Night School Characters: How do they look?

This thing happened recently, and I’m going to share it with you.

We put up the UK book trailer for Night School Fracture a few months ago, as you know.

Most people liked it. Readers from the UK and Spain, also France, said essentially “That’s exactly how I see the characters.”


Book trailer Carter (Played by Campbell)


There was a lot of enthusiasm, in particular, for the two new male actors.


Book trailer Sylvain (Played by Louis)


Now, obviously, when casting you make some compromises. Carter’s hair should be straight and dark, not wavy. And his skin should be fair. And Sylvain should have darker skin and hair. That is how they’re described in the original UK books.

But each actor perfectly captured the ESSENCE of the characters. Campbell, who played Carter, brooded for England. Louis, who played Sylvain, became a pampered prince, all cheekbones and attitude.

I was sure we’d really got it right when, on Twitter, some readers guessed which actor was playing Sylvain or Carter via a photo that showed them only FROM BEHIND. (I had so much respect for those readers, by the way. Amazing.)

We always portray Allie as having red hair, even though she hasn’t since Book 2 because it’s kind of her calling card.


Allie with her bright red hair – played by Jess in the trailer

I mean, we all remember and love the Allie from book one, with her dyed, metallic red hair and clear, grey eyes…

Or do we?

Don’t be too sure

After the trailer went up on YouTube readers from other nations chimed in. And they were less impressed.

“Horrible,” one wrote.

“Um, which is which?” asked another

“I really don’t like the actors. :-(” wrote a third.

These disconsolate comments went on for some time.

Then, finally, this appeared:  “They are completely different from those I had imagined. Sylvain is not even blonde.”

That one stopped me in my tracks.

Sylvain? BLONDE???

What publisher had done this to my half-Moroccan Sylvain? In the UK/US/French editions he has wavy dark hair and tawny skin and blue, blue eyes.

It’s a publishing thing

Here’s the deal. When books are translated, publishers can and do take liberties with character descriptions (and much, much more but we’ll focus on the descriptions for now).

Maybe, for example, in your country, blondes are considered more attractive than brunettes. There it’s possible someone at a local publishing house decided to make Sylvain blonde.

If red-heads are considered unattractive where you live, in your edition Allie may NEVER have dyed her hair.

Not all publishers do this. Many will loyally translate what an author has written. But others adapt the description to something that makes sense locally.

Tree of Life

You tell me

The thing is, I don’t really know if this is what happened. Night School is published in 22 languages and I can stumble through only three of those. I don’t even have copies of most of the international editions.

(Publishers are busy. They forget to send them. *Tragic face*)

Today, someone asked me on Twitter how I view the characters. But I want to turn that question around. I helped to cast the UK book trailers. So those give you a good idea of how I see Allie, Carter and Sylvain.

But the question I have is: How do YOU see them?

In your country, and in your mind, is Rachel half-Indian? Is Sylvain half-Moroccan? Is Carter brunette or blonde? What does Allie look like? What about Zoe or Jo?

Let’s talk about characters

Fill me in. Write a comment telling me how you see them.

You can also post photos on my Facebook page – or links to photos – of actors who you think look like the Night School characters.

If you do that, later I can do another post putting those photos here on my blog. And then we can all have a big old discussion about how wrong we all are.  🙂


  1. Hi, I’m Carla, from Seville (Spain). I must say that I see Carter and Sylvain’s characters in the book trailer are really accurate to what I thought, specially Carter. But, at the same time, I have to say that for me Allie was completly different, I imagine her with darker hair, and looking a bit more mysterious. The character may be a bit “open” in some way. For me, Allie has that look that makes you wonder what she’s hiding.

  2. I’m from Finland but I’ve read an English version of the books, not sure if it’s UK or US version, but I think it’s UK. Anyway, I’ve always imagined Sylvain being blond! I think I have to go back to the first book to see how he is described. Carter is brunette with very dark hair and Allie has read hair but I always thought it to be kind of natural brown-red. I’ll try to find some Finnish versions of the books to see how they’ve been translated. Then I can tell you more!

  3. What?! Sylvain blonde?! No way! I can’t imagine Sylvain blonde, in my mind his hair are similar to Carter’s. Both of them have dark hair, but I can’t really say which one is darker. Sylvain’s skin is tanned, but not so dark. Carter is how you describe him: dark eyes, skin fair, dark hair and a little wavy. When I think about Allie, I imagine her with this beautiful metallic red hair, even if she’s not red since book 2. I like redhead too much. 🙂 Sometime, the Allie brown hair comes to my mind, and I think she’s not so bad. Jo has light-blue eyes, not so brilliant as Sylvain, and short pale blonde hair. She is really nice! I imagine Isabelle with blonde hair instead dark blonde, Rachel more like a Korean girl than Indian.. but the problem is Raj. I can’t figure out Raj’s face. I don’t know why, but I don’t think about him like Indians skin and eyes. I’m sorry! 🙂 In Italian version, the characters look exactly alike the English version. They didn’t change anything 🙂

