If this happens to be the first time you are hearing about the Indigo Teen Staff Pick of the Month for the first time, you may be curious as to just what it is – as you should be! In short, Indigo Staff Picks of the Month is an initiative run by Chapters/Indigo Books & Music Inc., with the goal of featuring new and exciting book releases for various demographics and/or genres. The Indigo Teen Staff Pick of the Month focuses specifically on the Teen/Young Adult demographic, with books from various genres, including Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Contemporary.
Each month, 100 staff members read a number of teen and YA books, and then vote for their pick of the month! Each monthly pick is announced by Chapters/Indigo at the beginning of each month, and each of the picks are kept secret until then!
If you’re shopping in store, you can easily identify current, and past, Indigo Staff Picks of the Month by spotting the black, circular sticker on their cover (see below). If you’re shopping online, you can check out current and past Indigo Staff Picks of the Month here. If you happen to pick up your own copy of an Indigo Staff Picks of the Month book, please be sure to show it off on social media by using the hashtag #IndigoStaffPicks!
Below you will find a brief summary of each Indigo Teen Staff Pick of the Month through 2019, along with a link to the book itself on Indigo’s website! For those books which I have previously reviewed, I have also included a link to my review. For those of you simply looking for a quick overview, you’ll also find a brief rating (out of 5 stars) directly below the book title and month.
DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of each of the below listed Indigo Teen Staff Picks of the Month from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.
January 2019 – A Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
You can find my review for A Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe here.
Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A Black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs. Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making. But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.
February 2019 – Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
(DNF – No Rating)
Catherynne M. Valente meets Maggie Stiefvater in this spellbinding and darkly romantic twist on East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Echo’s carefully structured world falls apart after her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf-the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an offer: for her to come and live with him for a year. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes, including a history she can’t remember. In his enchanted house, Echo discovers centuries-old secrets, a magical library filled with books-turned-mirrors, and a man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before it’s too late-otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.
March 2019 – Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
You can find my review for Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte here.
Four dead queens. Three days to catch a killer. Two forbidden romances.
One shocking twist you won’t see coming. Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead. With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens. An enthralling fast-paced mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.
April 2019 – Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
You can find my review for Descendant of the Crane by Joan He here.
Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago. Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high? In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.
May 2019 – How to Make Friends with the Dark
by Kathleen Glasgow
Here is what happens when your mother dies. It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart. That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone. Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.
June 2019 – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, and Elisabeth is implicated in the crime. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them. As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
July 2019 – The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Nicholas Flamel is the greatest Alchemyst to ever live. The records show that he died in 1418, but what if he’s actually been making the elixir of life for centuries? The secrets to eternal life are hidden within the book he protects—the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed, and in the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. There is one hope. If the prophecy is true, Sophie and Josh Newman have the power to save everyone. Now they just have to learn to use it.
August 2019 – Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
You can find my review for Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim here.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job. Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise. And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
September 2019 – Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage. Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.
October 2019 – SLAY by Brittany Morris
(DNF – No Rating)
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.” But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.” Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
November 2019 – Scythe by Neal Shusterman
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
December 2019 – The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world. Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want. But what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.
(Photo Credits: Flavia the Bibliophile)