Guessing 2020 Book Release’s Plots Based on Nothing But Their Covers // In Which My Dreams of Becoming a Psychic Crash & Burn

The saying goes, “You should never judge a book by its cover.”

But that’s what we’re gonna do today!!! I’ve compiled a bunch of books releasing in 2020 that I know absolutely nothing about, and I think it’ll be fun to try and guess their premises based solely on what I can glean from their covers. Of course, I’ll probably be dead wrong about all of these, but maybe this post will still be entertaining to read. πŸ’—πŸ’—

You Say It First by Katie Cotugno


My guess: Based on the posters on the cover, I’m guessing that this book is going to get political. It’s probably set during or close to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, and because the blurb says “One conversation can change everything,” I think it follows a girl who’s a Republican (is that the word? Idk American politics), but she ends up having a conversation with a guy whose political views are different from hers? And of course they fall in love—probably with the help of many text conversations.

The actual premise: Obviously, I wasn’t spot-on, but I did better than I expected. This is about a girl named Meg who has a seemingly perfect life. She phonebanks at a voter registration call center (I have no idea what phonebanking is—can someone please enlighten me in the comments??), and ends up having a phone conversation with Colby, whose life is falling apart. Colby sees Meg as a privileged rich girl and is rude to her on the phone call, but they inexplicably start a long-distance friendship—and maybe something more. The problem is that their personalities may be too different to make it work.

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

My guess: The title and cover of this book are so epic!! The two main characters (who are both dark-skinned—we love that) are gladiators, people who fight to the death in the arena simply to provide entertainment for the corrupt gods of their world. Gladiators also have magical abilities, which really spices the battles up. The female protagonist has fire abilities, and she and the male protagonist team up to defeat the gods, who make them risk their lives for the sake entertainment!

The actual premise: The synopsis for this is really convoluted… but, from what I understand, this follows a girl named Ash who’s descended from a long line of gladiators. When her mother is killed in the arena, she vows revenge against the fire god (why the fire god? I have no idea). The male protagonist, Madoc, pretends that he has the earth god’s powers, but in actuality his elemental gift is specialβ„’. In her attempts to get revenge, Ash accidentally sets the fire and earth gods against each other, and the conflict can only be settled through a series of gladiator games. Madoc’s special powers are the key to Ash’s rebellious needs, but he refuses to use them… And then the synopsis ends with the lines, “But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortalβ€”it will unravel the world.”

War and Speech by Don Zolidis

My guess: I bet my right foot that this features a debate team!! This is about a girl who’s the odd-one-out in the prestigious private school she attends. She’s very rebellious, and the smart, posh kids in the debate team constantly ridicule her for that. So she joins the debate team against all odds in order to shut them up, and the book is about them winning a debate championship!

The actual premise: The Goodreads synopsis for this is really short—there’s not much I can glean from it. It just says: “At Eaganville School for the Arts, Speech and Debate is king. The varsity members of the squad are treated like heroes, and the coach, the irascible Joey Sparks, might as well be a god. But when new girl Sydney Williams, a perennial loser, joins the team, she has only one goal in mind: To infiltrate the team in an elaborate conspiracy and tear them apart from the inside out..”

The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert

My guess: The title and cover illustration make me think that this follows a trans character navigating what it’s like to be trans in historical times, but the blurb tells me that it’s a mystery. Um, so this is a historical fiction set in an opera where a murder recently occurred. The prime suspect is a guy whose costume consists of a red dress, but the protagonist knows that he didn’t commit the murder, so she has to clear his name??? I really don’t know.

The actual premise: This book is so queer I love it! It’s set during the 1920’s in a queer-friendly speakeasy, where the star of the show is Marion, a boy who performs in a red dress. A customer at the speakeasy is murdered, and though the protagonist, Millie, knows that Marion isn’t the killer, the authorities suspect him. Millie teams up with Olive, a waitress, and Bennie, a bootlegger, to clear Marion’s name. I’ve seen from reviews that Millie is bisexual, and I’m assuming that Millie ends up in a love triangle with Olive and Bennie, hehe.

