Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

3 Cringe-Worthy Book Covers

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Andi Miller

Staff Writer

Andi Miller is a proponent of fauxhawks, gaudy jewelry, country music, and writing. When she’s not publicly relating at her day job or teaching university English courses online, she’s a hardcore reader, social media addict, 10-year book blogging veteran at Estella’s Revenge, and host of Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. Her favorite literary snacks are comics, literary fiction, and foodie memoirs. Her favorite real snacks are Froot Loops, fried catfish tails, and serial Twitter unfollowers. Blog: Estella's Revenge Twitter: @EstellasRevenge

While we at the Riot are taking this lovely summer week off to rest (translation: read by the pool/ocean/on our couches), we’re re-running some of our favorite posts from the last several months. Enjoy our highlight reel, and we’ll be back with new stuff on Wednesday, July 8th.

This post originally ran June 15, 2015.

I am a sucker for covers. I don’t even pretend to be unbiased or resistant to their powers. They sway me, entice me, generally thrill me. Once in a while, though, a cover will make me…blush, swing my head around, and sometimes cringe. Those special covers that pack a gut punch or bring up the hairs on one’s arms are special finds. I kind of want to celebrate them, but I also want to hide them in the freezer.


The first book in this category that always, always comes to mind is Alissa Nutting’s Tampa. It’s just a button hole. I realize this, but sometimes a buttonhole is not just a buttonhole, especially in the context of this novel’s plot.


Your House is On Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye gives me the creeps all around. The “bad seed” vibe is overwhelming, between the child’s intense and ghostly stare, to the eviscerated animals hanging in the background. It doesn’t get much more “Children of the Corn” than this.


Mysteriously dark divots, and hair, and just…do I even have to expand? This Lolita cover was part of a redesign contest, and this particular entry came from Adonis Durado, a talented poet, illustrator, and designer. While it’s fitting enough to this classically squicky novel, I find myself hoping to never discover this hair on the soap. If you want to see more subtly yucky covers, check out the Flavorwire post.

Hit me with your best shot. What are your favorite questionable covers?