful Evil (Gods & Monsters #2) The Leveller (The Leveller, #1) Undone The Last Forever Dead Girl Walking (Royal Reaper, #1)

  Bye bye bye

A variation on the back theme, this one has the girl turning away from the viewer, looking away, or basically just running away!

Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2) Deadly Little Lessons (Touch, #5) Crazy For You (The Mephisto Covenant, #4) Pretty Fierce The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) Until I Die (Revenants, #2)Beheld Towering If I Should Die (Revenants, #3) Rogue Wave (Waterfire Saga, #2) Extraordinary The Mephisto Mark (The Mephisto Covenant #3)


Since birds feature in so many myths and have a lot of symbolism attached to them, they are a frequent choice for some genres. Ravens are especially popular.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) Gilded (Gilded, #1) Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) The Owl KillersThe Raven King Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon, #2) The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace #2) Summer's Crossing (Iron Fey, #3.5) Creatures of the Night (Second Edition)

Three’s a crowd

There are many covers that have a trio of characters on them, be it as a girl squad or a love triangle. Good things come in threes, I guess?

Red Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters How to Win at High School The Friday Society Furious Team HumanLying Out Loud Devoured Maid of Wonder (Maids of Honor, #3) The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1) Private A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, #2)

Prom dress inspiration

Dresses, ‘nuf said!

Incarnation Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy, #1) Evertrue (Everneath, #3)  The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine, #3) Beauty The One (The Selection, #3)The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1) Enamoured Rose & Thorn (Ash & Bramble, #2) The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3) The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles, #1) A Date with an Outcast (Fallen Shorts, #2.1)


Kinda my favorite, this usually has character silhouettes against a landscape or a skyline

The Serpent King The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade, #2) Take The Fall Dualed (Dualed, #1) The Book of Blood and ShadowOf Scars and Stardust The End of Our Story The Book of Blood and Shadow Get Even (Don't Get Mad, #1) Heartbeat Hello?

Apples galore

Like birds, apples have so much symbolism attached to them, but they are also a favorite for snow white retellings.

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) Eve & Adam (Eve & Adam, #1) Twilight (Twilight, #1) Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales Tear You Apart (Beau Rivage, #2) The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6) The Isle of the Lost (Descendants, #1) Stitching Snow Temptation Being Here Dead Upon a Time

Girls with weapons

Badass girls with badass swords on badass covers

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms, #2) Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1) Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)Steel Katana (Katana, #1) Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire, #2) A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2; Books of Arilland #2)

Intense gaze

Scopophobics beware, as these covers mostly have the character staring directly at the viewer

Born of Deception (Born of Illusion) Demons Forever (Peachville High Demons, #6) River Daughter (The Executioner's Daughter, #2) Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3) Season of Fire (The Remnants, #2) The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3)The Otherworldlies (The Otherworldlies, #1) RoseBlood Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)  Shadowplay (Micah Grey, #2) Untamed (Splintered, #3.5) Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)


Another personal favorite, this one has curlicue designs on the margins or a filled background with the title. They are so aesthetically pleasing!

Wicked Like a Wildfire (Hibiscus Daughter, #1) House of Ivy & Sorrow Wink Poppy Midnight Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet Awakened: A New Twist on a Timeless Tale A Place Called Here Roses (The Tales Trilogy, #1) A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1) The Fox and the Star The Wish Granter (Ravenspire, #2) Girl in the Shadows

Beauty lies here

Another scopophobic trope, this involves usually close-ups of eyes, which can sometimes be otherworldly.

Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood, #2) Endure (Need, #4) Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family, #1) The Host (The Host, #1) Eden (The Eden Trilogy, #1)  Whispers in Autumn (The Last Year, #1)Crash (Visions, #1) The Fallen Star (Fallen Star, #1) Infinite Days (Vampire Queen, #1) Infected (Infected, #1) Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) Deep Blue Secret (The Water Keepers, #1)

My boyfriend may look badass but not as much as me

Couples posing defiantly on the cover, with usually the girl staring directly at the viewer.

Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy, #2) The Remedy (The Program, #0.5)  Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)  Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) Fireblood (Fireblood, #1) The Lost Code (The Atlanteans, #1) Jealousy (Strange Angels, #3)The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove Obsidian (Lux, #1) Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) Bite Club (The Morganville Vampires, #10) Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori, #1)

Girl drowning

The themes could be myriad in this cover trope – mermaid novels, psychological novels with the drowning as symbolism or sometimes set along some beach town.

 Imaginary Girls New Girl Wake (Watersong, #1) Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath, #1) Surface In Her Wake (Ten Tiny Breaths, #0.5)The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1) September GirlsLady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1) The Unquiet All These Lives

Toon pop

These colorful and pop covers are a standard in middle grade, but also are commonly seen in contemporary YA. Some exceptions of urban fantasies too have such kinds of covers

Geekerella Wonder Haunted (The Mediator, #5) Invincible (Invincible, #1) Dreamology Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1) Karma Girl (Bigtime, #1) The Night Circus Twenties Girl Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2) I've Got Your NumberGamer Girl


Big jewellery as the central point of the cover!

The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1) Flamecaster (Shattered Realms, #1) The Last Magician Burning Glass (Burning Glass, #1) Fathomless Love Is Hell Dragonfly The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4) The Awakening (Darkest Powers, #2) Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief, #1) Old Magic Lock and Key

Besides these, what other cover tropes do you frequently come across?


12 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Book Cover Tropes

    • IKR? When you put them together, you realize how many covers are similar! And I restrained myself to giving only a dozen examples per topic. There were so MANY more

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