  4. In Israel, Sylvan has a curly brown hair and blue eyes.
    Carter has a dark-as-night grey eyes and smooth black hair.
    Allie has a long, sleek, brown hair and big grey eyes.
    Israel as you know is a multicultural country, so there are many beauties here! And everyone has its own taste, but still blue-eyed blonde is considered way attractive here.
    P.S why do those weird lifeless people let themselevs involve with the story?!?!!? They need to translate it only! Not to change the book! I think they need to respect the author. that probably invested bunch of time to think about the looks of the characters. So ridiculous, stupid and unnecessary. If I could, I would stop this thing.

  5. Hi. I imagine Allie with dark brown hair or ginger 🙂 Carter has dark hair and brown eyes. As Penn Badgley so that the swarthy skin
    Sylvain looks like Chace Crawford or Matthew Lewis. xD But he must have a French accent as books. 🙂
    I wait for 3 part in Poland!

    PS I’m in “Carter Team” but Sylvain has this romantic accent *.* I ♥ France

    I wish you inspiration

  6. Hi! I’m marta from Ciudad Real, Spain. I thought that Sylvain was blonde, I don’t know why, and Carter dark hair, but now, in your next book I going to imagine them different. I wait for 3 part in Spain!!

  7. sup, well i imagine sylvain as a dark blonde, these adorabley mysterious eyes and this adorable smile. omg awwww. and ye i did read the english version. and i cant imagine sylvain as a brunette tbh. and my type in boys was not affecting my reply. and ye, totally my opinion xo

  8. I’m sori, but i pictured sylvain and carter to be the other way round. I think the actor u hav for sylvain should b carter and vise versa. That is just my opinion and feel free to disagree. 🙂 x

  9. Ps I’m from uk and I’m ‘carter team’, tho sylvain still sounds gd to me x

  10. I’m from the UK! I imagine Rachel to look like Ruby from the Great British Bake off, Carter to be a LOT more attractive than he is in that video and also very muscley, Sylvain is skinny and gawky but has a quiff in his hair and Allie’s hair is a natural Red colour, not a horrible artificial one.. But LOVE the books! And Team Carter ALWAYS.

  11. I imagine Sylvain to look a little like Nicholas Hoult but French. I imagine Carter to look very different than the one in the trailer. I imagine him to have paler skin, straight dark brown hair and the one in the trailer also looks quite grumpy! I imagine Allie to have slightly more reddy brown hair.

  12. I am loving this! It’s so fascinating to hear how you all view them. The characters belong to you, really. So they are who you make them. I just set the stage.

    Keep going! I want to hear more descriptions.


  13. Hi there! I’m from El Salvador, well; in first place, the actors, are perfect, seriously they interpret stupendously the character. 😀
    But *mistery face* in the book, Sylvain isn’t blonde, he has kinda black hair. Carter has black hair too, and the dark eyes. Alli is perfect. Everyone is perfect.

  14. I saw Sylvain blonde and in the whole book i pictured him looking just like Trevor Donovan!

  15. Bonjour,
    J’imaginais Carter avec un regard plus sombre mais il ressemble énormément à celui que je m’étais imaginé. Sylvain est comme je le voyais. à Allie je lui donnais des cheveux un peu moins ondulés et un peu plus sombres dans le rouge (un peu comme sur la couverture française). Quand à Zoé et à Jo, je vois Jo avec des cheveux blonds très clairs des yeux bleus chaleureux et Zoé est plutôt sportive avec des cheveux châtains et un visage un peu sévère pour son âge. Mais les acteurs que vous avez sélectionnés ressemble presque traits pour traits à ceux que je m’étais imaginés.
    Merci pour tous ce que vous faites et bonne continuations,

  16. Wow!! I thought Sylvain was blonde, but I really know that he had black hair. But, well, we is from French and he had blue eyes, and…he had black hair!!!! Carter actor´s isn’t like Carter but… I doesn’t like this actors 🙁 I like more imagine to myself characters 😀

  17. Hello! I am from Israel and I wanted to share how do the characters look in my mind & in the book in Hebrew.

    Allie is pale. She has brown hair, but she dyes it to red. So at a time, she has red hair until she starts to study in Cimmeria and then she had no way to dye her hair, so it turned back to brown. I imagined her eyes as green for some reason but I forgot her eyes are grey.

    Carter has a bit of a dark skin and his hair is black and wavy.. I think his eyes are brown? Some people tell me they are grey actually. I don’t know.

