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November 2016 BookCase.Club "Teenage Dreams" Review
You probably wouldn’t be able to tell from my posts on Monthly Box Hub, but I’m an avid writer/reader of young adult fiction. I tend to avoid book subscriptions because their appeal is based largely on the books that they contain, and without knowing those books ahead of time, it’s difficult to tell whether it’s a good investment or not. Other people might have a higher tolerance for random books, but I prefer to only spend time reading books I really, really want to read.
However, I decided to try giving BookCase.Club a try after seeing that they included the book EXQUISITE CAPTIVE by Heather Demetrios in their Blind Date box last month, which is a book I had been wanting to read. Although included in their Blind Date box rather than their Teenage Dreams box, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE is a young adult novel, which is the category I tend to read (because it’s also what I write.) BookCase.Club allows subscribers to choose from a variety of box types based on genres to maximize the chances of subscribers receiving books they will enjoy.
At only $10 per month for two books, BookCase.Club was a low-risk way to try out a book subscription box. Because I read young adult books, I chose the Teenage Dreams box, which in the past has featured books such as THE WITCHES OF ECHO PARK by Amber Benson, THE YOUNG WORLD by Chris Weitz, and SEEKER by Arwen Elys Dayton. These books all fall under the realm of speculative fiction (encompassing sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal), my preferred genre. With this understanding, I expected I’d be happy with the box as long as it came with at least one speculative fiction book.
So, what did I get?
The first book in the November 2016 BookCase.Club “Teenage Dreams” box was a hardcover edition of MAYBE ONE DAY by Melissa Kantor. Here is the book description from Goodreads.com:
|Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend's life-threatening illness.
Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.
Even when she isn't sure what to say.
Even when Olivia misses months of school.
Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.
The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.
In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.
Clearly, this is realistic fiction about cancer rather than the speculative fiction I’d hoped for. Knowing that the Teenage Dreams box covers a variety of genres, I wouldn’t have minded getting one realistic fiction book if the other book was speculative fiction. And in defense of this book, it is well-reviewed - more-so than books that BookCase.Club has included in the past. I appreciate that the quality of the book seems higher than other selections, even if it’s not my preferred genre.
Estimated value: $7 (Source: Amazon.com)
The second book was another reality fiction selection fittingly titled REALITY BOY by A.S. King in a paperback form. Here is the book description from Goodreads.com:
|Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.
Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.
In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.
So, another realistic fiction book. This book is based on an interesting concept, but it’s simply not the type of book I like to read. I think many people will enjoy this book, but I am not one of them.
Estimated value: $7 (Source: Amazon.com/BetterWorldBooks.com)
Overall, the November 2016 BookCase.Club box provided about $14 worth of books. For a box that costs $10 plus shipping, that is a fair value.
I have very mixed feelings about the box. Here’s the thing: I won’t be reading either of these books. Thus, from my perspective, the $10 was a waste. However, I knew that I was taking a risk in ordering the box, so I’m not upset. Just a bit disappointed, because the past months of the “Teenage Dream” box made me think I’d be getting at least one speculative fiction book.
Despite this negative experience, I would still recommend BookCase.Club to other people. The main determinant of whether you should get it or not is whether you think you would enjoy any of their box types from among the following:
Blind Date: Paranormal Romance
Strange Worlds: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Teenager Dreams: Young Adult
Thrill Seeker: Mystery/Thriller
Read to Me: Children’s Picture Books
Booking for Love: Romance
Cookbooks (sent quarterly)
Military History (sent quarterly)
Because the adult genres are more defined, people who read adult books should have better chances of receiving books that suit their interests. As long as you receive books that you will want to read, BookCase.Club provides a good value.
If you’re interested in trying BookCase.Club, you can get 10% off your first month with coupon code “CRATEJOY”.
Recommended for: people who want reasonably-priced books and are flexible about selections