Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa
Whether you’re looking for a book to read as part of a reading challenge or you’re just curious, you can be sure that some of the best novels out there are books with colors in the title.
You might not know this, but colors have a deeper meaning and symbolism in literature.
When a writer decides to use a color in the title, it can often be in reference to a symbolic object or have some connection to the characters, or bring a particular theme to light.
That means when you’re looking for a book with a color in the title for your next read, you should consider what that color represents.
To help you out, here’s our favorite books with a colors in the title and what that color represents.
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Books With Colors In The Title
From childrens books to fantasy novels, to swoon-worthy romances and thrilling mysteries and sci-fis, you will find all genres of books with colors in the title on this list.
1. Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maude Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables is a classic tale written in the early 1900s that has been beloved for over a century. It is one of the best-selling children’s novels of all time and is a perfect cozy read to lift your spirits on gloomy days.
It is said that the color green represents rebirth, newness and growth in many countries, which may be why our protagonist Anne has a particular liking to this color.
Anne Shirley is a spirited red-headed orphan who was adopted by the Cuthbert siblings to help tend to their farm. Originally they’d intended to adopt a boy, but they fell in love when they met Anne.
In the story, Anne has a particular love of nature, and chooses to dye her hair green at one point.
Anne’s feisty and talkative character who has stolen the hearts of readers all over the world, including infamous author Mark Twain who described her as “The most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice.”
If you’re looking for a comforting read with a lovable character that feels like a hug from an old friend, Anne of Green Gables is a great option.
2. The Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
In Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard has used colors to distinguish between class. Red’s are considered poor and working class, whereas silvers are elegant, upper-class and elite.
The use of the color red symbolizes blood, which in the case of this book, is the premise behind class.
In this world divided by class and power, we follow Mare Barrow who is just a mere street thief doing anything she can to survive. Like all the other poor and powerless, she is a Red.
The people in power are the Silvers. Just before her 18th birthday, when she thinks she will be mandated to join the army, she learns she’ll be working in the Silver Palace instead.
When she begins working there, she discovers that she has a power of her own, stronger and deadlier than any other Silvers possessed. Risking her death, Mare works with a rebel group called The Red Guard to bring equality to the lands.
She is forced to make careful moves while she navigates her new powers, the rebellion, her newfound life as a noble, and her engagement.
Red Queen is an enthralling fantasy story that does a great job in keeping you hooked from when you begin reading. It’s the first series book and is the winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Debut Goodreads Author.
Related post: Books like Red Queen
3. The Green Mile – Stephen King
Stephen King is a master of horror and the man behind some of the most notorious horror books from the past thirty years. But his work on The Green Mile delving into magical realism is poignant and profound.
In this book, King has used the color green ironically, as it’s a color that symbolizes life, as well as execution and death, one of the prominent themes in the book.
The story is told from the perspective of Paul Edgecombe, a guard at Cold Mountain Penitentiary who watches over “The Green Mile,” a prison row made up entirely of death row inmates.
John Coffey is a gentle giant of an inmate wrongfully accused of a heinous crime. Paul discovers John’s healing powers during the book and develops a friendship.
The novel touches on several hot-button topics in the American justice system, such as the wrongful incarceration of people of color and the death penalty.
The Green Mile is a touching and thought-provoking read.
4. Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston
Set in a fictional reality where a female democratic president was elected in 2016 after Barack Obama, Red, White & Royal Blue follows Alexander and Harry’s tumultuous relationship.
The colors in this book have been used to represent the colors of the American and British flags, since our two protagonists in this story come from these two countries and join together in a political romance story.
Alex is the first son of the President of the United States, and Harry is a Prince of England. Both men are constantly in the media and on tabloids due to their status, and they’re both arch-rivals.
During a Royal Wedding, an unfortunate media misunderstanding frames the men as both getting into an altercation. Their parents force them to pretend to be friends and stage a relationship on Instagram to avoid a political scandal.
