Hey, You Know Who That Looks Like?

There are a few risks when a publisher goes with a face on a book cover. First, the risk that the cover model just doesn't fit a reader's vision for the book (or the author's). Then, there's the risk that the cover model also looks like someone else -- in some cases, a celebrity. Then again, being reminded of someone famous (and usually likable) isn't necessarily a problem. In certain cases, it even seems deliberate!

 I've had people tell me numerous times that the cover model on Like Mandarin looks like a young Kate Winslet, while the girl on Wanderlove looks like Kiera Knightley (or Shannyn Sossamon, as someone told me on Twitter today).

YA Highway's Kody Keplinger has been told bunches of times that the cover model on Shut Out resembles Liv Tyler.   

With our books, it's definitely an accident, or coincidence -- the models don't really look like the celebrities in general, just in these particular pictures. However, some cover models looks so much like celebrities, I can't imagine the publisher didn't know exactly what they were doing. For example:
I'm pretty sure the publisher of Richelle Mead's first Vampire Academy book knew this cover model looks just like Angelina Jolie.

And Christopher Pike's Thirst (a vampire book, of course) came out right when True Blood got huge -- tell me this model doesn't look just like Sookie Stackhouse/Anna Paquin?

I asked my YA Highway co-bloggers for more suggestions. 

Some of my co-bloggers think the cover models on Julia Karr's XVI and Melissa Marr's Radiant Shadows look like Selma Blair.

 The cover model on Kimberly Derting's The Pledge definitely resembles Maggie Grace from Lost (... or Aimee Teegarden from Friday Night Lights, I just realized)

Next, I asked my Twitter followers for more suggestions. I received tons! Here's a selection:

I agree that the model on Lauren DeStefano's Wither totally looks like Mandy Moore.

The model on Kiersten White's Paranormalcy looks a lot like Scarlett Johansson

My Twitter followers found Ashton Kutcher lookalikes on Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star and Stasia Ward Kehoe's Audition.

The model (what we see of her!) on Ally Carter's I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You looks like Alicia Silverstone -- or Cher from Clueless.

The girl on the front of Suzanne Lazear's Innocent Darkness really could be Ashley Benson (Hanna from Pretty Little Liars).

The guy on Kelly Creagh's Nevermore looks like a goth version of Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli from Heroes)

Do you guys agree with these YA cover celebrity lookalikes? 
Can you think of any more? Link in the comments!





43 comments:

  1. I've had the same thoughts about some of the ones you mentioned (especially Shut Out and Wither). Take a look at Shatter Me - the girl on the cover could be Kim Kardashian's body double.

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  2. Whoooooooa, that's so interesting! I never noticed before, but I will now... But I have to say, some of the photos even look supremely photoshopped around the areas where the features look like the celebrity's. THIRST's "Anna Paquin", for example... Could be my imagination, but her mouth looks tweaked.

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    1. could be. Anna Paquin has such a unique mouth, I thought it was startling they found a girl with a similar one -- unless it was 'shopped. she looks like Anna P on the other book, too:
      http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_foF3T2-z-ps/TPilhtXEPvI/AAAAAAAAORM/QKlq_sru_Xg/s400/thirst.jpg

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  3. Shatter Me's model could be Kim Kardasian.

    What do publishers do in the cases where the model for their last book is unavailable.

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    1. I was staring at that cover for about 15 minutes last night trying to place it. Kim is soooo right! :D

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  4. Every time I see the cover for THE WATER WARS (http://www.amazon.com/The-Water-Wars-Cameron-Stracher/dp/1402243693), I do a double-take and think I'm seeing Katee Sackhoff, or Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. It actually kind of works for me; I love Starbuck enough that that resemblance is what first made me notice the book.

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    1. Oh my word! You are so right about that one :D

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  5. Some of those I totally never noticed before! However, I did notice the Wanderlove- Keira Knightley thing when I was reading it. ;) I've heard a couple people say that they think the girl on the cover of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand looks kind of like Natalie Portman, and I do kind of see that one.

    Such a fun post!

    -Meredith

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    1. oh, I forgot about Unearthly! I've always thought Natalie Portman, too.

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  6. Oh how funny! I've noticed a few before (the Cher one, and the Moore one), but not the others. I'm going to look for more, now! (Also, because I'm a dork, I think the PIke book actually came out in the mid-90s, but was just re-released with the new Sookie cover to capitalize on the vampire trend. I remember reading his Last Vampire series, which I believe is the same series.)

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  7. This one is absolutely terrible, but have a look at Ophelia by Lisa Klein (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/293583.Ophelia. I dare you not to see Michael Cera (Juno, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) when you look at it. I have my sister to thank for ruining this cover for me :D

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    1. You're so right! That's crazy.

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    2. okay, LOL. it's a pretty cover & pretty girl, but once you see it, there's no unseeing it.

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    3. Yeah, no unseeing that one. Ever.

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  8. Oh I can't think of who they reminded me of when I first saw them but covers like the House of Night books, and Hush,Hush series, even the Vampire Diaries, The Fallen series, and Immortals (Alyson Noel).