    Sylvain is also a bit tannedl. his eyes are deep blue and he is brunette 🙂 he has wavy hair

  18. hello I’m from Brussels, to be honest I imagine carter,sylvain and allie just perfect
    carter with this dark eyes that are more dark that the darkness a I can only Imagine carter with straight hear
    sylvain:blue eyes realy blue eyes and NOT BLOND! I will never Imagine sylvain with blond hair just brunette and straight hear and allie I’m not sure in witch book is it 2 of 3 but carter said to allie something about her Not red hair and of that moment I’ve never imagine allie with red hair.

  19. hi,
    I see Allie Sheridan like Jessica Sargent, I think she’s perfect for play the role, yes it is small and Allie in the book, but it does not matter.

    Sylvain may have seen moitier Moroccan / French but physically I think Colton Haynes and Louis (but ears are not pretty) to be perfect.

    Carter I do not know, but it could be played by beautiful boys …maybe freddie from skins.

    For Rachel, i see a beautiful indo/pakistanaise tall, slim, with brown eyes or green.

    Zoe a little girl, slim, excited, with blond/Brown hairs (a mixt).

    Cj you can play Isabelle or Lucinda!

    I think # FrenchNighters

  20. I see Allie like Bonnie Wright, Carter like George Shelley, and Sylvain like Josh Cuthbert,I see Lucinda like you C.J.

    I leave here the link of my cast:

  21. Hi!!! My name is Pauline and I am from Greece. I believe that the actors in the trailer are not the right and also Isabelle or Rachel have to play a role at the next trailer.
    I can see Allie like Maia Mitchell (without red hair),
    Carter has to be handsome (I can’t imagine anyone) but please change the actor who plays him, he isn’t handsome !!!

  22. Hi, I’m from Mallorca (Spain) and when my friends and I watched the trailer we couldn’t believe how different were the actors as the person we created in our minds. I always imagined Allie like a misterious girl, with browned red hair and dark green eyes. I also pictured the guys (Carter and Sylvain) like two hot, tall gentlemen. Sylvain is obviously NOT BLONDE, he has to have deep blue eyes -like those that it’s like you were looking in a swimming pool, with black, straight hair and pale skin. I always thinked about Carter as a brunette with black but beautiful and expressive eyes. I always have to sy about the actors that you posted lately as this post. I think that they look older than they have to be. I mean, they are teenagers and most of those actors aren’t teens.

  23. Hi I’m Juanita, I’m from Colombia; I didn’t like to much the characters of the trailer. I imagine Jessica Sargent as Allie; Colton Haynes as Carter, and Gaspar Ulliel as Sylvain.

  24. OMG I actually might cry after reading all these comments.
    In my head I imagined sylvain having bright blue eyes, tawny skin and wavyish dark blonde hair.Like carters length in the trailer.
    Carter ( ah swoon , team carter 4ever ) is pictured in my nhead to have fairish skin but a weeny bit tanned, slick straight dark brownish black hair and deep brown eyes that make carterettes ( the team carter followers ) like me melt.
    Allie is to have Dark red hair that had a natural brown tange to it, fair skin and grey green eyes. mysterious right.
    Although I must admit the uk characters portrayed the emotions perfectly. Carter looks so worried. Swoon.
    Now that I think about it wouldn’t it be so cool to have team names for carter and sylvain.
    so I was thinking for carter – The carterettes
    and for sylvain – THE SYLVAINATORS
    anyone else got any ideas. xxxxxxxxx

  25. Hello, I´m Ashling from Spain , well I am also half Irish jajajaj.
    -I imagine Carter whith long brown hair, and big brown eyes.
    – Shilvin with blond short hair, big blue eyes and thinner than Carter.
    – Allie, I love her, I think every body does; well I imagine her whit red hair but much more darker than the actress of the video.
    – Rachell, I don´t imagine her half Indian, The truth is that I see her whit cury blond hair jajajajaj.


  26. Hello , Mrs Daugherty !!! I come from Greece and I really love your books ! I have already read the first and the second book ! I can’t wait for the rest of them ! They are perfect !!! In my opinion Maia Mitchel is amazing for Allie , Martin Barla for Sylvain and Jeremy Irvine or Colton Haynes for Carter…. Also I believe that Bonnie Wright would be a great , great , great Katie !!!

  27. Hi, Im from Santiago (Chile), the characters are perfect, at least that’s imagined, especially Sylvain, I imagined it as such. Sylvain I love you!
    Ps: good job C.J, ily <3

  28. Dzień dobry
    Jestem z Polski chciałabym napisać kto według mnie mógłby zagrać główne role a mianowicie: Alli-Bonnie Wright,Carter -Adam Brody, Sylvain – Colton Haynes, Jo- Candice Accola, Rachel- Phoebe Tonkin.

