Bookstr’s Top 10 Book Covers Of 2021

Our 2021 TBR list was full of amazing stories, but what stood out most were their amazing covers. It may be a good thing to literally judge a book by its cover.

Diversity Fantasy Fiction Horror Just For Fun New Release Pop Culture Recommendations Young Adult

You can’t deny that books have held their own during a tumultuous and uncertain year where many weren’t sure if it was safe to leave the house and others just wanted to connect with their fellow human beings. Whether you cozied up indoors to finally make a dent in your TBR list or met up with friends to discuss your latest book club pick, many bibliophiles came into contact with beautiful stories, both inside and out of the house.

To celebrate the many wonderful books that were released this year, Bookstr compiled some of our favorite book covers (and recommendations) for our readers!

A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee


Bookstr was so lucky to have interviewed the author of the first book on our Best Covers list. This novel’s cover is absolutely stunning, and the re-telling of a classic tale inside is just as magical. If you missed our exclusive interview with C.B. Lee, you can read all about it here. And to check out the other three books that are a part of the Reclaimed Classics series, click here.

All’s Well by Mona Awad


They say all’s well that end’s well, but I’m in a new hell every time I see this cover. The terrifying comedy mask made out of dozens of pills feels threatening and fake. But don’t let that scare you from reading this tale about a crazed teacher in pain. So while the cover of this story is intoxicating, we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the madness you’ll find inside.

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray


When discussing the best book covers of 2021, this novel was one of the first on the list. The bluish hue of the palm fronds and the bold gold color of the snake make this cover stand out on a bookshelf. The snake also looks like it’s out to grab readers for walking past it, which makes this cover unforgettable.

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell


There has been a slow, but perhaps not incidental, rise in interest on what makes a cult, well, a cult. The cover of this book invites readers in with its nod to aliens and bright psychedelic colors. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when interest turns fanatic, you don’t want to miss this book that dives deep into the language and power of cults.

Detransition Baby by Torrey Peters


While the cover of Peters’s novel looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, attentive readers will see that it actually alludes to the story’s premise about the lives of three women. The eyes hidden throughout the cover make readers feel not only watched but seen, perhaps enticing them to take a look past the intimidating cover. And if you’re not freaked out by the eyes, maybe they make you feel invited into these women’s stories. Either way, the only way to find out what is hiding behind the eyes is to get past the cover.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix


In just the title alone, Hendrix introduced readers to a brand of heroine that many did not know before. The “Final Girl” trope refers to the last-standing, female character in a horror movie who the killer can’t seem to pin down. And everything you need to know about this trope is referred to on the book’s cover. A single metal chair. Horrifying amounts of blood. This was enough to get us hooked into finding out more about Hendrix’s version of a Final Girl. If you would like to learn more about this trope, click here to read one author’s take on the horror movie heroine.

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström


This beautiful cover proves that there is more than one way to be. Readers are invited to learn more about the lives of the women who grace this cover as they realize that no matter how hard one may try to fit into society, many people still judge a person based on their looks. Just like layers of this cover, this book is layered with commentary on racism, classism, and tokenism.

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee


Many people who immigrate to another country find their lives turning into a balancing act between two identities that may not always match up. Lee’s cover is an excellent example of this feeling, as the shapes and layers of an unpredictable life can never seem to line up. Settling down in a new country requires finding oneself while not losing oneself along the way, and this Pulitzer finalist is just as open and honest about the messiness of immigration on the inside as it is on the outside.

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong


The sequel to Gong’s These Violent Ends invites readers back into the lives of Juliette and Roma with another captivating cover. This time, a dragon becomes the flame between the gangs that are fighting over Shanghai. With its deep, haunting colors and a flamed dragon reminiscent of the one who took down the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts, you’re not going to want to miss this spin on one of Shakespeare’s classic tales.

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Those who are familiar with Moreno-Garcia’s work may immediately think of the beautiful Victorian cover of her latest bestselling horror, Mexican Gothic. So to have her next enticing cover allude to the middle grade and teen novels of our youth is so satisfying. While we’re curious about what is behind the sunglasses of the cover model, we also can’t help but wonder who is hiding in the reflection of the lenses. The only way we’ll find the answers to these questions is to crack open this story’s spine.

While this list is only our Top 10, there were so many cover standouts this year! What were your favorites? Do your favorites align with ours? Let us know in the comments! We can’t wait to see the book cover trends of 2022!