Last month, I received a special gift. A Strange Companion was the June selection for Once Upon a Book Club and I received my very own gift box.
Once Upon a Book Club is one of the most creative book crates I’ve seen out there. Each month’s box contains a copy of the selected book, a quote print from the story, and four wrapped gifts to be opened at specified pages in the book.
Each gift is directly related to the story, adding a new dimension and bringing the story to life. I couldn’t wait to open mine to find out what gifts they’d come up with. (If you happen to be in the middle of reading A Strange Companion and don’t want any spoilers, you might want stop reading this post until you’re done.)
Page 11: Kat meets Owen
In Chapter Two, Kat has her first awkward interaction with Owen. As they try to silently introduce themselves from their respective windows, Kat opens her notebook and draws a picture of a cat, flipping over the page to explain that her name is spelled with a K.
The page 11 gift was a handy little notebook, and when I opened the cover, there was Kat’s hand-drawn cat face. I loved this little extra touch.
You have to read all the way to page 99 before you can open the next gift. The wrapping on this gift was my favorite—a small box tied with colored pompoms that match the cover of the book. I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.
In Chapter Eleven, Kat’s brother and his family arrive for the Big Family Dinner and Kat’s mother, pretending to be annoyed, but really loving Jon’s attention, swats him with a tea towel. The gift inside the box was a bright-colored tea towel, with a very appropriate print that says, “Hello Sunshine.” Sunshine, of course, was Gabe’s pet name for Kat and it plays an important role in the story. This was a really fun, and useful, gift.
Page 190: “It’s just a game.”
As I was trying to imagine what objects from the story might become gifts, there was one I was pretty confident wouldn’t be included, and that’s the Ouija board Kat experiments with in Chapter Twenty. So, when I opened my gift for page 190, I was surprised and delighted to discover a very creative alternative, an Ouija board mouse pad! I haven’t decided yet if I’ll actually use it, in case it spells out an ominous message as I move my mouse around.
Page 190: Kat’s gift to her brother
By the very end of the book, Kat has a lot of making up to do for her bad behavior. In Chapter Thirty, she visits her brother to apologize and to take the gift that she had bought for him all the way back in Chapter Four when Mai first arrives. The picture I described is of “two trees on a silver background, their branches intertwined to create a single canopy of small red hearts where there would have been leaves. Underneath, in Chinese characters translated to English was a single word: Family.”
I had imagined this picture and chosen symbolism that was important for what Kat needed to acknowledge in the story, so I couldn’t believe it when I opened the final gift and found a framed print of the picture almost exactly as I had imagined in. Of all the gifts, I think this was the one that touched me the most.
I wasn’t the only one in my household to enjoy my subscription box. Felicity got her own bonus gift, which I can report, she thoroughly enjoyed.
It was such an honor to have my book selected for the box. I really enjoyed discovering my gifts and I also got to watch subscribers post their pictures of A Strange Companion and their gifts on Once Upon a Book Club’s Instagram feed (@onceuponabookclubbox).
You can find out more about Once Upon a Book Club at the website. And if you’d like your own A Strange Companion Gift Box or want to try one of their upcoming boxes, you can use the code LISA10 for a 10% discount.