Once Upon a Book Club Box Review + Coupon – April 2017
Once Upon a Book Club is a uniquely engaging book subscription box. Instead of just sending along books and bookish items, this monthly subscription box sends you one book and a series of individually wrapped packages, each with a numbered tag that corresponds to a page in the book. As you read and come across those pages, you’ll open the packages and reveal items that relate to that moment in the story!
Once Upon a Book Club offers a young adult box geared towards readers 13+ and an adult box intended for readers 18+. Both are priced the same and feature newly released books. (According to the site, the books have been released within the last 3 months, unless otherwise noted.)
This is a review of the Adult box for 18+ ($34.99 per month + shipping).
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Once Upon a Book Club Adult Box
The Cost: $34.99 a month. There is also a 3-month prepay ($100.99), 6-month prepay ($199.00), and 12-month prepay ($390.00) subscription options.
The Products: Women’s fiction with an aspirational bent, plus gifts related to the story.
Ships to: Worldwide
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
There’s a simple paper booklet inside the box. Love the polka dots and all the bright colors!
One thing I like about this subscription is that they set up lots of opportunities for individual readers to connect with each other. There are read-along dates—read up to the given page by the given date, then hop on Facebook or Instagram Live to unbox the coordinating item with the Once Upon a Book Club folks—and dates where book discussion will happen via social media, too!
The back of the booklet has info about a giveaway, too!
Don’t forget—if you open anything ahead of time, you’ll ruin the fun of the box!
This quote print is on the back of the card. It would look beautiful framed!
The book this month is heavy and eye-opening. It’s a sophisticated, emotional story that I was surprised to see in a subscription that doesn’t usually tap into such challenging content. I’m really excited to read this mature, gripping story!
Book Summary on Amazon:
In the spirit of Khaled Hosseini, Nadia Hashimi and Shilpi Somaya Gowda comes this powerful debut from a talented new voice—a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night.
India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world—one of ice cream, reading, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood.
But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend, or stops wondering if she was somehow responsible for Mukta’s abduction.
Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place.
Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Mumbai, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately, redemption.
The first item appears on page 24. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers as I describe these products!
Orange Scarf – Value $11.90?
Inside the velvety bag, there’s an orange scarf that’s surprisingly soft and silky. I couldn’t find this specific item online, so I linked to a similar scarf to give an idea of value.
The fabric is sheer and has a really rich orange color. Unfurled, it’s a giant square. It looks vibrant and voluminous tied around my neck, but you could use it as a wrap, too.
The next gift is also in a tiny printed velvet pouch.
Tea – Value $1.00?
Teapot-Shaped Tea Infuser – Value $1.00?
I’m not sure what type of tea this is, but it has a really lovely vanilla-ish note to it that I really like. It’s mild and floral.
The infuser is really charming, with its decorative handle and spout. I love loose-leaf tea, but I’ve only ever had those simple, silicone diffusers. They work okay, but they’re always a little clumsy to work with or close well. This metal one has a top that locks on securely, so the leaves stay inside, safe and sound.
Next, we have this ribbon-tied envelope.
Printed Money and Note – Value $1.00?
This item is more of a prop specific to the book, so I just took a guess at the value. (No, that’s not a real bill.) While I don’t get a lot of future use out of this item, it’s items like these that bring the story to life. If the whole box was props, I’d wonder if it was worth it. But I think it’s fun to get props like these every so often!
I love the design of this next box. It’s like a tiny, wrapped shirt box.
Gold Leaf Pendant Necklace – Value $7.49?
Again, I couldn’t find the specific item online, so I linked to something similar. This necklace is on the longer side—on me, the pendant lay just below my bra line. I like necklaces where I can just loop the chain over my head, rather than unfasten and fasten it. The pendant is about 2 inches long, so it’s noticeable but not too big that it’s heavy or hard to wear.
There’s a good amount of texture on the front side of the leaf pendant so that it catches the light in really pretty ways. It doesn’t feel like the highest quality metal, but it is pretty and versatile enough that I could see getting a lot of use out of it.
Last but not least, is this pink package.
Faux Leather Snap-Shut Wallet – Value $6.83?
I’m not sure if the wallet I linked to is the exact product (obviously the quote is different, but everything else is the same), but it’s similar enough that I figured it would give a good idea of value.
The quote says “Books are better than the world we live in…”
It has a soft faux-leather feel to it and a slight plastic smell inside. But I love how many card slots it has, and the color is super pretty. What’s the deal with the photo in the ID card slot? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Verdict: I liked this Once Upon a Book Club Adult box, mostly because the book was a really interesting, challenging choice. It’s fascinating to learn about the hardships and beauty faced by people not so different from me. I appreciated that the items in the box were also a bit more mature (tea, a wallet, a beautiful scarf). I estimate that the value of the items is around $39.00, which is just below the $34.99 price and U.S. shipping (which is $43.49 total). I could make an argument that the community/discussion services they put together help bump that value up so that it’s on par with the price. But I will say that I wish the surprise items were just a bit higher-quality—it’d help me feel like I was definitely getting the full value out of the box!
What do you think of the items in this Once Upon a Book Club box?