Ruinsong by Julie Ember

My guess: This is definitely about a girl who has a voice that kills or has destructive abilities of some kind. Her father, the king (because why would he not be? This is a YA fantasy amirite) imprisoned her because her powers were too dangerous. But he was killed in the war against an invading kingdom, and she’s the only one who can stop the invaders.

The actual premise: Lmao, I was very wrong, but hey, this is gay!!! It’s set in a world where magic is sung, and the main character, Cadence, is forced by the queen (who I don’t think she’s related to…) to torture the disgraced nobility. She reconnects (and starts to fall in love 😏) with her childhood best friend, a noblewoman who’s part of an underground rebellion.

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

My guess: Thank you so much for that very helpful blurb, Mason Deaver. πŸ˜™πŸ˜™ From what they said, I’m assuming that this is a very quiet superhero story. We follow two best friends—one has always been the smarter, more popular, more successful one of the two, while the other simply fades into the background. Things don’t get better when the more successful one gains superpowers, and the story follows how their relationship changes because of that. And since I know T.J. Klune writes gay romances, I’m guessing that this is a friends-to-lovers story.

The actual premise: This book follows a boy named Nick who’s the most popular fanfiction writer for the Extraordinaries. When he has an encounter with Shadow Star, the city’s mightiest hero, he sets out to become an extraordinary himself. I think this features a love triangle, because the synopsis refers to Shadow Star as his biggest crush, but it also refers to Seth, Nick’s best friend, as “maybe the love of his life.”

I wasn’t completely spot-on with any of these, so I guess I’ll have to give up my dreams of being a psychic… But hey, I think I got at least one aspect from the synopsis right in all of my guesses! Also, I had so much fun making up premises for these books! I’ll definitely have to do a part two of this post someday!

Are you anticipating any of these books? Do you judge books by their covers?

55 thoughts on “Guessing 2020 Book Release’s Plots Based on Nothing But Their Covers // In Which My Dreams of Becoming a Psychic Crash & Burn

  1. Haha, this was so much fun to read!! Lol, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was Republican, but she could also be a Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, and whatever else there is. Phone banking is like a call center where they do phone advertisements. Basically, they use it to get info about voters and to like convince them to be on this side or that. At least that’s what I understand lol
    I feel like the Debate one is where the MC has been wronged (probably by the “god” Joey), OR someone she knows has been wronged by him (would I be surprised if her friend was either dumped or humiliated by Joey and his debate crew? Nope. Not at all), so she joins the debate team incognito and plans to destroy their reputation, but in the end, it doesn’t work out, and she actually comes to love it, and yeah… At least that’s what I’m guessing from the synopsis lol. I think it would be a semi-interesting book.
    Set Fire to the Gods sounds like it’ll be interesting, and not really lol. Idk why. It’s a weird feeling. My sensors are probably really extremely off.
    Anyways, you actually did pretty well and this was such an awesome post ❀ I have to give it a try, though I’ll probably miserably fail πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ah, i’m so glad πŸ–€πŸ–€ omg i’m such an idiot when it comes to American politics :(( i really don’t know what’s going on with you guys, lmao, but it seems messy i’m sorry. (don’t worry, we can relate over here in the Philippines.) And thank you so much for explaining what phonebanking is!! again, i have no clue how American politics work, so phonebanking is like, *unheard* of for me, but i figured that it was something like that!
      OMG, YEAH! i’d actually love to read a book about a girl taking revenge on the debate team, but unexpectedly growing to love it. i’ve never read a book centered on a debate team before, i think, so i might actually pick up War and Speech if the reviews are promising πŸ€”
      ok, at first Set Fire to the Gods seemed interesting, but now i’m pretty sure i’m just gonna pass. no offense, but it seems like a generic and forgettable YA fantasy based on the synopsis…. (which is what i fear my book will come across/be. hehe, if you know, you know)
      thank you so much, Rukky! but i attribute my surprisingly good performance to the fact that i chose books with covers with revealing blurbs and illustrations. if i had picked just *any* covers, i would’ve been dead, let me tell you. i’d love to see you try though! it’s always fun to see people try and guess what a book is about based solely on their covers πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was so much fun. I’m quite bad at guessing, so I don’t think I wanna try but I absolutely loved how you came up with your ideas. Your creative thinking is πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was such a creative idea! And I was super impressed with how well you did for each of these! I don’t know if I would have paid as much attention to all the details you did! I probably would have been guessing synopses in completely different genres for some of these! Plus, I discovered quite a few releases that I had not heard about before reading this wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Malka!! Actually, I attribute my surprisingly good guessing skills to the fact that i chose books with covers that i felt revealed a lot about the actual story. if i had picked just any book cover out of the dozens i looked at for this post, i would’ve been toast. πŸ˜‚ (book blurbs also saved my life.)
      ah, i’m so glad that you were able to discover new releases! i was able to do so too! i’m particularly interested in The Boy in the Red Dress, hehe

