PageHabit Young Adult Fiction Quarterly Review – Winter 2018
PageHabit offers reading subscription boxes for book lovers of all ages and interests. Fans of book subscription boxes will recognize this subscription as Quarterly’s Literary Fiction box—Quarterly recently acquired Bookly Box and formed PageHabit to help them go deeper with their book subscription offerings. You’ll see that this box still looks a lot like the Quarterly box (and that it features some Quarterly logos, too). But a few months more into the transition and PageHabit’s branding should fully take over. As of this review, you can still subscribe to this box via Quarterly’s site AND PageHabit‘s site.
Each box is curated by a featured author and features a newly released book, plus other books and bookish gifts and goodies to inspire you. There are also annotations from the curator to help you engage with the reading experience in a whole new way.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About PageHabit Quarterly
The Subscription Box: PageHabit’s Young Adult Fiction Quarterly Box
The Cost: $49.00 per quarter + $5.00 shipping
The Products: 3 books, annotations, and several bookish gifts curated by a different author, delivered quarterly.
Ships to: the U.S.
PageHabit Quarterly Young Adult Fiction Winter 2018 Review
Each PageHabit purchase goes to supporting children’s literacy across the world, and for January, PageHabit is working with Sanitation and Literacy Ghana and Books for Africa to raise funds to ship books to Ghana. The card gave some interesting info on the region, while the opposite side of the card shows you every genre’s book chosen for January.
This box has been curated by authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, authors of “Unearthed,” which is included in this box! Each PageHabit box has an author’s letter inside, and this quarterly box’s letter is from both of them. I think co-writing a book is fascinating, and I really enjoyed the insights (and neatly typed style) of the letter from these two ladies.
Any book-related experience that begins with a quote from J.K. Rowling is a-okay with me! I’m a bookmark fiend, so this will join my collection.
I immediately loved that the items in this box all go with a similar theme! “Unearthed” is a science fiction YA book, so this palm-sized notebook perfectly coordinates with the theme of space. In this small journal, there’s info on the moon phases, star maps, and even a small, removable astrolabe, which is a tool used to determine the position of celestial bodies in the sky. I can’t wait to take it camping!
Mystery Matchbox Mini Puzzle – Value $4.05 USD (AU $5)
I put a pen in these pictures for size reference because this puzzle box is so teeny-tiny! While it wasn’t that hard to put together, the wood looks really nice and would be a handsome knick knack to play with while at my desk. I left it in the package in these pictures to keep it spoiler-free!
Composition Notebook Pouch – Retail Value $12.25
This nicely-sized pouch made me smile so much when I discovered it! I actually use composition books for my own writing all the time, so this was like being greeted by an old friend that serves a new purpose. This would be great for corralling markers or pens, using in a purse or bookbag to keep things organized, or in the drawer of a desk to put things close at hand. While this didn’t directly relate to a specific theme for this box, it certainly qualifies as a “bookish good” in my eyes!
Follow the Stars Keychain – Estimated Value $8.00 (value based on similar product)
I liked that this last piece was also related to the stars, even though I don’t necessarily have much use for keychains. This shape of the keychain is called “hotel keychain,” because keys were commonly found on keys when checking into the hotels. I’ve never seen the font on this before, and I really like the holographic finish of the letters.
This book was released on January 9th, 2018, and is 336 pages long. The story takes human civilization into the future and wonders what that future holds if most of Earth’s resources are no longer able to support life on the planet. As the scientists of the world struggle to solve the problems that changing climate brought to the world, water is a luxury, and the United States is slowly being overtaken by desert, forcing citizens to flee cities on the West Coast. The far-off planet of Gaia may hold answers to the questions Earth desperately needs to answer, and also has to the potential to be a treasure trove for scavengers, people desperate to find valuable tech and sell it to the highest bidder, in order to improve their lives. Scavenger Mia Radcliffe and academic Jules Thomas are on this planet for very different reasons and have a wealth of secrets stacked between them, but their very survival depends on the other as they race rival scavengers to uncover the secrets of the people who first settled on Gaia.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a box by two authors, but this book is surprisingly cohesive! It’s told in first-person, alternating between Mia’s and Jules’ perspectives. This book is told in present tense, which I’m usually not crazy about, but it lends an immediacy to the danger the two teens constantly find themselves in while trying to do what needs to be done on the hostile desert planet of Gaia.
