Guessing 2021 Book Releases’ Plots Based on Nothing But Their Covers

Happy Lunar New Year, friends!

I’ve been inactive for the past few weeks, and as always, it’s because of school!! It’s time to announce a hiatus. I’ll try my best to post a February wrap-up, reply to comments, and blog hop here and there, but school has been really busy (second semester is much worse than the first), and I’m just too tired to maintain a blog right now. I’ll probably come back at the end of March aka the start of my summer break.

Anyways, in less sad news, I’m going to be doing part two of the post I did last year where I guessed what books are about solely based on their covers. This time I guessed the plots of 2021 releases!

For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten

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My guess: From the cover, I’m assuming that this is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The main character lives in a place bordered by a forest, which houses a wolf-like monster. I have two guesses: 1) Her village does some kind of ritual to decide who to sacrifice to the monster and she gets chosen, or 2) she decides to go into the forest herself, because someone she loves has been taken by the monster. Also I’m assuming that the monster is the love interest. Maybe this is a furry romance…

The actual premise: Oh my god, except for the fact that I guessed that this was a Little Red Riding Hood retelling just because the girl on the cover is wearing a red hood, I was actually kind of spot-on!! Prepared for this guess to be my only good guess in the entire post. This follows Red, the only Second Daughter born in centuries, which means that she has to be sacrificed to a monster called the Wolf in the Wood in hopes that he’ll return the world’s captured gods. But Red is almost relieved to go because she has a dangerous power that she can’t control, and at least in the Wilderwood she can’t hurt those she loves. The last paragraph of the synopsis states, “But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. (So… not a furry romance.) Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.”

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Sisters of the Snake by Sasha Nanua and Sarena Nanua

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My guess: This follows two sisters who are princesses. They both love each other, but they’re being forced to compete for the throne, with the loser fated to die. Also, the kingdom that they are competing to rule has magic and/or a religion based on snakes. Maybe they can control or communicate with snakes? Anyways the one who wins will get some kind of snake magic.

The actual premise: I was very far off. This follows Rani and Ria. Rani is a princess who longs for a chance to prove herself, and Ria is a street urchin stealing to survive. However, when their lives collide there’s no mistaking that they are identical. They strike a deal to switch places, but danger lurks in both worlds. (I’m disappointed that there’s no mention of a snake in the synopsis.)

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Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

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My guess: I love how the cover itself tells a story, makes my job so much easier. This follows a girl in the aftermath of a severe breakup. But maybe it’s a second chance romance? I’m assuming, since the title is “Love is a Revolution,” that their romance is forbidden in some way. When I zoomed into the bottom right illustration the guy looked a little mad, so I think the main character did something bad in order for them to break up (you know, that trope where a character breaks up with their significant other because they were forced to or to keep them safe). This book is about them fighting against all odds to be together again.

The actual premise: This follows Nala Robertson, who reluctantly accompanies her cousin to an open mic night. There, she meets Tye Brown, and sparks fly between them instantly. In order to impress Tye and convince him that they have things in common (Tye is an activist and Nala would rather watch movies), Nala tells a few lies about herself. As they spend more time together, it becomes harder to uphold all of them. I was very far off… but at least I got the part about her doing something that hurt him?

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Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura

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My guess: Unrelated, but am I the only one who thought this book was an anthology because of the cover? The cover just screams anthology to me for some reason. Anyways, this book most probably has sapphic rep, and I’m pretty sure it’s set in San Francisco because of the Golden Gate Bridge on the cover. The main character just broke up with her girlfriend and is dating someone new. However, the person she broke up with, who is also dating someone else, still has feelings for her, so a lot of drama ensues.

The actual premise: Nozomi meets and immediately develops a crush on Willow, who seems like the perfect girl. When Willow convinces Nozomi to be her fake girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi plans to make Willow’s feelings for her real. Well, I guess I was right about there being drama, jealousy, and exes at least.

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Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

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My guess: This follows two soldiers and/or pilots from enemy planets. One is a desert planet while the other is an ice planet. It’s a m/m enemies to lovers romance. One of the main characters has been brainwashed by an evil empire, while the other is a rebel. By some special circumstances, their paths collide and they become reluctant allies, and then something more. (This made-up synopsis reminds me of Stormpilot. 😭)

The actual premise: I think this is my most spot-on guess!! After the death of Prince Taam of the Iskat Empire, Kiem, his widower, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Jainan from Planet Thea, which is beginning to chafe under Iskat’s rule. But Prince Taam’s death might not have been an accident, and Jainan may be a suspect. I was right about them being reluctant allies and then something more, because the last line part of the synopsis states: “…the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.”

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Malice by Heather Walter

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My guess: I’m ninety percent sure I’m wrong about this, but I think this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but this time the girl is the beast, and some poor guy/girl has been sent to her?? (Basing this primarily on the fact that there’s a rose on the cover and the hand holding it is trapped in thorns.) I don’t know, this cover is giving me nothing!!

The actual premise: This isn’t a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but it is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty!! I really should’ve guessed that instead. I think the synopsis is really good, so I’m just going to paste it directly from Goodreads:

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again.

Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain.

It’s sapphic. 👁

Do you think I did well? Have you read or are you anticipating any of these releases? Do you judge books by their covers?

18 thoughts on “Guessing 2021 Book Releases’ Plots Based on Nothing But Their Covers

  1. you did so well! All of these covers are gorgeous and your guesses made total sense next to them, even if they weren’t that spot on technically. And I agree! Love & Other Natural Disasters’ cover looks like an anthology, maybe it’s the way the title is distributed

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  2. Haha, what a fun post! These days it’s almost impossible to guess the plots by the covers but I think you did a decent job 🙂 I think I’m the most excited to read Sisters of the Snake and Love is a Revolution. And Happy Lunar Year, Caitlin!

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  3. Ooh I love the sound of your version of Sisters Of The Snake. Although I’m also excited for the authors one (: and I totally get why you’d guess Beauty & The Beast with the cover for Malice. At least you knew it was a retelling 😁 I’m interested in that one too, I hope you enjoy it if you read it.
    I love seeing your guesses (: must be so hard to come up with them. And yes that cover does look like an anthology now that you’ve mentioned it. I also may have preordered one of the books listed here 😅

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  4. …hello. I’m a terrible friend, I haven’t commented on any of your posts in forever 😭 I’m so sorry!
    I love these kinds of posts, and I think you did really well! Your guess for Malice is amazing; I had no idea what to even think about it. A forbidden romance perhaps? Seriously, the cover doesn’t give much. Love and Other Natural Disasters does look like an anthology, especially because of the title. I’m kind of excited to read Sisters of Snake, though I am also disappointed that there’s no mention of snakes. Idk, but I’ve never read a fantasy revolving around snakes? They’d be cool animals for a book to be based on, and I love the switching identities trope, so I am excited for that!

    Anyway, wonderful post as always Caitlin ❤✨

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  5. ahhh this was such a fun post!! you weren’t that far off on most of them!! love & natural disasters is high on my tbr – in fact, i got an ARC last week, and i’m so excited!! definitely agree that the title makes it sound like an anthology though!! the synopsis of malice also sounds SO. GOOD. great post as always!! 💞

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  6. I’m awful at predicting plots based on covers, so I think you did great! hahaha Love is a Revolution has a really pretty cover, too!! I hope school has been going well, and of course, take as much time you need!! 💞💞

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  7. This is so fun, and I’m impressed with your guesses for some of these! 😀 I’d heard about Winter’s Orbit recently and definitely thought it had some star wars/stormpilot vibes 👀 ALSO Malice wasn’t on my radar before this but HELLO sapphic sleeping beauty retelling?? Yessss.

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  8. i think love & other natural disasters might be the first book i see playing a twist in the fake dating trope. typically, i’d see a couple starting to fake date believing they won’t catch feelings for each other but then ultimately doing so, rather than someone starting a fake relationship with the intentions of turning it into something real. that’s probably why i am so excited for this book (also the fact there’s so much rep just from the cover alone makes me very hopeful!)

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  9. This is such a fun idea! I totally judge books by their covers (after all, that’s why cover design is a thing) and I loved reading your guesses! Now I’m intrigued by Love & Other Natural Disasters because I am a sucker for anything with fake dating.

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  10. Always amazed at how you effortlessly write posts I never thought were possible to do in blog form. A QUEEN YOU ARE CAITLIN!! Loved loved loved this post and your guesses were so great ahaha. Also, I didn’t even know For The Wold existed but it sounds so great. Lots of love to you and hope school gets easier for you xoxoxo

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  11. HI CAITLIN this is such a good post and WHOA YOU DID SO WELL AT GUESSING THAT FIRST BOOK. WOW. also it always surprises me when authors like Hannah Whitten are writing new books cuz i’m like ?!?! what ?!?! you’re not a one-hit wonder??

    ALSO OMG i literally thought love & other natural disasters was definitely an anthology!! i was so shocked when i read your little section where you mentioned that LMAO

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