No piece of art more effectively captures what lies beneath it than the (often very literal) illustration on the cover of a vintage paperback novel for children or young adults. Whether it's Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, the Hardy Boys, or a nondescript teen romance from the '80s, a single glance at the soft-focus sketch on the cover can tell you everything you need to know about the mystery or kidnapping or teenage drama inside.
Of course, it might not be telling you quite what the original cover designer thought it would tell you. A brilliant new Twitter account, Paperback Paradise, has been posting vintage paperback covers with one small but important tweak: irreverent new titles based only on the cover art.
It turns out the smug faces and squeaky-clean style of the Sweet Valley youngsters make for particularly perverse hilarity, once the perspective has been, ahem, adjusted:
Even cozy Beverly Cleary seems indistinguishable from an author of chilling horror novels:
After perusing this Twitter feed, our childhoods have taken on a decidedly more dystopian cast. Some cold realities can never be unseen. But don't take our word for it -- if you're in a location where it's safe to shriek with laughter, check out the Twitter yourself. Here are some of our favorites: