When it comes to the "literature" from the Young Adult section at the library, I think it's gotten to the point that you can indeed judge a book by its cover.
Just because something is a book, does not mean that it doesn't make you stupid. Sometimes books can be brain-rotting, even more so than a good old, wholesome cartoon, if I may be so bold.
Today I will show you a guide about how to judge a book by its cover; that way you can conveniently know what books to avoid and which you decide are tolerable.
WARNING!!!!!!!! DO NOT CONFUSE THESE FOR GOOD BOOKS THAT HAVE SOME OF THE SAME TRAITS.
Okay, carry on:
Charlie Jackson is a teenage boy who is off to save the world from an evil foe. He and his best friend: Conveniently-Loyal-Steve, the girl he secretly admires for some unknown reason even though she's a huge jerk: Girls-Have-To-Be-Perfect-And-Tough-Or-Else-It's-Sexist-Jane, set off as an "unlikely" trio on a cliche adventure peppered with mostly sarcasm based humor and a few pop-culture references to keep you entertained. The cover usually depicts a boy with brown hair and a forgettable face in the middle of the author's choice of turmoil. The series are usually named after the main character. Example: "Charlie Jackson and the Merchant of Fate."
(Also look for Action Jackson: types of Charlie Jackson books that are packed with "exciting" action! Because everyone wants to read five pages of pointlessness every time the heroes come across their enemies).
Belle Blowing in the Wind:
Belle is a girl who's a little bit.... different. At least compared to the bizarre, overly-strict freaks that surround her who are supposed to represent "everyone else," apparently. These books usually rely on a kind of "shock value," that I believe, is supposed to be charming(?), in which the sole purpose is to admire the main character and the "weird" things that she does. "That Belle is certainly a funny one!" these books will have us chuckling like old ladies over tea. Unless of course, you are a narcissistic teenage girl who wants to imagine that the girl is like yourself (and consequently, that you too are more special than the "everyone else" in your life). These books can be a great ego booster-! or just make you want to gag and punch yourself in the face repeatedly. The covers usually portray a deceivingly interesting looking illustration of a girl (maybe even an appealing cartoon) that the story never quite lives up to.
The Amazing, Spectacular Tanya Brown:
Tanya Brown is a plain girl with a forgettable name who moves somewhere new and doesn't quite fit in at her new school because the author tells us she's "awkward." Like Belle, Tanya's rivals are unrealistic freaks, this time in the form of inexplicably obsessive bullies with whom the author flatters themself. Even though it makes no sense why anyone would care enough about the boring main character to torment her or otherwise give her attention, Tanya is constantly picked on, mainly by the queen bee: Popular-Girl. Popular-Girl is a person who wouldn't really exist in real life, but we pretend that she would so that stupid people can have someone to look down on too. Of course, this cliche book wouldn't be complete without the love-interest: No-Personality-Max (I wonder if they will end up together??? This twist will surely have you on the edge of your seat!) and the best friend (who is either an air-head who talks about "random" things like aliens, or if they're black, more of the wise, good-advice giving type). These books usually have titles that are supposed to be really FUNNY and SILLY! "Tanya Brown the Great," or "the Remarkably, Fantastic, Quirky, Life of Tanya Brown," etc. The covers usually show a picture of part of Tanya Brown's body (whether it be just her feet, part of her face or her whole body with just the head chopped off).
The Quiggleys are not your ordinary family. They're really silly! Well, not really, but the author keeps insisting that they are by giving everything cute, silly names. The family itself is actually quite boring. The story is usually about them doing ordinary things that the author pretends are funny (they like to eat pickles and jump on pogo-sticks! Nobody does that)! These books are usually old-fashioned, so keep an eye out for traditional illustrations on the cover. The characters might be drawn in a deceivingly witty looking style.
Classics disguised as modern novels:
These are pretty self-explanatory, I think.
This girl named Zelda (or some other name that shows the author was trying way too hard) is no ordinary girl, because she is not a robot like everyone else in the entire world (with the exception of her love-interest whom she inevitably ends up with before the story is over). While everyone else goes along with a diabolical system, Zelda is the only one who can see how awful it is. Finally, she decides to do something about it. Zelda and her boyfriend (excuse me, love-interest. There's usually some love-triangle/complication that prevents them from "being together" until it finally gets resolved at the end) set off to make the difference that only twerpy 16 year olds can make (with no help whatsoever from convenient adults doing all the work in the background. No, sir. None at all). The people in these books are usually divided up into categories SOMEHOW or another... Zelda is always special though. If there are categories, Zelda is the one who just so happens to break the mold. Nobody else though. Everyone else is a complete, total robot, and they usually die a lot. We don't care about them. The covers of these books vary from gloomy designs with no humans, to some symbol that's supposed to poetically portray breaking the mold somehow i.e a character breaking out of a cage or something.
There is only one Alice in Wonderland, but for those of you who want more and are absolutely desperate (or only pretend to like Alice in Wonderland to be cool and mysterious, but would never actually read something as hard as the original book) these cheap copies could be just the thing for you. Page after page of pointlessness, not quite as enjoyable as a cartoon would be, can be a refreshing way to spend your rainy day (not to mention, you get bragging-points: "I was reading this whimsical book IN THE RAIN... and drinking tea! I'm so goth and mysterious now!") The covers usually have some gothic illustration to lure poor suckers who think anything drawn Tim Burton style is interesting and cool.
the Kid who Solves Mysteries:
Usually written for younger kids (you know those less intelligent people who you have to dumb everything down for) the Kid who Solves Mysteries is about... well, a kid who solves mysteries. If they are a boy, they are usually plain and boring with no personality. If they are a girl, for some reason they usually have red hair or a catchy name, but in the end don't have a personality either. If it is about a group of kids, they usually have a corny name for their group (but still none of the kids will have real personalities). Perhaps the boringest thing about these series is that the setting is always school. If nails-on-a-chalkboard type activities like doing homework, cleaning your room, getting grounded or fighting with your "annoying younger sister" are your thing, these are the books for you. These events are presented in a way that kids "can relate to!" but in that distant way where it was clearly written by an adult who doesn't know what they're talking about (and gives you the slight feeling that they were sitting there chuckling the whole time they were writing it). These books usually have cartoon covers, cunningly used to lure in kids. This leads the innocent kids into thinking they are getting out something appealing, when in fact, what they're getting is simply a heartless piece of trash.
Rowan is a lowly farm boy, from a medieval kingdom. He's a skinny young whippersnapper: an under dog, of course. Then one day, a mysterious stranger: Mysterious Guy shows up and makes the boy his apprentice, teaching him about the mysteries of life and valuable lessons (usually by going on a life-changing journey). Mysterious Guy always dies before the book is over, and usually a girl shows up at some point (what would we do without love interests?). These books can be older or modern (it's a fairly old cliche). This can cause the covers to vary, but for the most part the covers seem to TRY to look old fashioned.
Disclaimer: I know books have different covers depending where you live. This is just what I notice for my part. I'll probably be adding more to this list later, so look for updates if you're bored. Tell me if you think of any other funny ones that I can add!