Build Your Own Book Box Wrap-Up: How Did the August Box Turn Out?

If you didn’t see, I did something a little wacky and hypothetical and fun on Twitter by asking y’all to answer questions on what y’all would want in an imaginary book box.

You had no control over which specific item or fandoms, only control over what you thought might be the item or fandom.

And today I’m here to tell you about how the book box you created turned out–as well as the other three boxes that didn’t win, but I still wanted to shout out!

I made an effort to choose a lot of underhyped and diverse fandoms–there is absolutely no Harry Potter, Sarah J. Maas, or Holly Black in this post. Sorry not sorry, y’all!

All the Goodreads links to the books mentioned are in their titles, in case you feel a strong urge to check them out, hehe!

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the winning box!

Sisters & Sacrifice was the winning theme, and it’s definitely a cool one! I’m not going to design art cards & such for everything, but I will drop doodles here and there!

You open the box and the first thing you see is a theme card with the words “Sisters and Sacrifice: August 2019” on them. It’s covered in animal skulls and spooky trees. Underneath is black tissue paper with fine silver glitter embedded in. You move the spoiler card aside and begin to unwrap the first item.

For swag item #1, y’all voted for “something that is super useful and themed to the monthly theme book”

With the tissue paper off, a cylindrical tube is revealed. It’s branded similar to the theme card, centered around the monthly book [spoiler redacted]. You open the tube and out fall five custom washi tapes. One is patterned with trees on a dark background, another one has moons printed in silver foil on black tape, a third has graphic skulls printed, a fourth reads Sisters. Sacrifice. in cursive text, and a fifth has dying leaves on it.

For swag item #2, y’all voted for “something helpful for reading and themed to a related fantasy”

You put the washi tapes aside and move onto the second item. It’s pretty flat and rectangular, and you unwrap the paper. It reveals a wooden bookmark with a stag in the middle and woodland scene depicted on the left half, and London on the right half. You check the spoiler card and discover that this is themed to Laura E. Weymouth’s The Light Between Worlds.

For swag item #3, y’all voted for “something super cozy and themed to a quote of this month’s book”

The next item is one of the largest in the box and has a decent heft. You pull it out of its extra plastic wrapping. It’s a pair of fuzzy slippers! And they have a quote printed on them in script–one sentence on each foot. “Especially in the dark. There are things back there.” The slippers are mostly nut brown except for the fluffy cream colored fuzz where the foot would be, and there’s a rubber gripping bottom on the slippers to make sure you don’t fall.

For swag item #4, y’all voted for “something quirky but fun” and I got to choose the design theme!

Moving on, the fourth item is also pretty small. You unwrap the sort of squishy package and find . . . shoelaces?! They’re a light gray with all sorts of pretty flowers stitched on them and would look awesome with your new pair of Converse. You check the spoiler card and find out that it’s themed to Anna-Marie McLemore’s Wild Beauty. Nice!

For the bonus book, y’all voted for “a backlist YA romcom!”

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You see the bonus book, wrapped in a thin layer of tissue paper, and you can almost make out the title, but not quite. Opening it, you find Ibi Zoboi’s Pride in paperback! This is exciting because you’ve been waiting for a push to read this and have heard awesome things about this book.

And what’s this?! Something else is wrapped in tissue paper. You were only told there were gonna be four swag items, so you open this up and find a She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller enamel pin! It’s a gold hard enamel pin with pink and yellow and it features the title of the book and an arm reaching out with a phone to take a selfie, similar to the book cover. You don’t know much about this book, but you check the spoiler card and find out that it’s a sister book coming out in September and this pin is courtesy of the publisher. Other people who got the box received branded Pop Sockets, while you were one of the ones that received a pin. You’ll have to go look it up once you finish unboxing this!

For the cool Book of the Month bonus, y’all voted for “edges!”

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You’re finally at the Book of the Month and it’s nestled in a roomy drawstring bag, black and speckled with silver sparkles like the wrapping paper. You open it, and pull out Amelinda Berube’s Here There Are Monsters. It’s pitched as “The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls” and features a sisterhood turned toxic, imaginary monsters, and deadly secrets. It’s a 100% spooky and terrifying book, and you’re excited to dive in! It has an ombre printed on the edges–starting with a pumpkin orange on the top, moving into a warm brown, and ending at the bottom with a midnight black.

It comes with a similarly themed bookmark, a letter from the author, and the book is signed! The author letter doubles as an art card with art similar to the theme card, but from a different artist and without any words on it.

Finally, you read the pamphlet telling you about this month’s box. Not only does it include more in-depth details of the contents, but it also recommends similar books that feature sisters and sacrifice, such as Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon, A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (singular sister), and Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (singular sister).

What do you think of the box?! Would you have been happy with how it turned out?

I personally would die if a book box ever included washi tape? I think that’s like my ultimate book box receiving dream. It’s just so useful for so many things, and it’s super cute. We got a really cool mix of contemporary and fantasy and horror in this, which I was excited about!

I don’t have time to write out a whole narrative for the other boxes or draw doodles, but I will tell you what I would have put in them!

The Forbidden Love Book Box

For the Forbidden Love theme, the items would be . . .

Swag Item #1 “something that is scented”: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan moisturizer that is scented with a gentle cherry blossom and subtle orange peel flavors. Good for sensitive skin and with ingredients you trust going on your skin because this is an imaginary book box.

Swag Item #2 “something helpful for note-taking”: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia sticky notes coming in multiple sizes–tabs, medium pads, and large pads. They’d be patterned with lettered quotes and fire imagery and papel picado with the same ombre on the cover & the sequel.

