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beTWEEN the Bookends Tween Review: “Booking into a New School Year” September 2023

Becca Peterson
ByBecca PetersonSep 16, 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 $45 per month + free US shipping ($40.00/mo for the 12-month subscription track) while the Full-Size box is $55 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.)

It's baaaccckk! Summer vacation is officially over, and we are already heading into our second week back at school. While I am sooo missing the sleeping in and relaxing mornings, I am strangely enjoying getting back into a routine. The kids are loving their new teachers and have fallen into a rhythm faster than I expected. That doesn't mean there hasn't been any back to school blues, but it has been manageable. To help cure those few blues, the beTWEEN the Bookends "Booking into a New School Year" box arrived on our doorstep, and pepped these boys right up! Featuring new books and heap of awesome lifestyle goodies, this box always impresses. Read below to find out what this month's fun 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 Albert Einstein - "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." Also included was a theme for next month's box. Pumpkin spice anyone?

The Amazing Beef Squad: Never Say Die by Jason Ross - Retail Value $16.99


Nick Rhodes and his friends Pratchett, Hogue, and Jared--together known as Beef Squad--have got seventh grade totally hacked. They make perfect grades by day, pull spectacular pranks by night, play video games in between, and do it all with a zany sense of humor only they find funny. (Because someone has to celebrate National Asparagus Appreciation Day.) But seventh grade is about to strike back! Trouble at school and a secret from their town's Gold Rush past put Beef Squad on a collision course with Leonardville's most powerful forces. Now, with the help of robotics teammate Karla Woo, they decide to reveal what's going on, no matter the consequences.This laugh-out-loud story about a group of truly "amazing" and strong minded kids is one middle-grade readers will cheer for.

Hank was very intrigued by this book when he read the title, and wondered just what it could be about. After he started it, he had a hard time putting it down. Based on the story of a group of 7th grade boys, the laughs and pranks these guys come up with are quite entertaining, for a 10 year old boy, as well as a 35 year old educator. While listed for kids 9-12, this book does have a couple of cuss words and a tiny "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" feel, but overall was full of adventure and fun.

Kingston and the Magician's Lost and Found by Rucker Moses - Retail Value $8.99


Twelve-year-old Kingston has just moved from the suburbs back to Echo City, Brooklyn—the last place his father was seen alive. Kingston's father was King Preston, one of the world's greatest magicians. Until one trick went wrong and he disappeared. Now that Kingston is back in Echo City, he's determined to find his father. Somehow, though, when his father disappeared, he took all of Echo City's magic with him. Now Echo City—a ghost of its past—is living up to its name. With no magic left, the magicians have packed up and left town and those who've stayed behind don't look too kindly on any who reminds them of what they once had. When Kingston finds a magic box his father left behind as a clue, Kingston knows there's more to his father's disappearance than meets the eye. He'll have to keep it a secret—that is, until he can restore magic to Echo City. With his cousin Veronica and childhood friend Too Tall Eddie, Kingston works to solve the clues, but one wrong move and his father might not be the only one who goes missing.

A little like Percy Jackson, this 275 page book is a little more manageable and perfect for Hank, who is in 5th grade. Starting out strong, and well written, both Hank and I got into this book from the get go. Full of mystery, magic, and just a plain good story, we zipped through this novel quite quickly, and are looking forward to getting our hands on the sequel.

Buildable Pencil Holder Craft


The first lifestyle item we received was a woodcraft assembly kit. This kit was one of the most colorful ones we have seen, but also lacked really helpful instructions. To build the sunflower penholder, we were given three diagrams, but none of the diagrams gave any order to the assembly process. We put a couple of pieces on first, realizing we needed to take them off and put them on later. While it ended up going together fine, it was a little frustrating and took a little bit of adult help to get it finished. Overall, this pen holder was cute, but a little finicky.

Exclusive Owl Fuzzy Socks


With the nip of cold weather in the air, Hank was excited to receive a new pair of fuzzy socks. Stretchy and cute, these black socks feature two books on the ankle and are exclusive to the this subscription box. Comfy and cozy, Hank slipped these socks onto his feet after his bath, and curled up on the couch with his "The Amazing Beef Squad Never Say Die!" book and got straight to reading!

Leather Heart Bookmark Duo

We are all about bookmarks in this household so we couldn't wait to add these hearts to our bookmark collection. That being said, these thick bookmarks don't work great on thin paper pages. Hard to slip on, you have to add quite a chunk of paper into it to get them to stay. I have a few books with thicker pages these worked well in, and might just stick to using these for those types of books.

Monthly Sticker Pack


Like I've mentioned before, we love stickers, and these back to school ones are adorable. Complete with a bus, chalkboard, and globe, they may be a little vintage in the realm of school today, but we all still loved them. Perfect for folders, notebooks, and envelopes, these sticker packs help make our day a little brighter by adding a little color and fun!

Pencil Shaped Bath Bomb


This box stole Hank's heart when he discovered the pencil shaped bath bomb. Being a bath bombs biggest fan, he couldn't wait to try this fruity smelling bomb. Coupled with a long day of school and baseball, he was able to soak and relax with this fun guy, and really, really wants to buy more!

Duck Fan Pen

Have you ever had a problem with losing your writing utensil? It seems we do, as our pen jar is empty, but with this duck pen I think that's about to change. Look at the size of this duck! There is seriously no way this guy can be swiped or lost - he's just too big and bright! With a nice writing tip, I think it's safe to say I'll always have a pen at hand!

Puzzle Game


The last item  we received was this face changing expression toy. With 16 wooden cubes featuring different emotions and faces this puzzle creates some really cute expressions! It looks like there are some variations with this game, so Hank has packed it into his backpack to play while he's waiting for Charlie to finish up cross country practice. A great inclusion for a really fun box!


beTWEEN the Bookends is one of our favorite subscription boxes, and this month featured a perfect "Back to School" theme! This month Hank loved both of the book choices, and almost all of the lifestyle items. While we struggled a bit with the pen holder, he really adored the socks, bath bomb, and duck pen. Overall, this was a really nicely curated box and featured some fun and functional items. We can't wait to see what's in store for October.

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 $25.98, 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 October 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. I love all things outdoors, beauty, crafts, and food. And absolutely adore my high school sweetheart! 

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