I thought it would be interesting to find out what first entices a reader, so I asked the Paper Hangover crew to share their preferences.
An interesting title will make me pick up a book, a pretty cover will propel to go on, but it's mostly the summary that ultimately decides whether I read/buy a book. I don't read the first few pages before purchasing/borrowing a book, so it's all summary. - Emy
For my sister, it's the cover and the cover ONLY. For me, Jacket Blurb, recommendation and first chapter. If I like the first chapter I will buy the book. For my daughter, the same as me but throw in a good cover. She doesn't buy ugly books. She said that, not me! - Adrienne
I definitely like a dark, mysterious cover, but I usually always know what books I want when I enter a store based on recommendations. Or sometimes I'll look for favorite authors. - Pam
For me it's always a combination of things. I'm not an 'absolute' kind of guy. It's almost like dating. Initially, you're attracted by the superficial stuff (interesting cover design, preferred genre) but then you open up a conversation (reading summary and/or first few paragraphs/pages) to help you decide how interested you are.Sometimes you can make an immediate judgment: I am or am not interested in pursuing this further. Other times you're not sure until you spend more quality time together (actually reading the whole damn book or just some of it). I have my turn ons and turn offs like everyone else. But I've also been surprised, both pleasantly and negatively. So, I try not to rely on absolutes. There are none. - Michael
Depends on the mood I'm in. I keep a list on Goodreads of books I've heard good buzz about, or had a friend recommend. A lot of times, I'll pick a book off that list and that's the only determining factor.
Other times I'm a little more adventurous. I like to go into the bookstore with a different kind of list. Say, I'm looking for a book by a debut author, published within the last 3 years, that I've never heard of before. (I change my qualifications each time) From there, I decide based on the jacket copy and cover. It's a lot of fun to do! Everyone should try it out. I've found some of my favorite authors that way. - Holly
Interesting responses! For me, it can be a number of things: a cover might intrigue me enough to read the summary. Or if I already know what the book is about, then the first page will affect whether or not I buy it. Front-cover blurbs by authors (well-known or otherwise) mean almost nothing to me. In fact, I rarely notice them. It all comes down to the actual book.
Case in point, I read two fabulous books this week:
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell. I saw the gorgeous cover and was instantly intrigued. Then I read the summary (and first page) and could not stop reading! The romance was fantastic. The characters, the settings, and the plot were all brilliantly executed. There were unexpected twists and turns that had me gasping, but the best thing about this book was the author's beautiful writing and her ability to weave paranormal elements into the story seamlessly. If you read YA historical fiction, you want to go grab your copy now!
It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I'll admit--I didn't love the cover--but the book's name was enough to get me to read the premise. The fact that NYT bestselling author Cassandra Clare blurbed it completely escaped my notice until about five seconds ago.
Every girl who has taken the test has died. Now it's Kate's turn.When I read the summary, I was in. And pleasantly surprised. The Goddess Test is one of those books you can't help but read in one sitting. I really enjoyed Kate's voice and could feel her desperation as she fought to keep her mother alive and her heart in check. All this while trying to stay alive herself. The author offers a different take on Greek mythology than what is out there, and if you enjoy a twist on the Hades/Persephone myth, grab your copy April 26, 2011 (Harlequin Teen).
It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.
If she fails...
So, how do you pick out your books? I especially love Michael's analogy: picking out books is a lot like dating, and everyone approaches it differently!
PS: Congrats on winning the Bumped/Half-Brother contest, Sophia! Send us your mailing address (paperhangover at gmail dot com).