Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Scary book covers

Since it’s October, time for some themed posts! So, a top ten list: Disturbing Book Covers. Some of these make me want to pick up the book. Some make me want to back away slowly. I would say that some are good covers because they make you want to pick up the book AND they relate well to what the book is about. Others are utterly dreadful covers because they don’t do either job. So, here we go:

10. 18806240 I would like to read this because of the reviews I’ve seen, but the title combined with the cover are a turn-off for me. I find this a creepy cover even though I am not bothered by insects and routinely capture and release real arthropods that get into the house. I don’t loathe this cover, but I don’t think it does the book any favors, either.

9. 15728764 I sort of like this creepy cover. It makes me want to pick up the book and read the back.

8. 945176 I hate hate hate this cover, which is one of the very worst for “does not fit the book” and also is disturbing and ugly to look at.

7. 326128 If possible, even worst than #8. I love both these books, btw. I just detest these covers.

6. 4748221 I like this creepy clown. It helps that I have no idea what the book is like, so if the cover is inappropriate, I can’t tell. I’ve always liked scary clowns.

5. 12396528 I can’t tell if this is creepy or just peculiar. I read the first book and kinda liked it, but actually I liked it better before the protagonist began to figure out what was going on.

4. 289601 The dead girl cover trend was pretty disturbing, but actually I thought this cover was effective and appropriate for this story, which I really loved. The sequel didn’t work for me, though.

3. 6411849 Spookiest floating person ever.

2. 18298890 This is a very creepy, disturbing cover. Too much so for the book, imo.

1. 7507908 I have always thought this was a masterpiece in the “creepy cover” competition. Never read the book, though I keep kind of wanting to.

What do you think? Do creepy covers turn you off, intrigue you, or can it go either way? Do any of these particularly flip the “back away slowly” switch for you?

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7 Comments Scary book covers

  1. SarahZ

    I really like Brenna Yovanoff – a lot of her books have creepy covers (and/or creepy contents). Paper Valentine was my favorite of hers, although the mystery element had some weaknesses. If you want something shorter of hers, I highly recommend the really short stories she, Maggie Stiefvater, and Tessa Gratton did for their “Merry Sisters of Fate” site. They reposted a bunch of them to tumblr recently.

  2. Macsbrains

    #6 makes me want to run away very, very fast. I hate clowns/dolls/mimes/mannequins/puppets/etc. It’s the uncanny valley thing. When I was 2 my aunt tried to gift me a doll and I threw this epic level fit that the family still talks about 30 years later. Can’t say I’ve changed my opinion about dolls since.

    For a similar reason I find this cover creepy: and unfortunately this is the cover of the edition I have.

    The cover for #9 is cool and is the kind of horror I like in video games, but might not work for me in a book.

  3. Rachel

    SarahZ, thanks for the link! I may try Paper Valentine, since I don’t mind if a mystery isn’t all that mysterious. I read mysteries mostly for character and setting.

    Macsbrains, ugh, that cover with all the pink little dolls is indeed creepy — in a bad way, for me, but partly that’s probably because I know what the book is like. But I’m curious. If not dolls, did you like stuffed animals?

    I agree that creepy doll covers are indeed creepy, but clowns are okay for me.

  4. Macsbrains

    I LOVE stuffed animals. I have quite the, um, collection…

    Their eyes don’t have the uncanny valley effect. I don’t mind certain kinds of statues or action figures either, depending on the way the eyes are done. But clowns and dolls are abominations of nature.

  5. Rachel

    Wow, Macs, quite a crowd! I have to admit, I eventually gave all my stuffed animals away — but I did have stuffed animals instead than dolls. I was all about animals as a kid and liked my stuffed animals to look as realistic as possible, nothing pink or purple. One of my favorites was a fluffy snowy owl.

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