Wednesday, June 20, 2018

OwlCrate Review: Unboxing my First OwlCrate

OwlCrate: June 2018
I love subscription boxes!

One of my favorite box services is Stitch Fix because I hate shopping; if I can get a personal stylist to send me five new pieces in a box upon request, what's not to love?  Send back what doesn't work, keep what does - it's a win-win for me.

This month I picked up a Kong box for my dogs and you've never seen two more excited dogs.  It's like they knew it was for them the moment it got off the truck.  Subscription boxes are a huge business and you can get literally anything you can imagine (and some things you can't...) in a monthly box.

Since I started this classroom library project last month, I've done lots of research trying to find grants and places where I can get books donated or other book-related swag like bookmarks and things that will get my students excited about reading for pleasure.  One of the companies I found, although not for donation, was OwlCrate - a subscription service.  Sign me up.

OwlCrate boxes are for Young Adult (YA) readers and the company describes its product this way:

We spend months reading hundreds of early manuscripts of upcoming young adult novels, and only select the very best books to include in our boxes! Each box will contain one brand new hardcover Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish keepsakes to help set the mood for your literary adventure. Every box will be built with a super fun and creative theme in mind, and will also include special goodies right from the author!

The company began in 2014 in Portland, Oregon; the founders ran the company in "a basement suite" which they quickly outgrew.  It is now a full-time job for them and has been very successful and has taken them to book festivals around the country.

Since I'm trying to tune in more with the YA reader, I decided to give this a try.

So here is my first OwlCrate:

The OwlCrate box.

I was a little surprised by the box itself: the word "crate" had me expecting a larger box, but once inside my reservation vanished.

The box is jam packed with goodies!  Each box has a theme and this month the theme is "Summer Lovin'."

There is a pretty card on top depicting funky pink beach scene with a Ferris Wheel in the background.  Love the mood setting here!

What a pretty card!

Flip the card over and there you can find all the details about what is in the box.

The details...

I'll read that later [setting aside] - let me see what's in here...


What's in that box?  And look at that cute pin!  It's the Ferris Wheel from the pretty card!  I love it!  And what's in that plastic bag?

A beach towel!

The plastic bag holds a colorful microfiber towel with a summer theme and "My Summer is all Booked" on it by Stella Bookish Art.  It's full beach towel size, too!  Love it!  I will definitely use this.

Next, that box.

Mason jar mug designed my Michelle Gray and the OwlCrate team.

Well look how cute!  A fun, summery mason jar mug; it's about 5" tall and has a handy lid.  It says "Book Worm and Proud" on the glass!

Digging deeper into the box I find these goodies:

Wooden bookmark, pin, keychain, pen, and tea!

Here we have a super cool, wooden bookmark from Ink and Wonder Designs.  I'm a bookmark collector so this is a treasure for me.  I love bookmarks and pick them up wherever I go.  I love them.  I'm kind of afraid to use this one because I don't want anything to happen to it.  There is also a cute cactus pen from BC Mini.  It's a super fine point pen which is awesome.  Then there are nifty apple and peach blend tea bags from Riddle's Tea Shoppe which will be fun to drink out of my mason jar mug!

Wasn't this a book subscription box?!

Oh, yes!  There's a book at the bottom of the crate. The book each month is of course related to the theme of the box.  For June 2018 the book is From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon.

From Twinkle, with Love

Obviously I haven't read it yet, but the story centers on Twinkle Mehra who is an aspiring filmmaker who is offered a chance to direct a short film for a summer film festival.  There's a little romance and a love triangle ahead and is "a story about finding love in unlikely places, growing into who you're meant to become, and finding your tribe."  That sounds like something teenagers can get in to so this will find a nice spot in my classroom library - after I read it, of course!

Even better?

It's signed by the author!

Tucked inside the book is a letter from the author:

Letter from the author

There's also a booklet in the box with info about all the products and the companies that provided them, which is nice.  It includes an interview with the author, a puzzle, and other book recommendations as well as a preview of the July OwlCrate theme (Strange & Unusual).

And finally we've reached the bottom of my first OwlCrate.

OwlCrate says "Enjoy your adventure!"

Overall, I'm excited about the box.  The boxes are a little pricey - $29.99, and then shipping pulls it up to $37.  Breaking it down, you can order the book itself for $15.19 on Amazon.  The mug is an OwlCrate exclusive but you can order a set of six on Amazon for about $20.  The wooden bookmarks go for about $9 each at Ink and WonderRiddle's Tea Shoppe is sold out of everything on Etsy, but you can buy tea in a grocery store for a few bucks.  Beach towels at Stella Bookish Art are about $38.

For me, I think the box is a pretty neat deal; the value is definitely there and the fun is priceless.  Having a themed box filled with not just all the goodies but a five-star YA novel autographed by the author is a pretty neat thing.

The OwlCrate company also offers OwlCrate Jr for younger readers.

I'm going to keep my subscription for a while because it's just fun!  Some of the things I'll keep (like that wooden bookmark) and some of the things I will share with my students.

If you like subscription boxes and have an interest in YA lit, I'd say give OwlCrate a try!

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