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Judge These Books on Their Cover Changes

We’ve seen thousands of cover changes, but have you ever wondered which had the best luck in the redesign? We’ve compiled 25 of them.
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Book covers can change for a myriad of reasons – often due to marketing or just to refresh the series. Sometimes, fans have a hard time accepting the redesigns. Other times, we can’t help but love the new looks and want to replace our copies with the new ones. Some of the books on this list have had hundreds of cover designs, while others have just one. From Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice, here are 25 books that had the best cover changes.

The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
Feiwel & Friends | Square Fish

The original covers of this series were very minimalistic and featured one element from the protagonist of that story. The new covers take inspiration from the characters as well, placing them on the covers. Each of the latest versions have their own color scheme that meshes well with the other books in the series.

The Lunar Chronicles reimagines classic fairytales in a futuristic world where humans, androids, and cyborgs coexist. The characters in each book come together to rise up against the evil Queen Levana to save their universe.

‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Faber and Faber | Penguin Books

The 1954 cover is the earliest I could find, while the 2016 cover was my favorite for the book so far. The old cover fell flat for me, much like many book covers from that time period. In contrast, the 2016 cover took inspiration from an important scene and placed it directly on the cover.

Lord of the Flies follows a group of boys stranded on an island with no adult supervision. They try to build their own society, however, things do go quite as planned and the hope of rescue dies out. The book has been adapted to film four times, including one that flips the gender of the island-bound characters.

‘East’ by Edith Pattou

East and West by Edith Pattou
HMH Books for Young Readers | Clarion Books

East was a standalone for over a decade before the sequel, West, was published. So, the publishers decided to revamp the cover to make it a matching pair. And while the original art was beautiful, the new illustration (by my favorite artist Charlie Bowater) steps it up ten notches. The covers mirror each other, with the girl facing the east on East and west on West.

The book follows Rose — an adventurous and misunderstood girl whose birth was shrouded in mystery. When an enormous white bear shows up and asks Rose to come with it in exchange for helping her ailing family, she readily agrees. Rose travels with the bear to an abandoned castle where she is visited every night by a mysterious stranger. Once she finds out who he is, however, she realizes her journey is just beginning.

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
William Morrow | HarperCollins

In Murder on the Orient Express, an American tycoon is found stabbed multiple times on a passenger train. And with no other choice but to be trapped on board with the murderer, Hercule Poirot needs to find the killer before they strike again.

I’m not saying the original cover art is terrible, but the new cover is definitely an upgrade for modern readers. The international versions deserve honorable mentions as well, because they are gorgeous. But this cover, from the 2019 edition, just fits in with other modern mysteries.

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

This is the first entry on the list where the redesign was to get past the trend of plastering girls’ faces or girls in dresses on YA book covers. And while the new covers kept the original artwork, it’s placed under a dark color and the series’ logo. It just fits the series so much better now.

The Vampire Academy series follows Rose Hathaway, a dhampir (half-vampire, half-human), training to be the guardian of her vampire best friend, Lissa Dragomir. The first book was adapted into a movie that flopped. Still, it is getting a second chance with a television adaptation.

‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
J.B. Lippincott | Amistad

This book from the 1930s has had many redesigns, and they all look so beautiful. But the 2006 cover really blew me away. Both the original and 2006 covers were simplistic, but the 2006’s color story and design feel both modern and vintage.

The synopsis from the 2006 copy says, “Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person – no mean feat for a black woman in the ’30s. Janie’s quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.”                          

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The trilogy follows Karou, a teenage art student in Prague, caught in a war between the Seraphim and Chimaera in a parallel universe. Chimeara are creatures with human and animal features; Seraphim are angels and mostly resemble humans with fiery wings on their backs.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone‘s original covers are iconic to fans of the series, but the new covers are stunning. Instead of the majority of the cover being a girl’s face in grayscale with bright pops of color, the covers feature a neon-colored illustration of Karou.

‘Light as a Feather’ by Zoe Aarsen

Light as a Feather by Zoe Aarsen
Simon Pulse

Light as a Feather starts with McKenna and her new friends playing the iconic game of the same name. However, it turns out not to be just a game when one of those friends dies. The book is the first in a trilogy that’s been adapted into a Hulu series currently on its second season.

The cover that came before the newest design features a scene from the Hulu show, which is one of my – and many book lovers – pet peeves. The new design is minimalistic and features a design that just evokes “witchy” vibes. It fits the series much better than the other covers.

