Cover Chat #4 – Between Shades of Gray

Welcome to Cover Chat- this is a new meme that has a slightly different take on the UK vs US cover comparison features many bloggers have. If you want to find out more about why Cover Chat is different, or how to participate, read the “official” Cover Chat Page.

Today, myself and Andrew from The Emancipation of the Pewter Wolf will talk about the UK YA, UK Adult and Polish covers of Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys. The US and UK YA cover are the same, so I decided to use the Polish cover and the UK adult cover just because there are so many covers for this wonderful novel. Andrew will be hosting the other half of this post, where we discuss the two covers for The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

Between Shades of Gray UK YA, UK Adult and Polish Covers Rhys: All three of these covers have a very different tone to them, and they’re all good covers. But having read Between Shades of Gray and loving it, I certainly have a favourite- and there are reasons as to why.

I love the Polish cover- the stark beauty of the tree, and the cut-and-paste feel to it really works well. This is a fine cover- and I really do like it- it has a depth and a beauty to it. But it is not my favourite- it’s my second choice.

The UK Adult cover is also good- though less so than the Polish one. It is an accurate representation of the book; and in a sense, this works against it; it’s all too bleak and sorrowful. I can see why it’s the adult cover though.

My favourite is, then, the US and UK YA cover. Why? Because it conveys the hope of a thousand lives within it; a single seedling emerging from the barren and chilling wasteland. It is in some cases a contrast to the harrowing novel- and it emphasises that there is still hope. Always hope- which is what is so importan whilst reading Between Shades of Gray. I could not read Between Shades of Gray had I not known that there was hope- and this cover emphasises the hope that runs through the entire novel like a small creek in a forrest.

Andrew: How interesting to see these three covers for one novel. The UK adult cover does nothing for me. It seems too similar to other crossover covers for my tastes.

Whereas the other two covers – the UK/US cover and the Polish cover seems interesting. With the Polish cover, it seems very patchwork. Very home-made. And there’s something about this which fits the outline of the story. Plus, it shows the darkness of the story. Whereas the UK/US cover is more interesting. It uses very little colour expect a striking green which you can say is a sign of hope within the darkness of the story.

Out of the two, I think I prefer the UK/US cover. There’s something more hopeful and more eye-catching to this so, that’s my choice.

I’d like to thank Andrew for wanting to do Cover Chat again! These are great fun to do, especially with Andrew because we always choose very different novels and covers! If you want to get involved in Cover Chat, or have any questions about Cover Chat, email me at

How about you guys? What do you think of the three covers?

About Rhys

Rhys is a 19 year old with roots in the UK and Germany. Aside from reading and blogging, he also produces theatre, loves Kate Bush and hopes to pursue a career in publishing. His reviews have been widely quoted in books such as Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet, Catherine Bruton’s Pop!, James Treadwell’s Advent and Anarchy and he has presented at such events as Book Expo America.

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