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BY NICO VREELAND

[Find previous installments of Judge a Book by Its Cover here. Suggest covers to use by emailing us here.]

Judge a Book by Its Cover is basically Balderdash for new or forthcoming books.  A number of our contributors have made up synopses for an interesting-looking new book based only on its cover and title. This week, the book in question is Light Boxes, by Shane Jones.

Can you guess which of the following paragraphs is the real premise of Light Boxes, just by looking at the cover?

Answer (and who wrote which fakery) coming later today in the comments.


1. Light Boxes follows the plight of a town battling to free itself from the brutal hold of the month of February, a meanie that has not allowed its wintry grip to lift for hundreds of days. When the despairing townspeople, led by valiant Thaddeus Lowe and his wife and daughter, suffer reprisals from February for trying to break the weather, a group of former balloonists don bird masks and, calling themselves the Solution, instigate a rebellion. Thaddeus’s daughter, Bianca, is kidnapped, along with other children, leading Thaddeus to plot ways to deceive February. Will they defeat February in time to save the town?

2. Shane Jones’s Light Boxes is a fictional memoir recalling the hilarious happenstance of its own creation. One snowy Monday, Jones and friends dressed as art-house movie penguins and stormed Penguin, Ltd., demanding that the powerhouse publish his book-in-progress (the plot of which was indeed progressing before the receptionist’s eyes). Penguin’s president, Morgan Freeman, who just happens to love art houses and penguins, gave the project a quick green light. Drama ensues when the 13-page manuscript was almost pulled for brevity. Thankfully, a 100-page color insert featuring the waddle in a variety of poses saved it in production. Light Boxes is well worth the $72 cover price.

3. For generations, the Grape family has lived by the Three Iron Laws: no women, no liquor, no knives. But then their youngest son, Gabe, is kidnapped by the notorious knife-wielding, booze-swilling, womanizing Parakeet Bandits. Gabe quickly learns that the outside world is much more fun than his forebears led him to believe, and he soon joins the gang. When his oldest brother sets out to bring him back to the fold, Gabe Grape must choose between his new life as a Parakeet and his devotion to his family.

4. In the tiny, remote town of Vinchizstrasse, the men all wear masks and the women all wear veils; in fact, it’s considered a sin to show your face to another human being. One spring, as the ice thaws to snow, the townsfolk begin acting weird—Henniger the butcher attacks Mrs. Leep and Jolimar the magician kills his assistant in front of a live audience, but neither has any memory of their actions. They quickly conclude that the people of neighboring town Tulingradstock (who have always been jealous of the Vinchaise) are forging masks and impersonating the Vinchaise men while committing horrible crimes. When Henniger and Jolimar confront them, the Tulingrash insist it’s a mind-disease that’s already crippled several other towns. Can the Tulingrash be trusted? The only way the Vinchaise can know for sure is to throw away their masks, but that might be more than they can take.

5. There are only five oiseau men left, and none of them have ever seen the sun. They’re condemned to spend their lives in Lincolntown, where it’s always cold and cloudy. At the bidding of invisible overseers, the oiseau perform mundane tasks like copying notes, folding papers, and whittling trinkets. Their ignorance about the outside world doesn’t protect them from an aching emptiness as they face the certainty of their extinction. However, just a few miles away in sunny Noirville, the Herschel family hides the only oiseau who’s ever escaped, and he’s been working tirelessly on a plan to free these mysterious men the only way he knows how…

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