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The Summer I Turned Pretty fell victim to the late 2000s/early 2010s trend of placing people on the cover. The redesign in 2010 changed to feature beachy motifs and looks more like adult contemporary covers of the time. It fits better since the series covers some more “adult” topics.

The trilogy follows Isabel “Belly” Conklin as she spends her summers at Cousins beach with her family, her mother’s friend, and her two sons. Earlier this year, the rights were picked up by Amazon to adapt it into a television series.

‘Unwind’ by Neal Shusterman

Unwind first book by Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Unwind is the first book in a series that follows people as they try to escape the “unwinding” that would transplant their body parts into different people. The first book follows Connor, Risa, and Lev on the run after their parents decide to “unwind” them.

This horror series has seen a few cover changes, but this one is my favorite by far. It looks more like a science-fiction book than a horror, making it stand out from other books in the genre. When you compare the covers to Shusterman’s other series, the new covers fit in with them better.

‘Emma’ by Jane Austen

Emma by Jane Austen
Penguin Classics | Thomas Nelson

Since it was published, Emma has seen many beautiful and unique covers. But the most recent special edition stands out. The Spring Season Edition from Thomas Nelson features a laser-cut design and a fantastic color story. When I first saw it, I didn’t hesitate to add it to my wish list.

Set in the fictional country village of Highbury, Emma follows a spoiled teenaged girl as she meddles in people’s lives and relationships. The book has been adapted many times for screen and stage, including Clueless, a modern take on the story.

‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Vintage | Penguin Books

Looking at the original cover, you might think this is either a textbook or a memoir. You’d be wrong for thinking that. The new cover feels more like a work of fiction. It has a dark academia vibe that fits right in with the college setting of the plot. Could you imagine a better cover for the novel?

The Secret History is Tartt’s debut novel and tells the story of six Hampden College students. It explores the death of their friend Edmund “Bunny” Corcoran and the events leading up to it. The Secret History also takes a deep look at the lasting effects of Bunny’s murder on the students.

‘Shatter Me’ by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me first book by Tahereh Mafi
Harper | HarperCollins

Seventeen-year-old Juliette has been in isolation since the discovery of her lethal power. The first book in the series, Shatter Me, follows Juliette’s first venture outside as she’s thrust into the middle of a war. The series is full of romance, action, and betrayal. (And some very comedic side characters.)

If you didn’t read the book when it first came out, you probably wouldn’t know it had a different cover than the one it’s known for now. The original cover was another that fell victim to the YA trend of girls in dresses. But the new ones feature a gorgeous abstract eye design that makes it stand out.

‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Dutton Juvenile | Dutton

Anna and the French Kiss follows Anna as she is shipped off to a boarding school in Paris. What follows is a year of romantic near-misses with Étienne St. Clair. Lola and the Boy Next Door is the second book in the trilogy of connected standalones. It follows Lola Nolan, a costume designer, as her life is flipped upside down with the return of the Bell twins.

The first two books in this series featured the main couple in the books. When the third book came out, the other books underwent a significant redesign. The new covers feature landmarks from the locations of the books. They look more like a series despite technically being connected standalones.

‘House of Furies’ by Madeleine Roux

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

I’m not saying the old covers of the Asylum Series were bad, but the new covers for the series just look better, in my opinion. The original covers featured a “spooky” font and dark colors to portray the haunted house. The new ones use muted neutral colors and a ghost-like woman to have the same effect.

House of Furies is the first book in a trilogy where Louisa Ditton finds employment as a maid at Coldthistle House. The house is full of unusual staff and strange guests. The book finds Louisa discovering the hard truths of the house and fearing for her safety.

The Queen’s Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner

The Queen's Thief first four books by Megan Whalen Turner
Greenwillow Books

These old covers are iconic for those that read The Queen’s Thief Series before the redesign. Despite this, the new covers are more epic to me. Instead of showing snippets of the characters, they show scenes from the books. And have you seen them in person? They’re so shiny and golden.

The series follows Gen’s life through the years from varying perspectives. The first book, The Thief, is told from Gen’s perspective. The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia show Gen’s struggle with his destiny. A Conspiracy of Kings continues Gen’s journey with his friend, Sophos.

The His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers

His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Clarion Books

The His Fair Assassin Series follows different girls at a convent during their training and missions. Grave Mercy, the first book, follows Ismae as she joins the Convent of St. Mortain to escape an arranged marriage. The second, Dark Triumph, follows Sybella, and Mortal Heart, the third book, follows Annith.

