Ever since I was a kid, I've been drawn to High Fantasy for just this reason: girls wielding swords mezmerize me. That scene in Return of the King when Eowyn slays the Witch King? I re-read it more times than any scene in any other book of my adolescence.
Nine times out of ten, if a cover features a girl holding a shiny object that comes to a point, I don't even need to know what the book's about. I'm going to buy it. And if there's one thing YA High Fantasy does well, it's covers - especially compared to its parent genre. Last year, John Scalzi and Jim C. Hines did a pose-off where they dressed and posed like the heroines depicted on SFF covers in order to expose the absurdity of them. (If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, go here, here, and here.) For the most part, YA High Fantasy doesn't have this problem. Their covers do not depict their heroines in overly-sexualized, completely impractical poses. For the most part, their covers look like this:
That's not to say that YA covers are perfect (far from it). But covers like these make me proud of my favourite genre and remind why I fell in love with it to begin with: it's the girls with the swords, kicking butt and taking names.