Sunday, December 4, 2016

I Judge Books By Their Covers: "Sweetbitter"

 I'm Lindsay, I'm a bookaholic, and I absolutely judge books by their covers. 

A couple weeks ago I read and mostly enjoyed "Sweetbitter," a coming-of-age novel set at a high-class New York City restaurant. (Here's my review.) I was a bit surprised when I came across the rather different U.K. cover and thought it would be a good choice for a cover comparison.

U.S. hardcover // U.K. hardcover

In some ways the covers here aren't all that different: both feature a background in the same warm color family, both have thick black handwriting, and the artwork on each is broken dinnerware (which fits pretty well with the story, actually). But to me, the tones conveyed by the two covers are pretty disparate.

With that punchy pink complimented by gold and white, and the modern font, the U.K. cover gives off a much lighter, funner, sassier women's fiction feeling to me -- and it's the one I would gravitate toward more if the covers were next to each other on a shelf. It's just so much more pleasing to the eye (or, at least, to my eye).

While I prefer the U.K. cover aesthetically, the U.S. one seems more appropriate to the story, which wasn't really lighthearted at all. Plus wine is mentioned a gazillion times in the story (and a lot of drinking occurs, not always with positive results) so the mostly-empty broken wine glass is fitting. The U.S. cover says "intense literary fiction" to me a lot more than the U.K. cover.

So my winner for looks with no mind to the plot is the U.K. edition. Taking the story into account, the U.S. cover is a better fit.

Do tell: Which cover do you prefer? Have you read "Sweetbitter"?


  1. I like both versions, but I agree that the UK cover makes it looks much more light-hearted than it actually is, and is therefore rather misleading. So I'd pick the US cover.

  2. I haven't read this yet, but I really want to! I prefer the US cover- I'm not a fan of super prominent book reviews on the cover.


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