Swag Item #3 “something good for travelling”: A drawstring bag! Not just any drawstring bag, but a nice hefty canvas one with a front pouch zipper and interior pockets. It’d be themed with yellow-orange flowers printed on to fit the theme of this month’s book!

Swag Item #4 “something generally helpful”: Frankly in Love by David Yoon hair ties and scrunchies. Everything is in the same colors as the book cover, and the scrunchies are patterned in tiny hearts and books, appropriate for the novel!

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Bonus Book: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo in paperback! This book is perfect because Xiomara falls in love with Adam–someone her family can’t know about. From forbidden love to strong family themes, this novel in verse is perfect for the prompt.

And, the book of the month: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert! I’ve enjoyed every book from Brandy so far, and am immensely excited for Revolution! Birdie falls in love with Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past and someone her parents would never approve of. I would have edited the naked hardback to have a really cool stamp on the front & back with a silhouette of Birdie in red foil!

I’d also recommend stories like The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan, The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid, Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas, and The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala!

I’m honestly super happy with how this particular box turned out! I am head over heels for all the fandoms in this, and I love how I got to include a good mix of SFF AND contemporary, not just SFF. Forbidden love exists in many forms.

The Secret Identities Book Box

For the Secret Identities theme, the items would be . . .

Swag Item #1 “something I can write on/in”: A Charlotte Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro-Themed TBR Notepad, perfect for solving the mystery of what you should read next . . . It’d have cute illustrations similar to the book covers in full color.

Swag Item #2 “something everyone’s used before”: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho themed pens with little moons and foxes as the clicker on the pen! And a nice purple and blue gel ink with a glittery tinge, just to brighten your day.

Swag Item #3 “something that’s super helpful”: A pastel-colored umbrella with a beautiful landscape, themed to the monthly book! Think a landscape of pretty rolling hills and fields, some gentle shady trees, and beautiful, single-level architecture.

Swag Item #4 “something useful at cons”: A Technically You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson lanyard, which is appropriate since the main character in the novel goes to a lot of conventions with her family! It would be patterned with little hands texting and text bubbles and hearts.

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Bonus Book: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston in paperback, an Anastasia in space retelling! Perfect for the prompt Secret Identities.

And, the book of the month: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee, which is a historical novel feat. a Chinese girl writing under a pen name as a Miss Sweetie to address her Southern society’s ills. I would have edited the cover so the background is pink and her hat is a light blue!

I’d also recommend stories like The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta, Color Me In by Natasha Diaz, Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, and Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough!

This was the box with my favorite main book choice, and I also love how it turned out–not only because I got to fictionally create swag for Rocky Charlotte Holmes and other really underrated fandoms!

The Geeking Out Book Box

For the Geeking Out theme, the items would be . . .

Swag Item #1 “something I can share with friends”: miscellaneous Queens of Geek themed snacks! I think this is pretty fitting with how Queens of Geek takes place at a book convention, and you always need some snacks at a con! I’d pick things like Rainbow Goldfish! Pizza Pretzel Crackers! Rainbow Fruit Roll Ups!

Swag Item #2 “something everyone should have used”: Geekerella themed cards! I think these would just be adorable from silly puns to just super cute graphic art similar to the cover, they’d be perfect for thank you’s, hellos, congrats, and so much more! Some would be blank inside while others would have cute quotes or silly puns on the front. And there’d be silver foil as a little bonus!

Swag Item #3 “something I can drink out of”: A clear insulated drinking tumbler with fanart of the month’s book featured on it! It’d be something cute and tasteful (and embroidered) that you’d be happy carrying around, and work for hot and cold beverages!

Swag Item #4 “something kinda useless but cool”: A pair of Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram themed woven bracelets! One for you and one for a friend, or both for you! It’d be adjustable size and would be a woven pattern in the colors of the cover!

Bonus Swag: Because I think this box could use extra oomph, I’d throw in a fifth swag item that would be a Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy hand mirror with a pretty quote on the front and ~space vibes~!

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Bonus Book: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo is a good fit for this box because there are so many cool k-dramas featured in the story, and I love the super awkward secondhand embarrassment in this book! One of my faves!

And, the book of the month: Fan the Fame by Anna Priemaza! Set in the same world as Kat and Meg Conquer the World, her debut, this book features three teens at a gaming convention where each discover themselves in different ways. And as a bonus, it would have a double-sided dust jacked with the other side featuring the entire Meister Crew (and our main characters!) fighting a dragon.

I’d also recommend stories like Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Nocturna by Maya Motayne, This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada, and The Disasters by M.K. England!

This was probably the hardest box to plan, but I do love how it turned out! I think fandom & geekiness exist in many different ways, and I tried my best to grab a taste of all of these!

What did you think of this whole post?! Should I try doing this again another month?

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9 thoughts on “Build Your Own Book Box Wrap-Up: How Did the August Box Turn Out?

  1. Um, this is amazing? I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to purchase any of these boxes even though they’d likely cost me a ton. But they’re awesome! This is such a cool/awesome idea Vicky! Would definitely participate in the polling if you do it again this month 🙂

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  2. These book boxes all sound far better than the ones I am currently paying for. Would you do reasonable international shipping please, Vicky?? 😂
    Also, just quietly, I would totally back you on Kickstarter to create actual book boxes, especially with this much thought going into them. TBH I’d much rather have items from Queens of Geek, Wild Beauty and Charlotte Holmes than any more Sarah J Maas merch.

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  3. Ahhh Vicky, I love this SO much. I love the *idea* of book boxes but often they are filled with things I don’t want or don’t have a use for. The Sisters Sacrifice box sounded perfect though without any of the financial commitment :’) I am totally here for that washi tape tho

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