beTWEEN the Bookends is the first monthly book and lifestyle box created for kids by a teen herself! Boxes follow a monthly theme and contain age-appropriate books and lifestyle items that have been read and hand tested by Jillian, the 14-year-old creator. Full size boxes contain 2-3 books and 6-8 lifestyle items, while mini boxes include 1 book and 3-5 lifestyle items. The new gender-neutral boxes will contain the same 2-3 books in the full boxes but will have only 3-5 gender neutral lifestyle items.
The Cost: $37.00 per month for the Gender-Neutral box (the Full-Size box is $44 per month) + free US shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
This review is of the beTWEEN the Bookends Tween Full Size Box.
This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
With June behind us, my boys (and I) are struggling with the fact that they only have 7 weeks of summer vacation left. It's not that they hate school, it's just that we have been having so much fun and the weather has been so beautiful, we just aren't ready to give that up! As I mentioned last month, at the beginning of our vacation, I laid out a loose homeschool schedule to help prevent the "summer slide." While it hasn't been perfect, "beTWEEN the Bookends" has definitely helped by giving us thoughtful and intriguing books to keep my boys interested in reading throughout the summer. Not only do they receive books geared to their reading level, but also fun lifestyle items that turn the box into an entire experience. Truth be told, as a very girly boy mom, I have found myself enjoying some of the more feminine items as much as any 9-year-old girl would! We were thrilled to see the newest box hit our doorstep this month and couldn't wait to see what this month's theme of "Reading Beneath the Stars" contained. Read below to find out what we received.
Typically, we receive the gender-neutral tween box, which features both a boy and girl on the front of the box with turquoise tissue paper and a couple lifestyle items. This month however, there was a bit of a mix-up and some of the boxes were labelled incorrectly, so we instead received the full-size tween box. This box is geared more towards girls, but contains everything the gender-neutral version does, in addition to jewelry!
Here's What's Inside
This month's welcome note shares with us all that is included in this "Reading Beneath the Stars" themed box. Not only are three books incorporated, but as are seven lifestyle items, one specifically from a small shop, and two exclusive items. Along with this month's contents, also listed is the theme for next month's box and all of beTWEEN the bookend's social media info.
What Stars are Made of by Sarah Allen - Retail Value $16.99 (found here for $14.99)
Twelve-year-old Libby Monroe is great at science, being optimistic, and talking to her famous, accomplished friends (okay, maybe that last one is only in her head). She’s not great at playing piano, sitting still, or figuring out how to say the right thing at the right time in real life. Libby was born with Turner Syndrome, and that makes some things hard. But she has lots of people who love her, and that makes her pretty lucky. When her big sister Nonny tells her she’s pregnant, Libby is thrilled―but worried. Nonny and her husband are in a financial black hole, and Libby knows that babies aren’t always born healthy. So she strikes a deal with the universe: She’ll enter a contest with a project about Cecilia Payne, the first person to discover what stars are made of. If she wins the grand prize and gives all that money to Nonny’s family, then the baby will be perfect. Does she have what it takes to care for the sister that has always cared for her? And what will it take for the universe to notice?
As a debut novel written by Sarah Allen, who herself has Turner Syndrome, this book not only educated us about this condition, but was extremely heartwarming and interesting. Perfect for truly reading beneath the stars, it wasn't a book Hank would have picked out for himself but found the writing to be very funny to read, and well-written. He actually commented on how well the author describes everything, and how he could picture it in his head perfectly. Now that's the kind of book we like!
The Lost Cipher by Michael Oechsle - Retail Value $14.99 (found here for $14.99)
Lucas has just lost his father in Afghanistan and to help him cope, his grandmother sends him to Camp Kawani. While there, he learns of the lost treasure of Thomas Jefferson Beale, a local legend of a hoard of gold buried in the mountains 200 years ago. The location is encrypted in a set of codes no one has ever been able to decipher. Lucas becomes obsessed with finding the gold to save his home and leads his newfound friends into a dangerous mission into the wilderness to uncover it.
Adventure books are all the rage for my boys, and this book fit right into that category. Tragedy, treasure, and excitement, this fast-paced book held Hank and Charlie's interest and was extremely well-written. We will take all the books like this one!
