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 books-only, unlike other boxes for readers that include book-themed trinkets, too. I find that simplicity refreshing, and I love how it permeates the whole box. Simple cardboard, simple palette, simple (yet thoughtfully done) brown paper packaging. This box lets the books speak for themselves.
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.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
I love unraveling the twine bows on these crisply-wrapped books. It makes the experience feel all the more special. It's kind of like opening a mysterious package.
Starters by Lissa Price - Value $5.99 on Amazon (retail price: $9.99)
Starters is a dystopian, sci-fi story that plays within the dark themes that YA audiences eat up. Disease eliminates everyone but for the very old and very young (the only ones who received the scarce vaccination for the illness). The very old, who have money and resources, start exploiting the very young, to the point of "renting" their bodies out for fun using futuristic technology. How creepy is that? Of course, all goes awry, and Callie, our protagonist, sets out to reveal the corruption holding this eerie world together.
"Gratuitous" isn't the right word, but this story, with its spooky set-up, romance, and dystopian drama, is just soapy enough that it's addictive. It's like if a book was a bag of potato chips—it's not the most sophisticated thing in the world, but boy, is it fun to plow through.
Book Summary from Amazon:
A riveting sci-fi dystopic thriller and series launch from the author of ENDERS.
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie.
Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter.
Callie soon discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than she could ever have imagined. . . .
Includes Portrait of a Spore, a never-before-published short story that takes place in the world of STARTERS.
PRAISE FOR STARTERS:
“A bona fide page-turner.” —MTV.com
“A smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story.” —DEAN KOONTZ
“Readers who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games will find it here. Dystopian sci-fi at its best.” —Los Angeles Times
“Intriguing, thought-provoking and addictive.” —BookReporter.com
“Readers will stay hooked. . . . Constantly rising stakes keep this debut intense.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Fast-paced dystopian fiction. . . . The inevitable sequel can’t appear soon enough.” —Booklist
“Addictive and alluring.” —Examiner.com
“Chilling and riveting.” —Shelf-Awareness.com
“A must-read for fans of The Hunger Games and Legend. Fast-paced, romantic, and thought-provoking.” —Justine
The best part is that there's a second book now, called Enders, that continues the story. It's great to finish a fun read and have more to come!
The second book in the box was likewise beautifully wrapped.
Tighter by Adele Griffin - Value $16.99
This story is creepy in the way great suspense stories are, and while it's technically a ghost story, it doesn't cross the line into horror (which this easily-spooked reader really appreciated!). The writing teases you along, keeping you guessing as to whether the narrator, Jamie, is experiencing something real, or if the spooky things she's seeing are by-products of her struggling psychological state.
Book Summary from Amazon:
When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.
The book summary appears on the inside of the book jacket, as well. I love that this is a hardcover!
There's a bit about the author here, too!
Verdict: and the Story Begins is a simple, yet fun box for young readers. I expect books like Starters in a YA-themed box, since those dystopian tropes are so pervasive and popular, but I liked that it was coupled with a ghost story (a psychological thriller, really) for teens to enjoy. It's something a little out of the ordinary. The box is well worth its price tag, too. For $9.99, you get about $23.00 worth of reading material. It doesn't have a lot of the razzmatazz (a.k.a. fancy design, lots of extra goodies, etc.) that other book boxes include. Instead, and the Story Begins focuses on the simple mission of sharing great stories at a price that's fair, and they do a lovely job.
Do either of this month's books from and the Story Begins interest you?