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).
This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About This Book Box
The Subscription Box: Once Upon a Book Club Adult Box
The Cost: $34.99 a month + $9.50 US shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 10% off your first box!
The Products: Women’s fiction with an aspirational bent, plus gifts related to the story.
Ships to: Worldwide
Once Upon a Book Club April 2019 Review
There’s a simple paper booklet inside the box. I like that this subscription hosts book “discussions” and "read-a-longs" on their social media pages! It makes it a lot like an IRL book club. You'll notice, however, that there is no info about the box contents. That would spoil the surprise! This month, I also noticed that I received the box much later than any of the read-along dates. I'm not 100% sure, but I think I received my box much later than regular subscribers. Many times subscription companies send comped box later to reviewers to make sure that regular subscribers all get their boxes without issue. That's completely understandable. But, if you are a regular subscriber and would like to comment on the timeliness of this subscription, please feel free to do so in the comments below.
This little envelope was included with OUABC "Perks" which provide savings on related products and services. I like little extras like this.
This postcard featuring a quote from this month's book was also included. Pretty!
This was a good book. First of all, I was impressed that this was the April book selection as it was only published on March 19 of this year! That's hot off the press. The author, Sarah Beth Durst, has written books previously that have set the stage for this novel by creating a fantasy world called Renthia. This book is a standalone novel within that setting. Fantasy is not my favorite genre, but this one was pretty good. It reminded me a little of The Hunger Games in that people are plucked from their normal existence and forced to survive on their skills and wit alone. In this case, those people are islanders who have the ability to control the spirits. Once the Queen learns that they have this ability, she sends them to a terrifying island to try and survive. It's a bit like a witch hunt! I don't want to give too much away, but I found it really easy to read, and the suspense was definitely engaging.
I love getting signed bookplates from the author! I am not sure why I got several, but I'm not complaining. I immediately stuck one to the inside of the book!
Page 170: Skeleton Cave "Crystal" Soap - Estimated Value $10?
I love getting soap in subscription boxes, and these are so pretty! They seem to just be a lightly fragranced glycerin soap, and they lather really well. Lather is my number one soap judging criteria, haha! Skeleton Cave is a location within the island, and a focal point of the storyline by this point in the book.
Page 237: Paper Mask - Estimated Value $3?
This mask is hilarious. First of all, I hope everyone is terrified by the picture of me wearing it. You'll notice that I am winking, which would be cute except the reason I am winking is because the mask is poking me in the eye. I feel like OUABC usually sends one or two items that don't really have any value, but that goes along with the book, and this mask fits the bill. No matter, because my kids really got a kick out of it! It is pretty scary, in a way.
Page 276: Seashell Wind Chimes - Estimated Value $25?
It took me forever to untangle these wind chimes! They are really pretty, though, and they make a nice little tinkling sound when the wind blows. I don't really have any beach decor at my house, so I think I will give these to my sister who lives near the beach. Everything in this book has an ocean theme, but without giving anything away, these chimes have a special meaning at this point in the book.
Page 311: Lavender Essential Oil - Estimated Value $10?
The final gift was this little bottle of lavender essential oil. I can always use more of that! I wish it was just pure essential oil, but the aroma is nice and pure anyway.
The Verdict: This was another fun box from Once Upon a Book Club! The book was engaging and suspenseful, and the other items really went along well with the parts of the book they corresponded to. My favorite item besides the book was the soap, but I bet if I was more of a beach person I would have loved the windchimes. I think the idea behind the Once Upon a Book Club subscription is a pretty clever one, and I like the idea of getting gifts at different points in the story.
This box costs $44.49 after shipping. If I subtract the known retail value of the book from that amount, I’m left with $22.50. There are four items otherwise - the soaps, the mask, the windchimes, and the essential oil, so the average cost for each of those would be $5.63. I feel confident that the value of all the items collectively exceeds that, but I'm not even sure the value measurement is relevant to this subscription box. The value comes from the experience of reading the book and getting related surprises along the way, the experience as a whole. If you would be bothered by a subscription that does not have a big value surplus, then this might not be the right box for you.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Sign up before the 14th of this month to receive the next month’s box!
Value Breakdown: This box costs $34.99 a month + $9.50 US shipping, which means that each of the 5 items in the box has an average cost of $8.90.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of the items in this Once Upon a Book Club box?