But when they spend time together and take the time to get to know one another, they can’t help but fall in love.
Red, White & Royal Blue is a trope-driven romance that will make you laugh and cry. You’re guaranteed to close the book with a smile when you finish reading it!
Read more: Books like Red, White and Royal Blue
5. The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
The House in the Cerulean Sea is a fantasy story has endearing characters and a heartwarming sense of found family.
If you’re not sure what the color “cerulean” is, it’s a shade of blue that sits somewhere between cyan and blue, almost ocean-like.
Like King, Klune has used cerulean ironically, as the story actually features a lack of color. Before coming to the island, Linus Baker, a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youths (DICOMY for short), Linus experiences a joyless city life.
When he is sent on an assignment to visit an orphanage with magical children deemed especially dangerous, he moves to the countryside where he is greeted with an awash of color.
Here, he’s thrown from his comfort zone and rigid schedule to determine if any of the six children could bring about the end of days.
While there, he meets the kind leader of the orphanage, Arthur Parnassus. Through his time with the children and Arthur, he begins to feel the constraints of his life and realizes he’d been hiding away a desire for something more.
This is a perfect book for anyone looking to get lost in a new world!
6. The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
To some The Priory of the Orange Tree is considered a feminist successor to the fantasy masterpiece The Lord of the Rings, and is an entrancing blend of political intrigue, romance, and riveting action.
The Priory of the Orange Tree follows the story of an ancient dragon called The Nameless One who threatens to return and burn the entire world.
There are three empires in this story, and they have been at odds with each other for years. Now, they are forced to find a way to work together to defeat the threat of the dragon.
Each of the three empires have a tree; orange tree, mulberry tree and hawthorne tree. Two of these trees have perished, but the orange tree remains.
The orange tree in this book symbolizes longevity and the balance between magic and nature.
This book is perfect for fantasy lovers who want a story with vibrant characters to sink their teeth into. Shannon developed a rich lore-driven world for readers to fall into seamlessly.
7. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange is probably one of the most well-known books with a color in the title, although many people only know about it from the movie over the book.
It is set in a dystopian England, and follows a juvenile delinquent who is undergoing rehabilitation for his bad behaviour.
It’s a satirical novel about how the political systems oppose anyone who does anything remotely bad, even how small. It has themes of the necessity of evil in humanity, as well as the contrast between societal order and freedom of expression.
This is an eerie satirical novel with an atmospheric style that will make you question our own societies views.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a “clockwork orange” was an old English saying that refers to a person who has no free will.
Burgess said that the use of orange in the title was in reference to:
“A human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange – meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State.”Anthony Burgess, Goodreads
8. Green Island – Shawna Yang Ryan
Green Island is a lyrically written piece of historical fiction starting in Taiwan in 1947 and spanning six decades following the Tsai family.
Ryan blends real historical travesties with the family’s narrative to explore their long-term effects on people.
Green Island was the home to the first prison in Taiwan after Japan declared martial law in the 1940s.
Many Americans don’t know the extent of things that happened there, so this book is extremely important for educating and remembering the lives lost during the time.
In the case of this book, the color green has been used as it’s the official name of the setting of this book. Green Island is a real place, located 33 km off the coast of Taiwan.
9. The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor LaValle
Set in Harlem in the 1920s during the jazz age in New York, Charles Thomas Tester (Black Tom) works hard, grifting and performing to help his aging father.
In this book, Black Tom is a black man who has hidden powers, and is known in mystic communities for being able to procure special items for clients.
Set in a period of time when prejudice was rife and black communities were starting to come forward and demonstrate strong cultural expression, this novel is both poignant and chilling.
The color in the title of this book refers to not only the main character’s skin tone, but the point in time when black communities were starting to rise up against prejudice.
Based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story The Horror at Red Hook, this story creates a new version of his cosmic horrors and reframes it in an urban fantasy setting.
This is a quick read for fans of the horror genre who love eldritch monsters like Cthulu!