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a creative post! Also, I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I’m pretty sure everyone does it anyway (at least a little bit, right?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Juli! Lol, i actually don’t think i judge books by their covers very much? like, i’m more likely to gravitate towards a beautiful cover, but i’ve been burned by a pretty-looking cover that hid horrendous contents too many times πŸ˜…

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  5. Loved the idea behind this post!! I am almost always judging books by their covers… oops. However I usually cant figure out if its a book i will like by looking at the cover lol! Looks like some of your predictions were spot on! I haven’t heard of any of these yet but The Boy in the Red Dress looks interesting! Great post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you!! same! i’m more likely to gravitate toward a beautiful cover, but i know that some beautiful covers hide horrendous contents, so i never read books based on covers anymore. reviews are my best friend.
      omg, yeah. i’m actually surprised that some of them were spot-on, but i attribute it to the fact that i chose books with revealing covers on purpose πŸ˜‚ and out of all of the books i chose for this post, i’m most likely to actually read The Boy in the Red Dress too! a queer speakeasy and mystery sound so good πŸ₯Ί

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was really fun to read. I would be terrible at guessing them myself πŸ˜‚
    This actually introduced me to some new books as well !! I think you did really well with You Say It First !! I don’t really understand American politics either πŸ™ˆ but you got that it involves politics and differences to overcome !! Yay, go you !!
    I hadn’t heard of The Boy in The Red Dress but that premise sounds really interesting and I think you quite a few things right as well!!
    Ruinsong sounds so good, I’m excited to read this one !! 😍 and you saying that she would be princess because it is ya fantasy is hilarious πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ such a mood !!
    This was SO fun, I loved it !! πŸ’›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so glad you had fun reading this, sophie! and i’d be terrible at guessing too! the only reason i did kinda well in this post is because i chose books with revealing covers πŸ˜‚
      oh, yes! i actually might pick up some of the books i selected for this post πŸ€” and lol, high five for not knowing anything about American politics. idk what’s going on in America, but it’s mess 😬
      i know!! out of all the books in this post, i’m most interested in The Boy in the Red Dress. a queer speakeasy?? and a murder mystery set in the 1920’s? sounds amazing. and yes, i think that the most spot on guess of mine was for The Boy in the Red Dress πŸ˜‚
      haha, yes!! i wish we’d get a ya fantasy featuring a country that’s not under a monarchy for a change. i love music magic and sapphic-ness though, so i might pick up Ruinsong as well!
      thank you so much, sophie πŸ’–πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved this idea, sweetie! It was a lot of fun reading your assuptions about each one of the books ❀️ and by the way, OMG … first time I heard about Set Fire to the Gods and it sounds SO good!! πŸ˜βœ¨πŸ‘πŸ»
    I think you did great, love, I swear I would be the worst in this game, I could only guess the genre πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much, Sofi πŸ˜­πŸ’–πŸ’– and same!! the cover and title were already interesting me. but the fact that it’s about gladiators makes me super intrigued!
      ah, thank you!! but i only did kinda well because i chose books with informative cover illustrations and blurbs for this post on purpose πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. haha you did so well!! i don’t know most of these books so i was playing along as i read this post and i got most of them veryyyy wrong. πŸ˜… honestly, i judge books by their covers all the time, so this post idea is very fun!! i would totally love to see a part two. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you!! but i only did kinda well because i chose books with revealing covers and blurbs for this post on purpose πŸ˜… if i hadn’t, i would’ve failed bigtime. and i’m so glad that you played along!! i really wanted the readers to play along with me in this post, but i somehow forgot to say that in the intro. don’t worry about getting most wrong!! i got many things wrong too, and i spent an embarrassing amount of time analyzing these covers πŸ˜‚ this post was really fun for me to do, there’ll probably be a part two ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. this post is so fun, caitlin!! i’m really really excited for ruinsong — first of all i really love the cover and second it’s sapphic!!! the only other book