and the Story Begins is a book subscription box that delivers you two carefully selected books each month. Choose between Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction, or up the surprise level with a Mystery Box.
This box is all about books, unlike other boxes that come with gifts or small surprises, too. Take a look at the care they put into packing the books—unwrapping them felt like opening a mysterious, fantastical parcel.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
This review is of the Young Adult Fiction, $9.99 a month, box.
The Subscription Box: and the Story Begins
The Cost: $9.99/monthly box, or choose a 3 Month subscription for $28.99 ($9.66/box) or a 6 Month subscription for $55.99 ($9.33/box). Shipping costs vary.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 25% off your subscription!
The Products: Two carefully selected books based on the genres you select.
Ships to: Everywhere, but shipping costs vary.
Check out our Book Subscription Box Directory and make sure to add and the Story Begins to your subscription list or wishlist!
House of the Star by Caitlin Brennan - Value $8.00, used (retail price: $17.99)
I would've gone crazy for this young adult novel when I was in middle school. It's a fantastical story filled with magic, kingdoms, faeries, and most importantly, horses. The story focuses on a bold female heroine overcoming supernatural obstacles thanks to the companionship of her mystical horse. The tone skews young—this isn't one of those surprisingly sophisticated YA novels that feel more appropriate for 25-year-olds. But for a younger reader with a passion for ponies, this hardcover is the perfect pick.
Book Summary from Amazon:
Elen is a princess of the kingdom of Ymbria. Her greatest wish is to become a rider of worldrunners: the magical horses that are the only safe way to travel the roads through the worlds of Faerie. Now Elen has the chance to fulfill her dream at last, but the price is much too high.
To become a worldrider, Elen must journey to the House of the Star on Earth, the Arizona ranch where the worldrunners live and breed. There, she must try to forge a peace with her people’s worst enemy—a traitor from the world of Caledon—and end the war that has been tearing their worlds apart for centuries. If Elen doesn’t succeed, the Master of the House of the Star will close both Ymbria and Caledon off from the worldroads forever. Can the wisdom of a worldrunner named Blanca help Elen in her quest to save her world?
Caitlin Brennan’s first novel for young readers is an enchanting tale of a very special breed of horses, the tribe of horse girls, and faerie magic.
The summary also appears on the inside of the book jacket.
And here's the back, which features a passage from the text.
The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell - Value $12.57 (retail price: $17.99)
I can't tell you how gripping, heart-wrenching, and lovely this book is. The story is told in first-person by Sora, a teen suffering from ALS, a disease that slowly makes him a prisoner in his own body. Removed from school, he turns to online chatrooms for companionship, and it's there a real-life, in-person friendship is kindled between he and two other teens. Sora's accounts of his illness, his frustration with his symptoms, his monumental fears and his very teenage way of diminishing them to nothing in front of his friends... this book is so authentic in its representation of disease, modern-day youth, and modern-day friendship. I strongly recommend it not only for a YA audience, but for anyone at any age. Keep some tissues handy, though. This is a very emotional, astonishingly beautiful book to the very end.
Book Summary from Amazon:
A teen grapples with ALS and his decision to die in this devastatingly beautiful debut novel infused with the haunting grace of samurai death poetry and the noble importance of friendship.
Abe Sora is going to die, and he’s only seventeen years old. Diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), he’s already lost the use of his legs, which means he can no longer attend school. Seeking a sense of normality, Sora visits teen chat rooms online and finally finds what he’s been longing for: friendship without pity.
As much as he loves his new friends, he can’t ignore what’s ahead. He’s beginning to lose the function of his hands, and soon he’ll become even more of a burden to his mother. Inspired by the death poems of the legendary Japanese warriors known as samurai, Sora makes the decision to leave life on his own terms. And he needs his friends to help him.
Here's another summary on the inside of the book jacket.
Here's the back of the book. Isn't the cover art gorgeous?
Verdict: and the Story Begins is a simple box that's full of surprises! While the first book in the box felt a little juvenile, the second was powerfully mature, yet not out of step for YA audiences. At a time when so many book boxes are focusing on sci-fi/fantasy and Hunger Games-adjacent stories for their YA selections, I liked that this box chose to include a very human story alongside a more magical one. In terms of value, the books totaled around $20.00, which is twice that of the $9.99 price. I was a little worried that the first book only had used copies listed on Amazon, but and the Story Begins assures its readers that the books we're receiving are new.
Do either of this month's books from and the Story Begins interest you?