Bib•li•o•phile Friday: Ugly covers

As the old saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, sometimes it’s hard not to …

This is my first time participating in Bib•li•o•phile Friday, a weekly feature hosted on Goodreads by Aurora and Louise.

This week we’re asked to pick five books with “truly awful covers. Is the story just as bad, or is it hiding a brilliant read?”

To be honest, I haven’t read a lot of books with ugly covers, as a pretty design is often the first thing that draws me in. So I can’t vouch for what’s behind each of these covers (except for the first two and the last one). The other two are on my TBR.

“She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb


I’m going to be brutally honest: I really hated this book.

My review is as follows:

2.5 stars. I don’t understand how a guy thinks he can (or why he would) write a chick book, but some of the stuff in this book bordered on ridiculous. The whole idea of the therapist pretending to be Delores’ mother creeped me out. It’s just one of the many things about this book that made me squirm.

For some reason, I can’t find the cover of the edition I read (and I would take a photo of it, but I quickly discarded it in a Little Free Library … it seems like one of those books you either love or hate, so who knows?). It had a rendering of the flying leg painting by Delores’ mother on a background of blue sky and clouds. The cover I posted is even more hideous.

I just can’t appreciate this book. I really can’t. Someone please tell me what I missed!

“Darkness Falls” by Joyce Anne Schneider


I’m probably being petty, but why is the sand green? Call the EPA! I also dig the totally late-’80s look of the stiletto heel. Did a Cinderella swamp thing with teased bangs wash up on shore?!

I was feeling a bit uninspired by the choices I had at book swap earlier this year, so I grabbed this obscure 1989 suspense-thriller to avoid going home empty-handed. Ironically, the person who brought it hadn’t read it and grabbed it from a box of old books her mom had read … she didn’t want to come to book swap empty-handed.

The story, while entertaining up to a point, was as kitschy as the cover. But I gave it a generous three stars on Goodreads (maybe I was rounding it up from, like, 2.5).

My review was short and sweet: “Suspenseful, with an unexpected ending. The last few paragraphs made me groan, though … kinda cheesy, like much of the writing.”

My review was one of just three (like I said, I don’t think this book made any best-seller lists), and the average rating (from 10 readers) is a whopping 2.7.

One of the other reviewers sums up this book perfectly: “Bleh, the main character is a shrink desperately in need of one. She was so annoying I wanted to help the killer find her.” Probably one of the funniest book reviews I’ve ever read.


“Audrey: The Life of Audrey Hepburn” by Charles Higham


When did Audrey ever have fringe bangs and wear purple eyeshadow? Did I miss something?

After reading the above, you may have gotten the impression that I detest the 1980s. I actually don’t. So please keep that in mind as I talk about this next cover.

A friend snatched up this circa-1984 biography for me at a used book sale a few years ago, knowing that I adore Audrey Hepburn. She and I got a kick out of the gaudy cover, which makes the graceful screen icon and humanitarian look like an art deco Boy George. I sheepishly admit I haven’t read it yet, and I think the cover art has a lot to do with it. I’ve read several Audrey-related books, and it’s not like I don’t want to read another.

Thirty-two Goodreads members have given it an average rating of 3.66 stars. But no reviews…bunch of lazy &*($!%…so I turned to Amazon. Nothing.

I guess I’ll find out for myself whenever I get around to reading it.


“Duplicity” by Sibel Hodge

31447013.jpgThe cover of this one, which I discovered while signing up for Goodreads giveaways, is just kind of grotesque-looking. Because I haven’t read this book yet, I don’t know whether “grotesque” is good or bad in this case. When you put a person’s face on the cover, you sometimes run the risk of ending up with a really cheesy design.

There are three sides to every story: Yours. Mine. And the truth…

Max and Alissa have a fairy tale life—newlywed, madly in love and enviously rich. Then Max is brutally stabbed to death at their home and Alissa, miraculously, escapes with her life. But why was she spared?

The hunt for the killer begins, uncovering a number of leads—was Max’s incredible wealth the motive? Had his shady business practices finally caught up with him? Or was it a stalker with a dangerous obsession?

Devoted friends rally around gentle, sweet Alissa as she is left to mourn the loss of her husband and pick up her life. But not everyone is who they seem…Deep-rooted jealousies, secrets and twisted love lie just beneath the surface, and not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Duplicity is a suspenseful thriller from the bestselling author of Look Behind You and Where the Memories Lie.

And speaking of bad cover art featuring people, here is my last pick …

“Burning September” by Melissa Simonson

The cover art actually was kind of what attracted me to this book. It’s not ugly, per se, but31823691 the problem I have with it is it makes the book seem fluffier than it actually is. It would be more appropriate for, say, a YA romance novel instead of a coming-of-age tale about a college freshman whose older sister is accused of arson and murder.

And, by the way, this book was truly one of my most disappointing reads of 2016.

You can read my review here.



What are some of the ugliest book covers you’ve seen? Were the stories as bad as the cover, or was there a great read hiding inside?

12 thoughts on “Bib•li•o•phile Friday: Ugly covers

  1. Reading your review, I just had to look up “She’s Come Undone” on Goodreads. XD It does sound like an odd story. I don’t think, looking at the covers, that I’d have picked up any of the first four books. The fifth one isn’t so bad, but I agree with you that I sort of mis-sells the plot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so happy you have participated in this weekly meme! I had a ton of trouble with this post too, but I thought it was a great idea when Louise suggested it! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next week! — Aurora 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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