10. Black Klansman – Ron Stallworth
Author Ron Stallworth was the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
He faced countless racial injustices leading up to the groundbreaking position.
In his book Black Klansman, he recounts how he infiltrated a burgeoning chapter of the notorious American hate group, the Ku Klux Klan.
It reads like a true crime novel, and Stallworth’s voice as an author is captivating and hilarious. The story is as unbelievable as it is real and will keep you turning the pages.
This is a true retelling of one of the strangest sting operations in American history, and it would be a crime not to read it!
11. Devil in a Blue Dress – Walter Mosely
Easy Rawlins was just laid off from his job. He’s a black war veteran living in Los Angeles in the 1940s looking for work.
Desperate to pay his mortgage, a friend from the jazz club he frequents connects him with DeWitt Albright. He offers Easy one hundred dollars to find a woman.
Daphne Monet is scandalous; wherever she goes, she leaves destruction in her wake. Can Easy find her? And why did DeWitt hire him in the first place?
Devin in a Blue Dress is the first installment of the Easy Rawlins detective novels. It follows a class hard-boiled detective format and will leave you eager to follow Easy on his next adventure!
It is believed the color blue was used to symbolize the attractiveness of Daphne Monet.
12. Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
Devil in the White City is a fascinating retelling of the murderers at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
The color white has been used in the title of this book to represent the contrast between good and evil – the devil, meaning bad, and white to represent goodness.
What was meant to be a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Colombus discovering America turned into a playground for one of the world’s most notorious serial killers: H. H. Holmes.
Following Holmes and Daniel Hudson Burnham in alternating chapters, the readers can piece together how these two seemingly separate stories come together seamlessly to lead to real-life disasters.
Larson spent years researching the events described in the book. The true story will pull you in and won’t let you put it down until you finish.
13. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg
Evelyn’s mean and cruel mother-in-law is in a retirement home. When she and her husband, Ed, visit her, she instead finds the company of a kind older woman named Mrs. Threagoode.
She shares stories of her life with Evelyn, and in turn, Evelyn changes. She’s a middle-aged woman whose children are all grown and gone. Her new friend’s words help her gain the confidence she never knew she had.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a book filled with southern charm and characters that read like they’re reaching through the pages themselves and telling their stories.
As well as being a staple dish at the cafe featured in the book, I believe that the use of “fried green tomatoes” are used to represent ageing, as green tomatoes are not yet ripe.
Ageing is one of the most prominent themes in this book, so it makes a lot of sense to me.
14. The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick
After returning home from a stint in a mental health facility, Pat realized his life was just a movie produced by God.
As the old saying goes, a silver lining is finding the good in a bad situation, which is a common theme in this book.
He’s figured out he’s supposed to get fit and find a way to get his wife Nikki back. Jennifer is a recent widow who agrees to help him. Together they navigate life, trying to find a way they can fit back into it.
The Silver Linings Playbook is a clever and touching book with bizarre but endearing characters you’ll want to know more about!
15. The King in Yellow – Robert W. Chambers
Predating all of the works of H. P. Lovecraft, The King in Yellow is a seminal piece of horror fiction that has been referenced for over a hundred years.
Following the story of a play rumored to drive anyone who reads it insane, Chambers ties the stories together into this anthology.
Although it is not clear what the use of yellow symbolizes, some believe that it refers to the Yellow Sign which first appears in this book. The Yellow Sign is a symbol that has been used several times in the book, including being a symbol of mind control or possession.
If you’re looking for a mysterious horror book or are a fan of the classic, this book is perfect for you!
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Final Words on Books With Colors in the Titles
So, there you go! Those are some of my favorite books with colors in the title and as you can see, there’s a lot of variety on this list.
Each author uses colors to represent something different; whether that’s the color of skin or the symbol of rebirth, there can be no doubt that colors add a lot of depth and meaning to any story.
I hope you enjoyed this list and it helped you understand more about the meaning of colors used in literature.