The annotations from the authors are so awesome. There are a ton of little tidbits about how their inspirations, research resources, and travels all shaped the book! I unabashedly love YA, and it’s been a really long time since I’ve read really good science fiction. This book is advertised as Tomb Raider meets Indiana Jones – in space – and I can’t think of a better descriptor for it…or one that would’ve held my interest from the get-go any better! Please don’t tell my friends, but I’m probably going to cancel all my plans tonight, just so that I can finish this novel without interruption.
“Unearthed” summary from Megan Spooner’s website:
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution humanity has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and their message leads to the planet Gaia, a treasure trove waiting to be explored.
For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an ancient alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Despite their opposing reasons for smuggling themselves onto the alien planet’s surface, they’re both desperate to uncover the riches hidden in the Undying temples. Beset by rival scavenger gangs, Jules and Mia form a fragile alliance… but both are keeping secrets that make trust nearly impossible.
As they race to decode the ancient messages, Jules and Mia must navigate the traps and trials within the Undying temples and stay one step ahead of the scavvers on their heels. They came to Gaia certain that they had far more to fear from their fellow humans than the ancient beings whose mysteries they’re trying to unravel. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more Jules and Mia start to feel like their presence in the temple is part of a grand design–one that could spell the end of the human race…
I actually picked up the second book in this series at a writing convention and haven’t gotten to it yet, so I was thrilled to see this tome, the first book of the series! This book is 359 pages and was released on February 2nd, 2016. This story also alternates from the perspective of two main characters, Solara Brooks and Doran Spaulding, although it is written in third-person, and is also some super-solid science fiction.
It begins with Solara’s path to finally finding a life for herself on the Outer Rim, but her criminal past is a major roadblock to getting what she wants. Solara is immediately likable, even though she makes several very bad decisions early on, and a perfect foil for Doran’s entitled spoiled character. I have to say, though, even the “rich kid” in this story has more humanity than you would expect at first glance. Lander’s writing is easy to read, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the twists and turns thus far.
Plot summary from Melissa Lander’s website:
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.
When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world–and each other–the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…
This book was released on May 24th, 2016, and clocks in at 385 pages. The third book in this box also uses the technique of rotating character perspectives – the chapters frequently are from Cora’s perspective, but there are others from Nok, Leon, Rolfe, Leon, and Lucky, too.
This story was immersive from the get-go, really plunging the reader into Cora’s disorienting predicament, at first offering more questions than answers. Cora longs to be with her family, and all she wants is to move on from a dark past that’s slowly revealed over time, but her situation, the one she shares with the other teens, turns out to be much more unbelievable than anyone could have ever imagined. This story is more emotional than the others because all of the characters have secrets and pain that they want to conceal from the others – the author does a good job of showing how someone can be shaped by their background. I’m looking forward to the resolution of this story and seeing how the characters end up.
Plot summary from Megan Shepherd’s website:
When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.
Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.
As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?
Verdict: A very successful box! I certainly cannot say I haven’t read any solid science fiction anymore, not after having the chance to enjoy these books. While I found “Unearthed” to be the most gripping of the three, I definitely liked the other two and I had a lot of fun immersing myself in other worlds. And the goodies included in this box were a delight! I liked that a few of them followed the outer space feel of this box, like the keychain and stargazing journal, and the others were either intriguing, like the puzzle, or a new twist on an office supply staple (like the composition book pouch),
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, as of publication, this box was still available!
Value Breakdown: This box cost $54, but I estimate that I received $77.22 in value. That means I spent approximately the following on each item:
- Stargazing Notebook – $4.86
- Mystery Matchstick Puzzle – $2.83
- Composition Book Pouch – $8.57
- Keychain – $5.59
- “Unearthed” – $12.58
- “Starflight” – $12.58
- “The Cage” – $6.99
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