on here i’ve heard of is the extraordinaries, but the boy in the red dress looks really intriguing just from the cover. (also, your comment saying “why the fire god? i have no idea” made me laugh, i am also wondering that as well…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you, May!! Ah, I hope you enjoy Ruinsong and The Extraordinaries <33 And yes, I'm actually intrigued by The Boy in the Red Dress because a queer murder mystery set in historical times sounds so good πŸ₯Ί Omg, I know right! I have no idea why the synopsis never clarified that 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  10. HOW DO YOU DO THIS? I’d honestly spend one hour trying to come up with something for each book and still, I’d get it wrong. My brain is fried!! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  11. wow, you were actually spot on in a lot of these! you say it first has an amazing cover, but i was very confused about the idea of phone banking as well. i have no idea what that means, but i kept thinking these characters would be talking in the phone and falling in love. but, like, in 2020? does anyone even use a phone anymore these days? i only text my friends and don’t know how to cope with phone calls, hahah.
    i had not heard about war and speech before, but it actually sounds quite interesting. i find debate teams so interesting, probably because that’s not common where i live at all, so i’ve only ever seen people debating in movies (much like all extra curriculars, really. drama club? football? i wish we had such cool extra curriculars at my school!)
    the extraordinaries sounds really fun and adorable too. i think it will probably have a lot of twists in super hero tropes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you!! but it was only because I chose books with revealing blurbs, taglines, and covers on purpose πŸ˜…πŸ˜… yes, I love You Say It First’s cover too—it’s so cute! & someone actually explained phonebanking to me in the comments, but I still don’t really get it… wtf is American politics. I totally agree with you though :((( I absolutely *despise* phone calls. texting is so much less awkward!
      war and speech sounds interesting to me too, because the synopsis was really vague and i’ve never read a book centered on a debate team before! my school has a debate team and debates are a regular occurrence in class, but i’d never want to or be able to join, lmao πŸ˜‚ luckily, my school offers a bunch of extracurriculars that are common in American movies, but the way we go about them is sometimes different, haha! like, our “”prom”” (it’s called a dinner dance or something) is very much not like how it’s depicted in films
      yes, the extraordinaries does look intriguing! i’m not big on superhero stories though, so i’m not sure if I’m gonna pick it up πŸ€”

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such a fun post idea! I loved seeing how your guesses compared to the actual premise of each book. It was a really fun read πŸ™‚ I kind of think everyone judges books by their covers to some extent. Those – along with the author and title – are generally going to be what first catches your eyes. And I agree that Set Fire To The Gods has a fantastic cover and title!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Charlotte! I… don’t think I really judge books by their covers though :”””) don’t get me wrong, a pretty cover is sure to stick in my memory, but i’ve been burned too many times by gorgeous covers that hid horrendous exteriors, so I don’t put much stock in covers anymore πŸ˜‚ Set Fire to the Gods has a good cover and title, but… to be honest, the synopsis isn’t really appealing to me :// I hope you enjoy it if you plan to pick it up though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true. And sometimes books with terrible covers have fantastic stories inside of them.
        Ah that’s a shame but thank you, hopefully I will ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Wait, you actually did so good hahaha. I love how you β€œdefinitely” thought you knew what Ruinsong was about, and it’s the only one you were completely off on πŸ˜‚πŸ’•. All of these books actually sound really interesting – War and Speech seems like the type of school drama book I’d enjoy haha πŸ˜„.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you! I only did good because I chose books with revealing covers and blurbs on purpose though :”) Omg, I’m glad that you noticed that about Ruinsong! πŸ˜‚ That was the one with the least telling cover, imo. Yeah, I’m a little interested in War and Speech too. I’ve never read a book centered on a debate team before πŸ€”


  14. ahhhh okay but you did SO well I think with all of these books!! and I love the covers you picked out, too. You Say It First is one of my most anticipated reads of the year! ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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