Lost in Space Return to Yesterday by Kevin Emerson - Retail Value $13.99 (found here for $6.25)
A thrilling, original novel based on Netflix's smash hit Lost in Space! This all-new story focuses on 11-year-old Will Robinson and his closest friend and greatest protector--a mysterious Robot with a dangerous past. Thirty years in the future, Earth has become increasingly more uninhabitable, and a group of colonists--including Will, his two teenage sisters, and their parents--travels across the galaxy to establish a new home. But when the ship is attacked, the Robinsons are stranded on an alien planet where they must contend with disastrous technical issues, a hostile environment, and dangerous personalities to get off world and reach their colony. One day, while exploring a remote complex of caves with his Robot, Will discovers a strange portal that allows him to travel back to Earth--to a time before the Robinsons left on their mission. Realizing the portal could be a way for the colonists to escape the planet and finally make their way to their new home, Will and his sisters decide to investigate it, triggering a series of events that not only changes their reality, but threatens the group's very existence. With the beings who created the portal in pursuit, Will must find a way to right the wrongs of the past and save his family's future.
Hank never boarded the Star Wars or Star Trek train, so I wasn't sure if this would be a good fit for him, but after coaxing him to give it a try, he said it was pretty good. While not yet finished, he hasn't given up on it and is slowly working his way through. We did appreciate that this was another hardcover book and are happy to add it to our collection.
Moon Bath Bomb by A Scents of Grace
Coordinating with the star theme, we received this large bath bomb shaped with a sleeping moon and star. Complete with glittery details, Hank couldn't wait to add this to his bath water after a long day of weeding the garden. Sweetly scented and super fizzy, this was the perfect addition to an already great box! For more bath bomb options, check out "A Scents of Grace" website - these handcrafted items are amazing - especially the taco bath bomb!
Tote Bag - The Works Custom Gifts
We are loving the inclusion of these themed printed items the last couple of months! (Check out last month's awesome pillowcase here.) This month included a canvas tote bag with an adorable moon and cloud design. Bright and cheery, we can always use more tote bags. Currently it sits in the passenger seat of my car packed with extra clothes for the boys. As they got older, I thought we could ditch the spare clothes, but Charlie proved me wrong by wading through a muddy ditch looking for frogs at last week's baseball game. Yup, that's my boy.
Enamel Pin - Designed by Karen Thaco
Matching the canvas tote bag, we also received an enamel pin with the same moon, stars, and cloud design. Made exclusively for beTWEEN the Bookends, this sturdy guy gives me all the 90s vibes. I personally will still rock a pin on my jean jacket occasionally, but Hank wasn't sold on that idea, so he decided to pin it to his bedroom curtain.
Star and Moon Socks
Sticking with the sky theme, Hank was excited for this neutral-colored pair of socks. I wasn't sure if he'd be game to wear these because of the design, but they fit so well that he wore them with his baseball uniform. They ended up winning 12-1, so now they are his lucky socks, which of course can't be washed.
Star and Moon Ring
Like I said above, because of a mix-up, we ended up with the full-size box which is geared more towards girls instead of the gender-neutral one. I was 100% okay with this, because just look at how adorable this star and moon ring is! I wear a size 7 ring, and it fit my ring finger perfectly. Obviously, Hank wasn't interested in this item, but I love all things jewelry, and will definitely add this to my collection! Nothing better than a subscription box containing items for the entire family, right? Though I love the item, because of metal allergies, I do wish they listed what this dainty ring is made of.
I am a sucker for packaging, and the exclusive card and sachet this star necklace came in had my 34-year-old heart swooning. This is a short necklace obviously designed for youth, but laid exactly where I prefer on my neck on the largest loop. Because it is shorter, it doesn't get lost in my shirt neckline and adds a tiny bit of rose gold shimmer to an otherwise blah outfit. Again, it would be helpful to know what type of material this is made of, but because I don't have metal allergies, it isn't that big of a deal. Another win for this month's box!
Super soft and fuzzy, we received this snoozin' star keychain. With 2 clip-on options, he's cookie monster blue and looks adorable attached to Hank's suitcase. We so love little accessories like this!
We love the gender-neutral version of the beTWEEN the Bookends Tween box, but the full-sized version was even more fun (for me especially!) Not only did this month contain three really exciting adventure style books that Hank truly enjoyed, but the lifestyle items were all very useful and fun as well. There is just something special about holding a hard copy of a book in your hands, and once we're done, I bring them to school to have in my classroom to my students to check out. Carefully curated and perfectly themed, every item was perfectly chosen and will be thoroughly enjoyed. (I'm actually wearing the necklace right now!) This box is not only fun but is a definite incentive to get kids that aren't huge fans of reading into trying new books. We can't wait to see what the "Summer Reading" theme looks like next month!
The beTWEEN the bookends full size box costs $44.00 per month, including shipping. After calculating what it would cost to order the included books separately along with the lifestyle items, it would have cost over $85.00 (using low estimates for the items I couldn't find online) which feels very reasonable to me.
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Other Things You Should Know
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? beTWEEN the bookends tends to ship the first week of each month. Order now to receive the August box.
What did you think of the BeTWEEN the Bookends full size box?