Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: judging covers

Judging Covers with The Family: It’s Back! Again!

It’s been many, many months since we’ve had an edition of Judging Covers but a few weeks ago the child mentioned it and I needed a post idea so here we go. 

For those who are new, this is a series I do where I ask my husband and daughter to deduce the plots of books I’m reading simply by looking at the covers. This month’s edition features a few of the books on my nightstand and none of the books on my Kindle and I figured it was a nice compliment to SUYB. Like a Preview My Books. 

Book #1: In the Shadow of Alabama by Judy Renee Singer

The Child says: I think this is about a family that lives on a farm in Alabama and everyone knows them as a sweet caring family but they aren’t fully who they seem to be. 

The Husband says: I think some people came to Alabama not from Alabama OR some people who don’t fit in Alabama are having to live in Alabama (me: STOP STAYING ALABAMA) and they can’t be who they are because they’re in Alabama.

Goodreads says: Rachel Fleischer has good reasons not to be at her father s deathbed. Foaling season is at hand and her horses are becoming restless and difficult. Her critical mother and grasping sister could certainly handle Marty Fleisher s resistance better without her. But Malachi, her eighty-something horse manager more father to her than Marty has ever been convinces Rachel she will regret it if she doesn t go.

When a stranger at her father’s funeral delivers an odd gift and an apology, Rachel finds herself drawn into the epic story of her father s World War II experience, and the friendships, trauma, scandal, and betrayals that would scar the rest of his life and cast a shadow across the entire family. As she struggles to make sense of his time as a Jewish sergeant in charge of a platoon of black soldiers in 1940s Alabama, she learns more than just his history. She begins to see how his hopes and disappointments mirror her own and might finally give her the means to free herself of the past and choose a life waiting in the wings.

Book #2: A Brief History of Seven Killing by Marlon James

The Child says: It looks like a mad person kills themself and the book explains why.

The Husband says: I think the title is pretty self explanatory but the bird adds nothing. It’s useless. I want to give the bird the bird because it gives me nothing. 

Goodreads says: On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert, gunmen stormed his house, machine guns blazing. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Marley would go on to perform at the free concert on December 5, but he left the country the next day, not to return for two years.

Book #3: Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

The Child says: I think this is about two people who have a secret in murdering and it about what caused it.  (Child: Am I close? Me: No. Child: It sounds like that’s what it should be about)

The Husband says: I think it’s about since we’ve both left our former lives we’re now in some kind of shitty situation and we’re trying to figure it out together. 

Goodreads says: Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself.

Book #4: The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

The Child says: I feel like it’s something related to 13 Reasons Why but instead of the girl having tapes for her classmates it explains all of what happened and how it affected the people who cared about her after what happened happened. 

The Husband says: This one is about woman who has never let you see all the parts of her but if you think about it, over time, you can build a full picture of who she really is. 

Goodreads says: For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

Not discussed: Bastard Out of Carolina, Better Than Before, The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tale of Life on the Road

This was an off month for them, especially the child. She usually does a pretty good job of deciphering plots simply based on covers. Or she goes WAY off the deep end and isn’t even close. Like when she asked when I was going to read To Kill a Mockingjay. 

I cannot. 

Judging Covers with The Family: Two months in a row!

Time for another round of Judging Covers! This one should prove to be even more interesting because a) I couldn’t remember the title of one of the books I plan to read and b) my husband actually bought me one of these and claims to not know what it’s about.

I think he lies. 

Let’s see what they have to say. And if you like any of the books below, click on the cover image to go right to the Goodreads page for that book. No searching necessary. 

The child says: A poor little girl who lives in a small falling apart house in like a field and her parents don’t treat her very well and her dad is constantly working and her mom isn’t nice to her. It takes place around the 1900s, maybe the 1800s.

The husband says: A young girl from the Mississippi Delta and it’s about her growing up poor.

Goodreads says: Follows the Hess family in the years after World War I as they attempt to rid themselves of the Anti-German sentiment that left a stain on their name. But when the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night, the family must piece together what happened while struggling to maintain their life on the unforgiving Iowa plains.

In the weeks after Esther and Myrle’s disappearance, their siblings desperately search for the sisters, combing the stark farmlands, their neighbors’ houses, and the unfamiliar world of far-off Chicago. Have the girls run away to another farm? Have they gone to the city to seek a new life? Or were they abducted? Ostracized, misunderstood, and increasingly isolated in their tightly-knit small town in the wake of the war, the Hesses fear the worst.

The child says: This one is about a…like a murder mystery type of book. It’s about a kid’s brother who goes missing somewhere and he is looking for him even in the most dangerous places until he finds out he’s dead. 

The husband says: I think it’s about…hmmm….long silence…someone’s brother who lives in the middle of nowhere who gets into trouble and the other brother or sister has to come help him in the backward ass world the brother lives in. 

Goodreads says: Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place.

The child says: Oh, I know what this one is! You’ve talked about it before! So it’s about all these 80s movies and these people writing letters to them. I forget some of it but it’s a love letter to 80s movies. Me: That’s what it says on the cover. Child: Yeah…it gives it away. #smartass

The husband says: I think there’s a particular aspect to 80s movies that is unique to that time period and this person is writing about the uniqueness about that time period while showing the iconic The Breakfast Club closing scene. Me: John Bender! Child: The Criminal! #proudmama #ihavedonemyjob

Goodreads says: From the fictional towns of Hill Valley, CA, and Shermer, IL, to the beautiful landscapes of the “Goondocks” in Astoria and the “time of your life” dirty dancing resort still alive and well in Lake Lure, NC, ’80s teen movies left their mark not just on movie screen and in the hearts of fans, but on the landscape of America itself. Like few other eras in movie history, the ’80s teen movies has endured and gotten better with time. In Brat Pack America, Kevin Smokler gives virtual tours of your favorite movies while also picking apart why these locations are so important to these movies.

The child says: A memoir in 21 songs. 

The husband says: It’s about 21 songs and the guy is holding a CD player! Me: What does that have to do with anything? Husband: Because CDs could only hold 21 songs max. I got the hidden meaning. #imsureyoudid

Goodreads says: In Party of One, Holmes tells the hilariously painful and painfully hilarious tales—in the vein of Rob Sheffield, Andy Cohen, and Paul Feig—of an outsider desperate to get in, of a misfit constantly changing shape, of a music geek who finally learns to accept himself. Structured around a mix of hits and deep cuts from the last four decades—from Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” to LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” and Bleachers’ “I Wanna Get Better”—and punctuated with interludes like “So You’ve Had Your Heart Broken in the 1990s: A Playlist” and “Notes on (Jesse) Camp,” this book is for anyone who’s ever felt like a square peg, especially those who have found their place in the world around a band, an album, or a song.

How’d they do? Have you read any of these? 

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