As a team member for Once Upon a Book Club, I was always eager to receive the boxes and see what Michelle had selected; the kinds of stories she felt her readers needed to hear, the items that felt as though she’d pulled them straight from the pages of the books, all the little pieces of herself she stuck between the pages as she sent these titles to strangers to enjoy.
With the announcement of the Once Upon a Young Adult Book Club, my turn to create a box had arrived, and with it a sea of challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. Pictured above is the wrapped contents of the April YA box, my very first one. I’m so excited to share the contents with all of you as well as a special coupon code at the end of this post!
The first thing I want to talk about is the book. I was overwhelmed when I realized just how thorough Michelle has to read every single selection each month and find the perfect one for the box. There were moments where I was so captivated by the story that I forgot to look for gifts, times where I thought a gift would be phenomenal to include but the story was just meh, and so many other occasions that I wasn’t expecting.
After reading an array of options, I finally decided that The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato was to be the first book in Once Upon a Young Adult Book Club. The story that brimmed with a strong female lead coping with her brothers death, her parents who handled the loss of their son in their own ways, and the new ability Megan is faced with after this tragedy strikes. This book featured an array of magic while still maintaining a realistic perspective and even adding a bit of history. I was so excited about this book being included in our first YA box, I couldn’t believe I had found something so perfect for our box. To see my full review of the book, click here!
Then came the gifts and I knew I had to make them powerful but also useful AND fitting for a teen.
The gifts were an entirely new challenge but one I was so excited to face.
The first gift was the kick-off to the whole story, so when I saw the description Megan included of her fabric scissors I KNEW we had to find something incredibly similar, if not exact. When Michelle sent me the ones pictured above, I nearly cried. They were just so….perfect! I know not all teens sew but these were just so adorable and important to the book I knew they needed to be included.
The next item had a lot of time put into it, as Tyler’s button necklace was made by Megan, we honestly handmade all of the necklaces for our boxes (and please note, we sold out.) Every single necklace was handmade with love and we were really pleased with how they turned out. Though not an item with a huge monetary value, it was a powerful reminder throughout the book of Megan’s goal – redemption for Tyler.
The third item ended up being a 3-in-1 which turned out really cool. Though it wasn’t a super important moment in the book, Megan described rummaging through her backpack for her wallet, and opening it up to find the business card of the detective. We included all three of these pieces. The backpack was fun but still neutral enough that we thought it would appeal to a lot of readers – even if it was just used for a beach day, we really liked the design and it was really quite good quality as well. The wallet may have been a bit lower in quality than we wanted but it was just supposed to be a bang-around wallet. We chose a nice neon-green so it would truly stand out. The business card we designed (and fudged a little bit of) to make it as authentic to the story as possible.
Finally, the last gift ended up being the gloves that are mentioned so frequently throughout the story. I was FLOORED when these arrived and I was able to feel the quality – they were nice and thick, featured an adorable lace detailing and bow at the bottom in addition to a text-friendly fingertip pad. I was really happy with these.
I wasn’t sure how the box was going to go over but after hearing nothing but good things, I was overwhelmed with emotion after creating my first box. This book was my baby and I genuinely cried when the green YA box appeared on my doorstep after Michelle had carefully packed everything up. It was stunning and I was so excited to hear what everyone else thought of the experience that I was lucky enough to create for them.
That said, I look forward to curating many more YA boxes for Once Upon a Book Club, and I promise my future rundown of the boxes won’t be nearly this sappy.