Though two spring YA novels, North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley (Little, Brown) and Evermore by Alyson Noël (St. Martin’s Griffin) certainly have their differences, they have a few things in common—including the same cover photo. In Headley’s novel, the heroine, Terra, has a large port wine stain on her right cheek, which she’s self-conscious about. Evermore, the first book in Noël’s Immortals series, is the story of a teenager with some self-consciousness of her own—she has the unsettling ability to sense people’s auras and learn their life history by touching them.
“With the Evermore cover, we wanted to evoke a complicated teen love story set in a supernatural world,” says designer Angela Goddard at St. Martin’s Press, who designed the cover with associate designer Jeanette Levy. “Ever, the main character, is physically beautiful but emotionally fragile due to recent tragic experiences, and the expression on the girl’s face in the photograph fit the mood perfectly.”
Little, Brown was already well on the way to having a final cover for North of Beautiful when it was discovered that it shared the same cover photo with Evermore. “Although there was a window of time to change the cover,” says Alvina Ling, senior editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, “by then we all had fallen in love with our cover design, which resonates so strongly with the story.”
Ling says that the possibility of changing the cover was discussed in-house “at length,” but because of positive feedback that the North of Beautiful cover—created by Little, Brown senior designer, Saho Fujii—had already been getting, they opted to keep it, adding a compass to further distinguish it. “We also felt that the design treatment of the two was different enough so the books would not be confused in the market,” Ling adds.
Goddard says St. Martin’s purchased the image from Veer, a stock photography agency, but notes that this particular image was being sold through multiple agencies. “In my experience,” she says, “it is not uncommon to call a photo agency and find out the image you were interested in is already in use by another publisher, or to see two books in the bookstore using the same image.”
That said, she’s not entirely displeased to find the image gracing the cover of another spring YA title. “I was surprised when I found out, but I think in the end both covers stand on their own and communicate very differently to prospective readers,” she says. “I think the use of this image on two different jackets this season speaks more to the quality of the image than anything else.”
And Ling believes there might even be a reciprocal benefit: “Since the books’ publication, I’ve noticed that Evermore has appeared on online sites under ‘customers who have bought this title have also bought’ on the North of Beautiful page,” she says. “So perhaps each book is actually helping promote the other!”