Make Reading Come Alive (A Review)

Once Upon a Book Club claims to provide a “unique reading experience” and they deliver on that promise. Their monthly box includes a newly published book (sometimes hardcover, sometimes paperback), a 5”x7” card printed with an inspirational quote, and a glossy bi-fold brochure containing a “Conversation with the Author,” book club discussion questions, and opportunities to participate with online discussion communities across social media formats.

While searching for gift ideas last Christmas, I stumbled across a subscription box that sounded interesting.  

But what makes this unique and fun is that the bright pink book box also contains 3-5 custom gifts of varying interest and value that directly correspond to the story plot. Each gift is wrapped and includes a page number telling you when to open it. And in case you get so wrapped up in the storyline you forget, the page includes a sticky note reminding you to Open Your Gift!

One minute you’re engaged in a conversation between two main characters over a chessboard, then you open a gift to discover a very nice wooden travel chessboard set. Or while you’re waiting for the 1950-era main character to find the radio signal, you open your gift to find a Bluetooth speaker shaped like a 1950 box radio. Then there’s the super-sweet love notes, like a message in a bottle (and you get one too) or a limestone flake with a hieroglyphic love note left on a soft pillowcase. (You get the pillowcase and the limestone). Some gifts are a little less intense – a ballpoint pen, a journal, a ladle, but they all make the story come alive and connect you in a tangible way with the characters.

This was a big hit with my young adult daughters at Christmas; they enjoyed reading the book and announcing to the house that they were opening a gift, which would be followed by squeals of delight. They even swapped books to read when they finished – although they didn’t swap gifts (ha ha).  

Part of the fun is that you don’t know the book title before the box arrives, although if you want to spoil the surprise you can check out their “hints” page and figure it out. Past titles include The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult, Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce, and my personal favorite, The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke.  (See my reviews on Goodreads.)  

A monthly subscription is $34.99 with $10 shipping and orders placed by the 21st ensures that month’s box. I signed up for the Adult Box month-to-month subscription to give away as gifts and utilize the option to pause as needed. There were a few months when the boxes were late going out, but OUAB always communicated about shipping issues and it appears those issues are resolved.

If you’re looking for some creative gift ideas, check them out and enjoy this referral code for $5 off your first subscription box. 


Shelly Henley Kelly