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 + shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 10% off your first box!
The Products: Women’s fiction with a powerful message, plus gifts related to the story.
Ships to: US for $9.50, Canada for $17.00, and Worldwide for $26.50
Once Upon a Book Club May 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 usually receive my box much later than regular subscribers. Many times subscription companies send comped boxes 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 postcard featuring a quote from this month's book was also included. Pretty!
Did any of you see "Murder Mountain" on Netflix? I kept thinking of that documentary series when I read this book, as the setting is Northern California in the 1970s, and the cast of characters is similar. But the theme of this book is much different, no worries! One thing I love about OUABC is that they send books that are hot off the press, and Blue Clover was just published on May 28! I really enjoyed this book, partially due to the fact that I love all things 1970s. It's a coming-of-age story wrapped up in a mystery, and it's a real page-turner! Clover Blue is actually the name of the main character, an adolescent who has been raised on a commune and yearns to learn about his biological family. It's an easy read.
Page 81: Stardust's Earrings & Colorful Headscarf - Estimated Value $20
Most of the characters in the book have fun hippie names, and Stardust is, of course, one of those characters who shows up in the book at around this page. I think both of these accessories are a really fun inclusion in this box! I am sort of "over" threaded tassels on jewelry at this point, though, personally. I just have received so many of them in subscription boxes that I'm a little burned out. The headband is really cute, though!
Page 139: Macrame Wall Hanging - Estimated Value $20
As I mentioned, I love all things boho/hippie/1970s, so of course, I love this macrame wall hanging! I dabble in macrame myself and consider it among the most underrated art forms. And of course, it goes along with the whole setting of the book, particularly at this point.
Page 228: Poster - Estimated Value $3
This poster has kind of cool artwork. It reminds me of the iconic poster of Kate Hudson in "Almost Famous" back in the day. It definitely relates to what is happening at this point in the book. Having said that, I think it's fair to say that at least 1-2 "surprises" that OUABC sends every month don't really have much value, to me at least. It kind of takes away from the fun of having surprises at various page numbers, especially later in the book. I feel like if there are going to be value-free surprises, they should be at the beginning of the book and lead up to more valuable surprises later on. Save the best for last!
Page 332: Picture - Estimated Value $1
The final gift was this picture of Heidi Rainbow, age 17. This is the second time I can think of in recent times that the final gift was just a picture of something that happened in the last pages of the book. I would say the same remarks I made about the poster would apply here.
The Verdict: I have really been enjoying my subscription to Once Upon a Book Club, but this month was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I really liked the book and the theme, and I am obsessed with macrame, so the wall hanging was a hit for me, too! I think some people would also really enjoy the accessories, too, but they weren't for me, personally. But honestly, for the final two gifts to just be essentially pictures was a bit of a letdown. So, despite a strong start, this was not my favorite package from OUABC. Here's hoping next month is better!
To Wrap Up:
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 10% off your first box!
Value Breakdown: This box cost me $43.49 after shipping. If I subtract the known retail value of the book from that amount, I’m left with $17.49. That means the average value for each of the five surprises is about $3.50. 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.
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?