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beTWEEN the Bookends Tween Review: “Life is a Movie, You are the Star!” August 2023

Becca Peterson
ByBecca PetersonAug 19, 2023 | 0 comments

beTWEEN the Bookends
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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: The Gender-Neutral box is $42.50 per month + free US shipping ($37.00/mo for the 12-month subscription track) while the Full-Size box is $50 per month. Save with longer subscriptions.

This review is of the beTWEEN the Bookends Tween Gender Neutral 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.)

Is that a whiff of fall in the air?! Typically August is the hottest month in Minnesota, but with highs barely reaching 70, there is a definite autumn vibe going on here. While fall is generally my favorite season, we are singing the back to school blues. Is anyone else feeling that way? To boost our pouty spirits, the  beTWEEN the Bookends box arrived on our doorstep, and this month was a really fun one! Featuring new books and a heap of awesome lifestyle goodies, this box always impresses. Read below to find out what this month's awesome theme included!

First Impressions


The contents of this box are packaged neatly in turquoise tissue paper and sealed with a sticker featuring clip art of a boy and girl. The anticipation of seeing what's underneath this tissue paper always has us on the edge of our seats. We just can't wait to check it out!

Here's What's Inside

Welcome Pamphlet


Each month we receive a pamphlet describing all items included in each box. It is color coordinated and laid out very nicely. Featured on the back is a quote by Julie Andrews - "Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th." Fitting with this month's theme, it is a great quote, and one that as a mom and educator is so very true. Also included was a theme for next month's box. By the looks of it, it will definitely have some "Back to School" vibes. Yay!

That Thing about Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar - Retail Value $17.99


You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents don’t get along, and it looks like they might be separating. Sonali’s little brother, Ronak, is not taking the news well, constantly crying. Sonali would never do that. It’s embarrassing to let out so many feelings, to show the world how not okay you are. But then something strange happens, something magical, maybe. When Sonali gets upset during a field trip, she can’t bury her feelings like usual—instead, she suddenly bursts into a Bollywood song-and-dance routine about why she’s upset!The next morning, much to her dismay, Sonali’s reality has shifted. Things seem brighter, almost too bright. Her parents have had Bollywood makeovers. Her friends are also breaking out into song and dance. And somehow, everyone is acting as if this is totally normal. Sonali knows something has gone wrong, and she suspects it has something to do with her own mismanaged emotions. Can she figure it out before it’s too late?

Hank is a pretty equal opportunistic book reader and enjoys books of all genres and topics, but he wasn't convinced with this one when he read the summary. I do believe it is because one of his friends' parents recently went through a divorce, and he just plain doesn't want to give a book with parent's fighting in it a chance. While he didn't want give this one a try, I read it and thought it was lovely. An excellent read featuring culture, varying emotions, and expressing feelings, I'm working on getting Hank to give it a try!

Here in the Read World by Sara Pennypacker - Retail Value $17.99


Ware can’t wait to spend summer “off in his own world”—dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents sign him up for dreaded Rec camp, where he must endure Meaningful Social Interaction and whatever activities so-called “normal” kids do. On his first day Ware meets Jolene, a tough, secretive girl planting a garden in the rubble of an abandoned church next to the camp. Soon he starts skipping Rec, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot. Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer—he doesn’t live in the “real world” like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge. But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights’ Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good—and vows to save the lot. But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?

While Hank didn't care for this month's first title, he really enjoyed this one. Toting it along camping, we were able to read this tale together, and loved the imagination brought to life in this story. Filled with life lessons, this book embraces individuality and had us both in happy tears by the end.

Amish Country Popcorn Kernels


Popcorn is definitely one of our favorite go-to snacks, so receiving this bag of Amish Country Popcorn Kernels was definitely a treat. Featuring a variety of colored kernels, this variation really had an extra special flavor. As you can see in the photo, beTWEEN the Bookends not only sent the kernels, but the popper too! A fantastic combo for a fantastic box!

Popcorn Popper


Let me say that I was very happy to see this popcorn popper in the box, because Hank was fired up to try the popcorn and I had no means of popping it until I caught a glimpse of this guy. Made from what appears to be black silicone, this bendable container features two flaps on the top to contain the popped corn. While we didn't receive instructions for use, I did a bit of Google research and decided to throw some kernels in with some butter and monitor the microwave closely. After about 2 minutes, we had a delicious batch of popcorn!  Yum!

Popcorn Themed Pencil Pouch


With "Back to School" closing in, Hank was excited to get this popcorn pencil pouch to help keep his backpack organized. While this cute case is too small to hold all of his 5th grade goodies, he did find it really useful for his drawing supplies he totes around for in between practices and after school. A little confused as to why it says "Popcorm" instead of "Popcorn" even with the misspelling, this truly is adorable.

Monthly Sticker Pack


Stickers are so much fun, and these drama style ones are great. With bright colors and fun illustrations, Hank is planning on snazzing up his notebooks with these to help keep organized.

Exclusive Tote Bag


The city I shop in recently passed a plastic bag tax so I am all about the re-useable ones. With an adorable "The Book was Better" quote and fun TV reading a book illustration, you can bet this is going to be used more than our boring solid colored ones. With nice stitching and solid handles, this is was a great inclusion that Hank can't wait to fill.

Popcorn Themed Erasers


The last item we received was one that was one that was on Hank's school supply list and was probably this month's cutest. Piled in a mini popcorn container are 12 popcorn shaped pencil top erasers. Fitting perfectly on top of a regular #2 pencil, these erase as well as any pencil top eraser, and I am hoping these will also help him keep track of his pencils as I'm doubting many other kids will have these!


beTWEEN the Bookends is one of our favorite subscription boxes, and this month featured a great theme! While Hank only liked one of this month's books, he loved all of the lifestyle items, and is now a little more excited that school is getting back in session. Overall, this was a fantastic box and featured really diverse books and useful items. We can't wait to see what's in store for September.

The beTWEEN the Bookends Gender Neutral box costs $37.00 per month (on a 12-month subscription track), including shipping. Because the books alone are valued at over $35.98, I find the $37.00/month cost very reasonable as the lifestyle items help shape this box into an entire experience.

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

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 September box.

What did you think of the BeTWEEN the Bookends Tween Gender Neutral box? 

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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-... read more.

Becca Peterson
Becca Peterson

I am a wild and crazy mom of 2 boys and work in the public education system as an Indigenous Support Advocate. I love all things outdoors, beauty, crafts, and food. Living the simple life in the country, we spend a lot of time hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. Oh, and I absolutely adore my high school sweetheart aka my husband of almost 17 years!

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