How YA Book Covers Have Changed To Appeal To The Youths

Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
In the endless online waves of '90s nostalgia, kids' books have been largely ignored. Sure, we might take a moment to remember the Mary GrandPré illustrations that dominated Harry Potter merchandise before they were replaced with stills from the films.

But '90s book covers played a part in some of our most exciting moments from elementary and middle school. They filled the pages of the glorious Scholastic book order forms. They were on the hastily assembled shelves at the school book fair. They were what the Game Boy-less among us brought on long car trips.

So let's celebrate the illustrations and graphics that convinced us to pick up stories about a society without love and tales of best friends who would love each other forever. We promise you'll spend Thanksgiving trying to dig old favorites out of your childhood bedroom.
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Click through to see the titles that got you through your awkward years, and how they look on the bookshelves (or, in some cases, Kindle shelves) of today's kids and teens.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperTeen.
Sabriel
By Garth Nix
(First Published, 1997)

This classic fantasy novel was a favorite of Harry Potter and Dungeons and Dragons fans everywhere.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperTeen.
Sabriel
By Garth Nix
(2009 Edition)

The updated covers for the series are simpler, to compete with the look of more modern quest novels.
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Photo Courtesy of: Delacorte Books for Young Readers.
Here's To You, Rachel Robinson
By Judy Blume
(First Published, 1993)

It's clear that this Judy Blume story is full of angst.
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Photo Courtesy of: Delacorte Books for Young Readers.
Here's To You, Rachel Robinson
By Judy Blume
(2010 Edition)

On modern YA covers, heads just aren't essential.
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Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
Dawn (California Diaries, No. 1)
By Ann M. Martin
(First Published, 1997)

This Babysitters Club spin-off focuses on Dawn, a.k.a. the super-chill member.
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Photo: Open Road Media Teen & Tween.
Dawn (California Diaries, No. 1)
By Ann M. Martin
(2014 Edition)

This take on the '90s title for the Instagram generation was only released for Kindle.
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Photo: Puffin Books.
Matilda
By Roald Dahl
(First Published, 1988)

This cover makes it really clear what Matilda's favorite after-school activity is.
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Photo: Puffin Books.
Matilda
By Roald Dahl
(2007 Edition)

It's still clear Matilda loves her books, but this cover hints at her more magical interests.
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Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
By J.K. Rowling
(First Published, 1998)

It's hard not to look at the cover now without thinking, That's not Daniel Radcliffe!
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Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
By J.K. Rowling
(2013 Edition)

The new editions of the HP series got their cover art courtesy of illustrator Kazu Kibuishi.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperTeen.
Weetzie Bat
By Francesca Lia Block
(First Published, 1989)

This classic YA book redefined what young adult fiction could be, showing teens exploring their sexuality and forming untraditional families.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperTeen.
Weetzie Bat
By Francesca Lia Block
(2004 Edition)

The updated cover is appropriately dreamy and electric in honor of the book's whimsical protagonist.
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Photo: Courtesy of Harper Collins.
The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle
By Avi
(First Published, 1990)

The gentile-looking Charlotte Doyle pictured here doesn't quite capture the badass she becomes during her journey.
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Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle
By Avi
(2012 Edition)

Here we get a glimpse into the kind of adventure Charlotte Doyle has as she crosses the Atlantic Ocean.
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Photo: Courtesy of Puffin Books.
The Ear, The Eye, And The Arm
By Nancy Farmer
(First Published, 1994)

The '90s cover for this award-winning futuristic novel had a zany feel.
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Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
The Ear, The Eye, And The Arm
By Nancy Farmer
(2012 Edition)

This updated cover art is less cartoonish.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperTrophy.
Walk Two Moons
By Sharon Creech
(First Published, 1994)

The cover for this story within a story has a school-art-project feel.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins.
Walk Two Moons
By Sharon Creech
(2011 Edition)

This updated cover puts the book's protagonist, Sal, at the center of things.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laurel Leaf.
The Giver
By Lois Lowry
(First Published, 1993)

The cover of this lauded dystopian novel is appropriately bleak.
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Photo: HMH Books for Young Readers.
The Giver
By Lois Lowry
(2014)

It would be more accurate, but less marketable, for the cover to say, "Now a terrible motion picture."
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Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
Ella Enchanted
By Gail Carson Levine
(First Published, 1997)

This very untraditional fairy tale has a fairly traditional cover.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins.
Ella Enchanted
By Gail Carson Levine
(2011 Edition)

The new illustration looks a little more Disney-esque, though the novel's film adaptation wasn't actually a Disney production.
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Photo: Courtesy of Square Fish.
Speak
By Laurie Halse Anderson
(First Published, 1999)

The cover art for this haunting book about a sexual assault survivor is also arresting.
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Photo: Courtesy of Speak
Speak
By Laurie Halse Anderson
(2006 Edition)

This cover update zooms into and mutes the iconic cover art, making it look like a work of old-school literary fiction.
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Photo: Courtesy of Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Hatchet
By Gary Paulsen
(First Published, 1986)

Brian looks out somberly into the distance on the cover of this kids' version of Bear Grylls.
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Photo: Courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Hatchet
By Gary Paulsen
(2006 Edition)

This cover artist obviously realized the real star of the story is the titular hatchet.
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Photo: Courtesy of Puffin Books.
The Secret Life Of Amanda K. Woods
By Ann Cameron
(First Published, 1998)

Amanda gets dreamy about the important things in her life.
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Photo: Courtesy of Square Fish.
The Secret Life Of Amanda K. Woods
By Ann Cameron
(2014 Edition)

Amanda goes minimalist.
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Photo: Courtesy of Puffin Books.
A Girl Named Disaster
By Nancy Farmer
(First Published, 1996)

This cover captures Nhamo on her harrowing adventure through Africa.
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Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.
A Girl Named Disaster
By Nancy Farmer
(2012 Edition)

The Newberry Honor book's new cover is sure to grab readers scanning the shelves.
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