My biggest pet peeve when it comes to covers is when two of the characters are kissing. As a teen, your parents occasionally check out what you’re reading (especially for me) and I always cringe whenever they see the cover and it has two characters kissing. They immediately raise their eyebrows and ask, “What are you reading?” And then I have to explain that the book isn’t fully romance, or if it is, that it’s a great book. Kissing covers (as I call them) make the book less approachable for me because I don’t want people to always be asking me about the book and giving me the eyebrow raise every time I’m reading it in public.
A great example of a cover that perfectly portrayed the book without going to the kissing stage are the Sarah Dessen books! These have such fantastic covers and they are each very different than any other cover I’ve see. They show you a glimpse into the story without showing the romance that are always in Sarah Dessen novels. For example, when I saw the cover of Lock and Key, I immediately wanted to know what it was about. Why was there a key on the front? What importance did that little symbol have on the story? If the cover had been the main characters kissing, I probably wouldn’t have grabbed it, and read it. (I ended up loving this book!)