PW has the exclusive first look at the cover of Ally Condie's forthcoming standalone YA novel, Atlantia (Dutton Children's Books). The author, who made a name for herself with her bestselling Matched trilogy, delves into an underwater world in the new novel, as she tells the story of Rio, who has long yearned to leave her aquatic existence behind for the surface.
Condie, a former high school English teacher, was put on the map with Matched, which was launched in 2010. Dutton also published that trilogy. (The books follow a scenario in which the government arranges marriages.) According to Penguin Young Readers, the Matched books have sold, across formats and titles, more than 3.8 million copies to date; they have also been translated into more than 30 languages. A movie adaptation is in development at Disney.
The cover, designed by assistant art director Theresa Evangelista, was inspired by an image of a lone shell against an imposing black background. Evangelista called the image "both beautiful and intriguing." The final cover image is, for Evangelista, something that "mirrors photos you see of planet Earth in space," which is fitting, she said, because Condie created a "new world."
In Atlantia, the heroine, Rio, is thrown into a precarious and upsetting situation after her twin sister, Bay, opts to leave their underwater world for "Above" first. Since only one family member can leave for the surface, Rio is then, as PYRG executive director of publicity Shanta Newlin explained, "left with increasingly dangerous questions about the complex political and religious system constructed to govern the fragile divide between land and sea."
Dutton Children's publisher Julie Strauss-Gabel said Atlantia features "an underwater world as complex and surprising as the one Cassia must unravel in Matched, and a heroine who must, literally, gain strength and confidence to find her true voice." For Condie, the new book was all about her heroine.
The author said that she always wanted to create an underwater world – which is one reason she wrote Atlantia – but what kept her coming back to the story was Rio. "When I left the manuscript to take care of something else," she told PW, "I always felt that she was calling me back.”
Dutton's announced first printing for Atlantia is 250,000 copies; the book will be published on November 4.