12 Gowns On YA Covers, Ranked By How Much I Want Them In My Closet
It’s cliché, but I don’t care: I love YA books with gowns on the cover. I don't want to judge a book by its cover, because there are many great YA reads out there, but the ones with gowns on the cover are just so pretty. I love the way they look on my bookshelf, and usually the stories within the pages are some of my favorites. An independent and stubborn heroine? A brooding and mysterious love interest? Oh, and it’s set in another time period, has a touch of magic, and at one point or another, the characters attend a ball? Sign me up. Immediately.
I basically have an entire section of my bookshelf dedicated to young adult fiction featuring women wearing beautiful gowns on the cover. When shopping for prom dresses back in high school, I could have just pulled out all those books and pointed to the one I wanted. I’m all for imagination, and letting the author describe the story to you, but there’s just something compelling about the image of a beautiful gown. Think about how you feel when you’re all dressed up in the ~perfect~ outfit of your choosing. The color is your favorite, the fabric is the perfect texture, and because you chose your look, feel amazing on the inside. You feel like a total heroine! So maybe it’s cliché, but if I could, I would snap my fingers and make all these gowns real. And then I would try to find room in my closet for every single one.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Females have a lifespan of 20 years, males have a lifespan of 25, and young girls are sold as polygamous brides in this dystopian tale. The protagonist, Rhine, wants nothing more than to escape. The premise is bleak, and though the dress on the cover seems high fashion, I'm rooting for Rhine to don something less confining so she can make her escape. This outfit is — very purposefully — reminiscent of a bird in a cage.
Princess Of The Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
A retelling of the classic fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this read features an amazing gown on the cover. While I love the bodice, I can imagine this style is a bit confining, and as an admittedly clumsy person, I'd be looking for something a little more forgiving if I were one of the twelve dancing princesses. Still, the embroidery is gorgeous.
Betrayal by Mayandree Michel
In Betrayal, protagonist Cordelia discovers she's a descendant of the Greek Gods. Obviously, she has to have a dress worthy a goddess. And she does... though I feel the corset bodice would seriously limit mobility. Maybe descendants of Greek Gods have a gift for movement despite the odds, but mortal me would probably faint within minutes of being laced into this beautiful and torturous contraption.
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Gwyneth always thought her cousin Charlotte would be the one gifted with the family talent for time travel — and then Gwyneth unexpectedly is the one to inherit the trait. The ruby red gown on the cover is stunning, but that wide skirt might be a little inconvenient when trying to time travel. Or walk through narrow doorways.
Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty
In Noll's world, a man falls in love with only one woman, and will follow her command without question — but if she rejects him, he will stay masked forever, and she will be alone forever. Noll wants to break this magic. I want to find where to buy her beautiful purple dress. Anne Shirley would be proud of those puff sleeves.
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
This book is Gossip Girl meets 1899 Manhattan, so obviously the dress has to be stunning. And the pink silk number on the cover is beautiful — though why the random bunching in the fabric? My theory is that this dress is so big, because it's full of secrets.
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games in this series following America Singer, a girl caught up in the competition for Prince Maxon's heart. A potential princess naturally needs a top-notch wardrobe to match her ambition. The beautiful turquoise-blue gown on the cover is different and fun, but also reminds me of those cakes with the Barbie stuck in them and the skirt made of wavy frosting. I did always want one of those when I was younger, admittedly, so maybe it's a good thing?
Grave Mercy By Robin LaFevers
Ismae trains at St. Mortain, but it's no ordinary convent. There, she learns the art of being an assassin. I love this book, and I love this dress. But if I were Ismae, I would don some practical dark-colored pants. Still, I wouldn't mind wearing this gorgeous outfit while re-reading LaFevers' series.
Entwined By Heather Dixon
Azalea and her eleven sisters slip through an enchanted passageway and dance in the Keeper's forest — it's a remedy to her trapped feeling. But she may be slipping from one confinement into another. Her dress, on the other hand, doesn't look confining at all. In fact, its billowing skirt looks like a perfect fairy tale.
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Amelia van den Broek has mysterious visions of the future in this haunting novel, set in 1889 Baltimore. Her flowing and dark dress perfectly matches the mood of this book, and I would steal this deep chestnut gown for my closet in a heartbeat. Also, as the model on the cover proves, you can run in this dress. That's always a plus.
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
In the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, Mortmain is trying to use the Infernal Devices to get rid of the Shadowhunters — and Tessa Gray realizes she's about to stand up to his army. Plus, she's going to look great doing it. I am obsessed with this pink, floral, off-the-shoulder gown. I would wear this just to go get groceries, because it would make me feel like a powerful and pretty heroine.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
Lilac and Tarver are thrust into an unexpected adventure when they have to evacuate a luxury spaceliner in an escape pod and end up on an alien planet. Such a compelling plot, and SUCH a compelling DRESS. The color! The billowing skirt! I would float around the atmosphere all day wearing this. And the plus side to floating around? No need to worry about tripping on your hem.