Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Study Session: The Matched Trilogy Covers

Study Session is where I share my notes on classic works of literature, young adult novels, and any other type of literature that captures my interest. I will feature summaries, analysis, and other musings on various works of literature. Each post is written fairly quickly, based on my private notes or spur-of-the-moment thoughts, so please forgive any factual or grammatical errors. 

I am a fan of book covers. When a novel is fortunate enough to have an excellent cover designer, it shows. After all, a good cover captures the story and subtly hints at what you will find inside. 

Ally Condie's Matched trilogy is one of those trilogies that features eye-catching covers that also happen to embody many themes, symbols, and ideas of the novel. 

In the cover for Matched, a young woman (I will refer to her as Cassia, the main character) is trapped in a bubble. The bubble represents the Society - it is thinly made, delicate, and even beautiful as it reflects rainbows in the light. Cassia is lightly pressing against the bubble's edges, noticing the limitations of her life but not entirely afraid of this confinement.Though Cassia is pressing against the edges of her limits, she has yet to take a strong stance. Instead, she is sitting and lightly touching her boundaries.

She wears a dress, giving her the appearance of innocence, youth, and decadence. The color green symbolizes one of three pills every member of the Society must keep with them at all times (the green tablet reduces anxiety, which further explains Cassia's mostly relaxed posture, despite the confinement). Yet, green may also represent jealousy (for the world outside?). All in all, this image evokes an overwhelming sense of curiosity and an eagerness to discover. 

In the cover for Crossed, Cassia is breaking through the Society’s perfect structure. The bubble no longer appears thin and harmless, but features jagged edges and sharp pieces flying around in the air. Her clothing is more active, revealing that the heroine has been through (and will continue to go through) quite a bit of growth and that she will face physical challenges.

Instead of wearing a beautiful dress, Cassia is prepared to take a stand and to fight in her active clothing.  But, she's also barefoot, exposed to the elements. Her body - though it is forcing through the bubble - has not entirely escaped. Though she is on her way to asserting herself, Cassia is still caught in the Society she seeks to escape. The blue coloring is a nod to the blue tablet (which I will not explain, to avoid spoilers). 

In the cover for Reached, Cassia has left the mindset the Society encourages and has broken entirely free. The broken, extremely thick, jagged edges of the bubble hint at the Society’s malevolent side, and a nod to its possible downfall / fracturing. Her red gown is more mature than her girlish green dress from the first cover, showing she has grown into a woman.

Cassia's back is to the viewer, and her overall stance is more assertive, strong, and curious to explore what lies outside. She is no longer being veiled by the Society bubble, and is free to make her own choices and decisions. The red hue connects with the red table (which, again, I will not discuss to avoid spoilers), but this color also makes one think of both war (red, the color of blood) and love (red is overwhelmingly associated with love, from Valentine's Day hearts to bright red roses). In all, this cover evokes freedom.


In the end, I love these covers because of the stories they tell. Even without reading the the novels, you can see the stories written in these images.

What are your thoughts on these covers? 


  1. I love these covers too and they are what lead me to read the book in the first place!

    1. Me too! They stand out and make you curious, which is exactly what a cover should do.

  2. I've seen these a million times but never thought about it this way. Interesting!

    1. Glad I could share a different perspective with you!

  3. I really enjoy these covers as well- the colors and symbolism are spot-on. Awesome analysis, Lea!

    1. Thank you! These covers are fantastic - the designer really paid attention to the story.