Top Ten Tuesday: Book Cover Trends of 2020

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten.

This week’s prompt was a book cover freebie, so I redid one of my favorite types of post, done earlier – Book Cover Tropes, and Book Cover Trends of 2019. Now, since some of the books in the later half of the year don’t have covers yet, it may perhaps be too early to make this post, but then I thought there are plenty of examples for the popular trends so I made it anyway. The books are mostly YA books from my to-read shelves (I don’t have the time to scour the whole of this year’s releases darlings).

Semi-realistic Illustrated Covers

These were a growing trend the last couple of years, but they have practically exploded this year. Earlier a staple of MG and adult SFF covers, now there are so many YA covers that have their main characters illustrated. And yeah, a good portion of them are from Charlie Bowater!

Star Daughter Seven Devils (Seven Devils, #1) Set Fire to the Gods Shielded (Shielded, #1) Cinderella Is Dead Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars, #2) The Princess Will Save You (The Princess Will Save You, #1) Forest of Souls (Shamanborn, #1) Bonds of Brass (The Bloodright Trilogy #1) Bone Crier's Moon (Bone Grace, #1) Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1) Black Girl Unlimited

Stylistically illustrated cover

Mostly a staple of YA contemporary fiction, with stylized graphics or flat color illustrations decorating the cover. The mood usually reads – coming of age, with a touch of humor.

Love Is for Losers Loveless Recommended for You Faith: Taking Flight (Faith Herbert Origin Story, #1) If We Were Us (If We Were Us, #1) Parachutes Stay Gold The Falling in Love Montage The Perfect Escape (The Perfect Escape, #1) Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy, #1) Don't Read the Comments Tweet Cute

Big Ass Typography

As the name suggests, typography is the main focus on these covers, and they can also have interesting shapes, like the letters having elements of the story.

Nowhere on Earth It Came From the Sky Ghost Wood Song The Dark Tide Of Silver and Shadow The Sound of Stars Belle Révolte The Fell of Dark Burn Our Bodies Down All These Monsters (Monsters, #1) The Stars We Steal Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic, #1)

Looming on the Horizon

This is different from what I described the trend as last year, but there are similarities – there’s something far into the horizon, either a person, or an architecture, with the book title and mostly bordered by something.

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2) The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy, #3) Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards, #1) Grief Angels Bent Heavens

Looming Title

Okay, in some cases, they would be similar to the above category, but in this, the title is usually in front of one specific element centered in the background, be it a riot of flowers, petals, a bird, some ship, a cache of swords, or a symbol.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn House of Dragons (House of Dragons, #1) A Peculiar Peril (The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead, #1) Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #3) A Phoenix First Must Burn The Seventh Sun The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea Witches of Ash and Ruin The Language of Cherries Malice What Kind of Girl

Clues in the cover

A staple, really, this has font that sometimes interacts with the various elements of the story strewn about in the cover like a border. Pretty and solid choice for any kind of story, fantasy or realistic fiction

Don't Call the Wolf Sisters of Sword and Song Seasons of the Storm (Seasons of the Storm, #1) Incendiary (Hollow Crown, #1) The Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4) Out Now: Queer We Go Again! All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth, #1) The Marriage Game Woven in Moonlight

PoC on cover

Having real models on cover is kinda a dying trend since the rise of semi-realistic painted covers, and while I am not always a fan of having models on covers (they wouldn’t always match the character description, plus it depends on how the image has been altered to fit the cover), having PoC on covers changes the game! Wish there were more of these tbh!

Hunted by the Sky (Hunted by the Sky, #1) A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1) Deathless Divide (Dread Nation, #2) Scammed (Vale Hall, #2)

Watch my back!

Characters are showing their backs – a dying trend, compared to a decade ago, but it still lingers.

The Enigma Game The Ballad of Ami Miles Late to the Party The Gravity of Us Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)

My eyes are NOT up here, honey!

For some reason or another, we can’t see these characters’ eyes. *shrug* At least they aren’t headless, I guess?

Mexican Gothic The Con Code Sensational (Spectacle, #2) Jane Anonymous Chosen (Slayer, #2) Gone by Nightfall


You know how they say a book can be made better with a dragon? A book cover can be made better with a sword, lol.

Sword in the Stars (Once & Future #2) The Seven Endless Forests House of Dragons (House of Dragons, #1) Dark Skies (Dark Shores, #2) The Shadows Between Us


Not a fan of this trend to be honest, but it still lingers.

The Fascinators The Archer at Dawn (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #2) Finding Balance (Brave Enough, #2)

Popping color

I love this trend, I want to see more of this trend.

Solstice Foul Is Fair We Are Totally Normal

Magical architecture

Background has some magical thing, be a tree, or a mountain or a castle, and they are blue????

The Kingdom of Back Havenfall (Havenfall, #1) The Winter Duke

Which cover trends have you noticed among your books?

12 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Book Cover Trends of 2020

  1. This was such a fun post to read, and a beautiful post to look at! I don’t think I actually pay enough attention to book covers to notice trends, but I might start now.

    My TTT

  2. Pingback: January 2020 Wrap-Up | YA on my Mind

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