Unplugged Book Box is a monthly subscription that sends you a newly released book, as well as several bookish goodies. They have two options: a young adult curation, or their new adult curation. Each month is inspired by a different self-care message, and the box contains products created by small-businesses. Each book you receive is published two months or less prior to shipping. Today, I will be reviewing the May 2019 Young Adult box!
This month’s theme is “If Not Now, When?” The box included a card with information about each item included in May’s curation. There is also an unboxing challenge; all you have to do is post a photo of products from your box on different days for a chance to win a prize!
Each month, Unplugged releases a new playlist to listen along to while you read the featured book. If you are on a mobile device, all you have to do is go to the Spotify search bar and scan the code on the card. If you’re like me and prefer to use a computer, just visit the “UnpluggedBookBox” Spotify profile.
The back of the playlist had a recipe for coconut rice pudding! I am always trying out new recipes and my fiance is rather partial to rice pudding, so I’ll have to give this a try. The recipe calls for a whole cup of raisins (which I love), so I’m quite excited to try it!
Unplugged included a sneak peek at next month’s box; the theme will be “Create Your Own Sunshine”, and will include an exclusive product from Novel Grounds.
All right, now that we’ve looked through all the inserts, let’s take a look at each item in the May YA Box.
I love, love, LOVE candles – so I was really excited to see this Endgame Candle! It’s from the “From the Page” Etsy shop, and was made exclusively for this subscription box. It smells of lavender and bergamot, and has cute little stars embedded in the wax. My mom used a lot of lavender scented products when I was growing up, so burning this makes me feel quite nostalgic.
The next item I received was a mason jar with a quote from Six of Crows, which is one of my favorite books. There was a Six of Crows item in last month’s box, so I wasn’t expecting another one so soon. I’m pretty thrilled though! The design is dramatic and gorgeous, and the quote is “When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.”
The next item in my box was a Matcha Smoothie Mask, which is labeled as suitable for most skin types. I actually haven’t tested this out, because my skin usually reacts badly to clay based masks. I have struggled for nearly a decade to get my cystic acne under control, and I don’t want a flare up. However, I think this is a great item to include in a box; the single use satchet is convenient, and the matcha smoothie scent sounds appealing.
OMG, finally a Harry Potter themed item! I am a total Potterhead; I’ve read the whole series dozens of times and I watch through all the movies every July. So, I couldn’t help but do a little happy dance when I pulled these out of the box. The socks are covered in the Hogwarts house animals – a badger, a lion, a snake, and a raven. These are SO cute! I just can’t wait for fall, because it’s a little warm to wear these right now unless I crank up the AC.
The last bookish goodie in my box was “She Smells A Little Like French Toast” Lip Butter from the Best Life Handmade Etsy shop. I really wanted to love this; I think chapsticks are super useful and I adore the taste and smell of french toast. I don’t know if I got a bad batch or what, but mine tasted and smelled just like Play-doh. I looked up some other people’s reviews of the box, and everybody else seemed to love it.
Now that we’ve looked at all the bookish goodies, let’s reveal the actual book!
May 2019’s YA pick is Every Moment After by Joseph Moldover. Here’s a synopsis of the book (trigger warning: gun violence)
“Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school graduates Matt Simpson and Cole Hewitt are still navigating their guilt and trying to move beyond the shadow of their town’s grief. Will Cole and Matt ever be able to truly leave the ghosts of East Ridge behind? Do they even want to?
As they grapple with changing relationships, falling in love, and growing apart, these two friends must face the question of how to move on—and truly begin living.”
So, obviously, this is some pretty heavy subject matter. Even though the characters in the books are going through normal teenage stuff (trying to figure out what to do after college, pursuing relationships, etc), everything they do is shadowed by the ghosts of their past. This is a haunting look into the real effects school shootings have on children; from the media obsession and unwanted attention from strangers, to the lingering guilt, fear, and questioning. This is an intriguing, insightful read.
My only concern is that this could be triggering to kids who receive the subscription box. School shootings have been increasing at a disturbing rate, and kids across the country are fearing for their lives. Students have been increasingly vocal on social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit, expressing that they are scared to go to school, to concerts, and pretty much anywhere there could be a shooting. So, a vulnerable kid who’s been struggling with these feelings might feel even more anxious if they receive this book in the box without expecting it.
There was also a signed sticker by the author, plus an exclusive author’s note!
The final item in this month’s box was a note from Unplugged, explaining why they loved this book and chose to include it. I appreciate that they acknowledged that gun violence is a sensitive topic, and that they gave their reasons for choosing the book.
This month’s book was an emotional read, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it. I also really enjoyed the bookish goodies included in the box, especially the Harry Potter socks! Overall, I enjoyed the May 2019 curation and I still think this is one of the best book boxes out there.