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Copycat Covers: YA Book Covers That Make You Look Twice

2013 April 30
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DoppelgangersOkay, I admit it. I’m getting older and having more trouble remembering things like the names of YA books I’ve read. I can sometimes remember them by their distinctive covers, but lately, that’s gotten harder because of the trend to make all the books look similar to one another. I don’t know if that’s deliberate by the publishers or just because there are so many YA books being published now (particularly paranormal books), and there are an finite number of covers artists can come up with. I know that the topic of covers is one that we never get tired of writing about, judging by the number of recent posts on the topic.

I could go on and on about how the covers of these books, mainly paranormals, objectify the female body, or parts of the female body, and portray the female characters in a passive role without giving the reader any hint about what the female character is actually doing in the books, but I’m going to leave that for a future post.

RedDresses

If you don’t want to wait for that future post, check out the excellent blog post “Cover Trends & The Female Body” at Stacked for an in-depth look at this topic.

RobinWasserman

Given these covers, is it any wonder they all blend together in my mind?

Paranormalgirlsindresses

LegsKelleyArmstrong

InversoLCLavadoGlimmerglassJennaBlackRevisBethAcrosstheUniverse

 

 

 

 

 

 

My goal in this post is just to point out some of the covers that are very similar or virtually the same. Why? I can only guess that in some cases one book is popular and publishers are hoping that by using a similar cover, it will encourage people to pick up the other books too.

CodyNameVerityEmberMadisonDanielCrossingMandyHager

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other books with similar covers have been published years apart so that might just be a case of publishers revisiting covers after a number of years, because they know most of us have very short-term memories.

FlirtingWithBoysHaileyAbbottSecretLifeof PrinceCharmingDebCaletti

 

 

 

 

 

 

BoyProof

Declaration

 

 

 

 

 

 

ReturntoParadiseSimoneElkekes

Luna

CertainSlantofLightEnvy

Or there are the covers that look similar because the same illustrator did both series.

IncarceronCatherineFisherHungerJackieMorseKessler

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also the similar-looking covers that do reveal something about the plot and the strength of the female characters.

ThroneofGlassSarahJMaasDarkTriumphRobinLaFevers

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realize that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I know it must be difficult to come up with unique covers given that thousands of YA books are published every year. But it would be really nice to see more one-of-a-kind covers (and I know they exist because they’ve been featured in other posts). Publishers, please continue to try to publish YA books with uniquely distinct covers, if only to help me remember what I’ve read!

– Sharon Rawlins, currently reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and listening to Croak by Gina Damico

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8 Responses
  1. Diane Colson permalink
    April 30, 2013

    Wow, what an impressive display! Deja vu all over again. Great job!

  2. April 30, 2013

    I have the hardest time booktalking Across the Universe to a diverse range of teens precisely because of the cover. It’s actually kind of beautiful but it definitely makes the book look like a romance — even though it’s much more of a sci-fi thriller. Try selling that pinkish cover to an 8th grade boy! Perhaps the publishers caught wise because they changed the whole look of the series: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/07/new-covers-across-the-universe/

    • May 1, 2013

      The original hardcover book jackets were actually reversible! The other side had this cool spaceship blueprint thing.

      http://www.bethrevis.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ATU_BlueprintFC.jpg

      When I found out, I bought a second copy for my library, flipped the cover, and then put it next to the more romance-looking one to see how they’d do compared to one another.

      • Sharon Rawlins permalink
        May 1, 2013

        @Gretchen. That’s so cool & I love it! I’m glad you mentioned it. The schematics side is so
        cool and really shows that it’s a SF book, not the romance it looks like with the other cover.

  3. Linda W permalink
    April 30, 2013

    Wow. Great roundup. I hadn’t realized some of these covers were so similar.

  4. Sharon Rawlins permalink
    April 30, 2013

    @Diane @ Linda. Thanks! It was fun to look for similar covers. I only had space to mention a few of the many I found.
    @Melissa. Thanks for the link to the new covers for Beth Revis’s books. I agree that they are so much more than just romances and do appeal to both sexes. I’ve noticed that the covers of YA paperbacks are often an improvement on their original hardcovers too.

  5. Elaine Fultz permalink
    May 1, 2013

    Hallelujah! I thought it was just me struggling to keep the covers straight. I rejoiced when I saw the cover of a new Harlequin Teen novel done in watercolor and nothing like any of the ones above. And then realized I rejoiced about a Harlequin Teen novel. Good for them. Thanks for a fantastic post.

    See cover here: http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html;jsessionid=CA670223A3D03F041D1145BC6C8D86C5?iid=28438

  6. May 2, 2013

    I am sort of tired of the beautiful white girl in a gown (prom/wedding?) YA cover thing. Especially when you read the book and the main character is a butt-kicking warrior or tomboy or whatever. It’s so tired. I really do wish there was more diversity.

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