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  9. I'd seen a few of these covers before, but I'd never noticed the resemblances until now, except for Ally Carter's cover looking like Cher. Wow. I've never seen Wanderlove but it totally looks like Kiera Knightly. I'm going to be on the look out now for celebrity look-alike covers. Very interesting post Kristen. Loved it!

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  10. Escept for Milo Ventimiglia, I agree. (Possibly because I'm a Milo-aholic since Gilmore Girls - lol.)

    I also wonder what conver faces do for movies. I mean I'm totally not a visual person, but for those who are, they get that image in their head and then they have to get it out.

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    1. I agree with you..Milo is a total hottie and that model just scares me lol..

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  11. I've never given much thought to this, but it's so true! The model on the cover of VAMPIRE ACADEMY looks just like Angelina.

    I like the idea of having a face on the cover, but like you said--it can mess with the reader's perception of what the character actually looks like.

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  12. Man ... every one of those girls are white. :(

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    1. you're right; & it's telling that a random sample of YA covers -- which is what this is, basically the celeb lookalikes Twitter suggested to me -- is all-white. there aren't enough non-white characters on covers, and more importantly, there aren't enough non-white characters in general.

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    2. This is one reason why the protagonist of my novel is male...and I'm still not sure what race he is.

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    3. If the girl in the book is white, I'm OK with that.

      But as Kirsten said, we need more books with more non-white characters so we can get the covers with non-white photos.

      That means I need to focus on writing.....

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  13. Melinda--ditto. I wonder how many YA covers feature non-white models on the covers. New post idea, YA Highway!! (btw, this is a startling and dismaying realization, considering I just read the post about racist reactions to Rue here: http://jezebel.com/5896408/racist-hunger-games-fans-dont-care-how-much-money-the-movie-made.)

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    1. very true, problematic and something we discuss a ton, though I'm not sure if we've blogged about it specifically -- I'll check with the girls.

      saw the jezebel piece yesterday and facebook ranted about it. disgusting. most of my thoughts include curse words.

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    2. our Kate Hart made up some interesting charts about it on her blog, and will be doing the same soon for 2011 covers (race-specific stuff is near the bottom)
      http://www.katehart.net/2011/07/uncovering-ya-covers-how-dark-are-they.html

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    3. You know what I like about YA folks? So many of them want to help make things better in the world. I've been listening to the damndest comments here at work about Treyvon Martin and I try to talk to folks, but I'm about to beat a hole in my proofreading desk with my head. So yes, let's do discuss this too. Thanks for being cool with my comment, I know it was a bit of a looper.

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  14. I didn't read the comments, so I don't know if anyone else said this... but Julia Karr's XVI model looks like Rachel Leigh Cook!

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  15. I think the guy on the cover of Nevermore looks like Orin from Parks and Recreation : http://parksandrecreation.wikia.com/wiki/Orin

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    1. LOL. LOVE Parks & Rec -- Orin's scenes are hilarious.

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  16. I always thought the girl on the cover of Wither looked like Lauren Conrad. Never would have gotten Mandy Moore if people hadn't mentioned it.

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  17. Those Ashton Kutcher ones are uncanny.

    I'm sure, like you say, that sometimes it's done on purpose...Our brains make so many connections we're often not even aware of, and marketing people take advantage of that more than any other group of professionals...maybe even more than therapists/psychologists do.

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  18. Actually I think the girl on the cover of the mythos academy series by Jennifer Estep looks a LOT like Scarlett Johansson but that the girl on the cover of Paranormalcy looks like Emma Roberts :-)

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  19. I think the girl on the cover of Thirst looks like January Jones.

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  20. I totally agree with all of these especially the first four examples. And I've always thought the guy on Nevermore looked like Milo. I love these kinds of posts!

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  21. Look at all those doppelgangers! I've thought the same thing for Wither, VP Acadamy, The Name of the Star, and I'd Tell You I love You But, Then I'd Have to Kill You. Every time I look at the Bloodlines and/or the The Golden Lily cover, all I see is Giuliana Rancic!!! I also wonder how much these are photoshoped to look like celebrities.

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  22. See, for The Pledge, I'm seeing Taylor Swift.

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  23. I see Taylor Swift on THE PLEDGE, too. I also see Avril Lavigne on the cover of Fever, and Ashlee Simpson on the cover of the paperback of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and Blake Lively on the cover of my book, ASCENDANT. I've often been asked if it's ME on the cover of my book RAMPANT.

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    1. okay, LOL -- I've had people say the same thing about me and the girl on Like Mandarin. (as has Kody Keplinger re: The Duff; we were just discussing this.) I don't think I look a thing like her, but I suppose it's a (strange) compliment...

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  24. This is brilliant, definitely agree with most of these. I often think that the girl on the cover of By Midnight by Mia James looks like Mila Kunis! However when I mentioned it to my OH he laughed at me... :(

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  25. Actually, Thirst (then titled "The Last Vampire")was originally published in 1993.

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  26. The male model from book Mad for you looks like Robert Pattinson..and if someone know the name of the model could you please, reply to this comment.

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