  29. Hello! im from Kuwait and i must say i was quite disapointed because well i thought Carter was fine but i expected Allie to have longer hair and expected her to look like actress Elena Satine. I also expected Sylvain to be just a tiny bit more muscular than Campbell and expected him to have this posh looking hairstyle the type that has rich kid written all over it. Carter was infact the closet one he wasnt that different and Jo to me looks like the actress Megan Park as she completely reminds me of her. Overall, in the end everyones imagination differs no one really looks at something the same way i know Sylvain has dark wavy hair but i always pictured him with dark dirt blonde but as i said thats how i look at him so okay i hope this helped in a way 🙂

  30. Hey!!!
    I’m live in Germany but I’m originally from England. I’ve read the german version. In my head Sylvain looks very fit with dark black hair and deep blue eyes, tall around 1,82m, has muscles but not to much (body like Alex Pettyfer) and not even a bit Morrocan. I thought he looks like a charming half-French and half-british upperclass boy. Carter has blond/brown hair and dark eyes,is tall and somehow mature but still looks like a teenager. I imagine Ally as a short girl around 1,62m, gray eyes with dark red-brown hair (like Lily Collins in TMI). Rachel is for me half-asian and half-british. She has brown hairs, brown eyes and pale skin. I thought like one of her parents is from Japan,South-Korea or Vietnam and the other one is from Britain.
    But everyone has her or his own opinion how every character should look like. This how the characters look for me. It’s like watching a film in my own head and every single of them looks perfect for me.

  31. I agrée to you juliet i hâve thé german version topo i would ask you daughety if yo have found Rachel when not i would play héros be cause se hâve so much on common

  32. Hi from Greece!!! Here, Allie is described with long brown hair (before book 2)and normal shaped gray eyes. Silvain is tall and skinny with black hair and eyes like sapphires. Carter has dark wavy hair and normal brown eyes with rich eyebrows. Jo has light blue eyes and blond hair. Rachel has long dark hair and small brown eyes, like an Indian.

    Hope i helped!!!

  33. That’s fine with me! 🙂

  34. When I imagine all these characters (Allie,Sylvain and Carter) I see them completely different. I have to say that I feel disappointed when I look at the trailers but you find the best actors you can find 🙂 I hope that when I go to London soon this year I can meet you because I will be enchanted that you can see how related I feel with Allie, we both have like the same problems and the same attitude. I will love to meet you 🙂

  35. I see Carter tall, strong and just like the book says: brunette with straight hair and really handsome. Sylvain: tall strong, actually I see him with the same hair like Carter but with really blu eyes and a French look. Allie I see her like middle size, the red of her hear not to bright and actually… Me with red hair hehe

  36. Hi! I’m from Romania. I can’t say that I’m disappointed, but the actors from the trailer don’t look like I imagined them. I see Allie having brown hair and eyes (don’t know why but I cannot picture her with grey eyes). Carter is exactly like in the book and Sylvain looks good in the tailer, but I thought he is more muscular. In my opinion Lucinda looks a lot like Meryl Streep. And Rachel is more like a coreean girl.
    This is my opinion and I hope it helps.
    P.S. I volunteer for the Revolution!!! 🙂

  37. I think that the people in the book trailer truly reflect what the characters but I agree with c.j. Daugherty that carter is described with dark brown hair which is straight and that Sylvain has brown hair and Moroccan skin, I am addicted to reading these books

  38. I’m from Spain (forgive my poor English)
    I LOVE Sylvain. I have read this and I’m a bit confussed. Sylvain is half moroccan? I always thought that he was completely French. Maybe I misunderstood that, but I’m really confussed. Sylvain is half moroccan or not?

    • In my imagination Sylvain’s mother was half-Algerian or half-Moroccan. But I never put that in the final versions of the books, I don’t think. So it was just in my head. Most readers see Sylvain as blonde, although some see him as having dark hair. It’s up to YOU how he looks! 😀

  39. I preferred the pictures and views of sylvain,Allie and Carter ,I’m sorry but this is destroying my beautiful imagination lol,but carter is not that bad

  40. Hi,
    To start off with I’m totally team Sylvain :):) and I’m from the UK.
    After reading the books I imagined that Allie had long bright red hair, I know that it was her natural brown colour in book two before she dyed it again with Jo, but I cant imagine Allie with brown hair. 😛

    In my head I thought Sylvain would look a bit different from the actor in the book trailer, as I thought he would be the one to have dark hair. I think the actor looks to innocent to be Sylvain, because Sylvain is ment to be this tall handsome brooding French boy that tries to sleep around a wee bit and almost rapes Allie in the first book, but looking at the actor the the book trailer i just think he looks to sweet.

    I thought carter would have blonde hair and fair skin so it was a surprise to see that in the trailer he had dark brown hair and tanned skin, but i still think he would make from a great carter even though its not how i imagined him at first :):)

    Just to say the books are awesome i love them and i love you from writing them 🙂

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