Yet another series that used girls in dresses to draw young readers in, His Fair Assassin underwent a much-needed redesign. The new covers keep the primary colors and weapons of the originals but give it a cohesive illustrated design. They just stand out so much, I can’t wait to get them on my shelf soon.

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books

The first series of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments, follows Clary Fray as she discovers her family history and the world of Shadowhunters — Nephilim that keep humans safe from demons. The series has been adapted into a movie and television series, both of which didn’t satisfy die-hard fans.

Many fans, including myself, agree that the redesigns were a long time coming. Instead of the models on the covers, we get illustrated versions of the characters. Even better, when you line up the paperback versions of the redesign, the spines line up to show New York, the setting of the series.

The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books

Much like the first Shadowhunters series, The Infernal Devices desperately needed a redesign. The old covers were slightly better than The Mortal Instruments, but not by much. The new redesigns match the other books in the Shadowhunters universe. When lined up, the spines showcase Victorian London.

The Infernal Devices is the second series set in the Shadowhunters universe but before The Mortal Instruments. Set in Victorian London, it follows Tessa Gray, a teenager thrust into the Shadowhunter’s world. From there, she discovers that she isn’t human but half-demon and half-Shadowhunter.

The Virals Series by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Virals first two books by Kathy Reichs, Brendan Reichs
Penguin Razorbill | Young Arrow

I didn’t hate the original covers of this series at all. In fact, I love them and own them. But that doesn’t mean the new covers weren’t improvements. The redesigns make them feel like a science-fiction series first. In contrast, the originals made sure readers knew they were for a younger audience.

The Virals series follows Temperance Brennan’s niece, Tory Brennan, and her friends as they embark on adventures. They use their unique abilities obtained from a mutated strain of parvovirus to solve mysteries in Charleston and at their parents’ research facility.

‘The Invisible Man’ by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
C. Arthur Pearson | Arcturus Publishing

The Invisible Man follows Griffin, a scientist who found a way to make himself invisible. However, to his dismay, the experiment is irreversible. Griffin descends into madness after being rejected and shunned by society. The novel shows how morality is questioned when there are no constraints.

This classic has seen numerous redesigns, but the newest cover takes the original one and modernizes it. The 1897 cover features a plain red background with an illustrated person in a chair. The 2020 cover adds patterns to the background and makes the illustration white to make it pop.

‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Penguin Classics | Thomas Nelson

This classic romance has been through hundreds of cover changes, but the special edition from Thomas Nelson last year takes the cake. Much like the Emma cover I talked about previously, it features laser-cut designs that incorporate the author’s name and a scene from the book. It also has a stunning color palette. It’s yet another cover that I’ve added to my collection wish list.

Jane Eyre follows Jane from childhood to adulthood. During her childhood, she was emotionally and physically abused. But in adulthood, she becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with Edward Rochester. The story has been adapted numerous times, most notably the 2011 film starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, and Judi Dench.

The Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver

Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver

Delirium is set in a dystopian world where love is considered a disease, but a cure has been invented for it. The series follows Lena and Alex as they battle against their government and fall in love. A television series starring Emma Roberts almost made it to air, but the pilot episode was rejected in 2013.

The original cover had a girl’s face on the cover, and yet again, I’m thankful that trend has mostly died. The new covers feature a minimalistic design of a heart on a plain background. These designs feel like a more cohesive series.

‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Penguin | Barnes & Noble

Pride and Prejudice is one of Jane Austen’s classics that has been told and retold numerous times. The main storyline is that of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s relationship. You may remember the movie starring Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth. Or you possibly had to read the book for school like me.

While it’s not the most recent cover change, the 2011 Barnes and Noble leatherbound edition is the most stunning of the designs. The Penguin Classics fit well with the others in the set but didn’t take my breath away. The colors and design have a regency feeling to them while still feeling modern.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Bloomsbury Publishing | Scholastic

The Harry Potter series tells the story of Harry Potter, a young wizard at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main arc is Harry’s struggle to defeat Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard, while each book has its own subplot. The books were adapted to film ten years ago, and a reunion special is coming to HBO soon.

The first two covers from the series are iconic and will always be loved. But the 15th Anniversary editions from Scholastic in 2013 just blew me away. The spines line up to showcase Hogwarts at dawn in all its glory. Aside from that, the covers feature beautifully illustrated scenes from each book. My favorite is either the first or fifth cover. What’s yours?