My first Book of the Month YA box: hit or miss?

If you follow me on YouTube or Twitter, you know that I recently became an affiliate for Book of the Month YA this past month! I won’t lie, friends: I was shocked. I’m not even sure why. Lots of my friends and mutuals have also recently been selected as affiliates. I love that Book of the Month is giving these chances to smaller creators such as myself!

With a grateful heart, I selected my book for my first box. You can view the unboxing here, but if you’d like to jump right ahead into spoilers, the book I chose was Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry. There was almost no hesitation, if I’m being honest. This book had been on my radar for a little while after I saw Rocky’s review of it in a wrapup. It intrigued me, and I was delighted to see it as an option in the August BOTM YA lineup.

But while I was certainly excited, I was also a little worried. Somewhere around high school, I stopped buying books and instead became an avid library user. I have three library cards and a little system created for myself for checking out books across all three. I feel like it’s a bit of a trust issue on my part. I want to be able to read a book without the risk of disliking it and knowing that I’m “stuck” with it. But this year, I’ve made a goal for myself to buy more books. I want that feeling of taking a chance on something because you think it sounds interesting then. I can always donate unwanted books to the library or to Little Free Libraries and make sure that books remain accessible.

Still. Still, still, still.

The first thing I’ll say about Hello Girls is maybe a silly one: it was a lot of fun to hold. I’ve never owned a tall hardback before! Despite my small hands, it fit comfortably in my grip and even fit in my book sleeve~ I also felt like I had to show it off to everyone for some reason. I held it proudly on my commutes to work. One woman on the F train was reading a Book of the Month edition of Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key. Maybe we bonded for a second?

As for the book itself, wow. Wow wow wow. I think I was perhaps expecting something a little different going into it. The darker tones of the cover, plus the plot of running away from difficult families, made me think I was getting into perhaps a small thriller. I’ve tried to hold on to summer for as long as I could, but my brain is already shifting into the thrills and chills of autumn, so that could have played a part in that assumption.

While there was a good deal of anxiety and waiting to see what happened next, the book has a surprisingly light tone. Not that it was all fun and fluff, mind you, but taking into consideration the horrors and ordeals that the girls were escaping, I didn’t expect as much dark humor and banter as there was. I felt myself fiercely wanting a friendship as loyal and easy as Lucille and Winona’s. You get the feeling that they would really do anything for each other, and there’s absolutely no hesitation in it. They can read each other with ease, and they ultimately make a great team. There were moments when you could feel them clinging desperately to each other, and it wasn’t exactly for fear of losing the other so much as for fear of the desperation of each scenario that called for a much-needed reminder that their Person was still there. Friendships can be really intense that way, especially when they’re built on pain from external sources.

The vibes of this novel were also so easy to sink into. I love books about road trips, and this one might be one of my new top favorites in that category. The best way I can describe this vibe is 3am television. It feels sort of distant from the rest of the world, ensnaring you in a world made up of weird infomercials and cheap motels with people that barely even seem real. It feels like waking up from a hazy dream to see Roseanne or George Lopez playing softly on your TV and casting a weird glow onto your bedroom walls. Normally almost any feeling similar to dissociation makes me wildly uncomfortable, but this kind I welcome wholeheartedly. It feels like a strange nostalgia.

I had a ton of fun reading Hello Girls, and if I’m being honest I’d definitely be willing to read it again in the near future. So, does that also mean I’d trust Book of the Month to send me a great book in the future?

Basically, yes! I’m thoroughly pleased with how well this selection played out. Of course, apart from this affiliate box, I bought my own in July when they featured Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, one of my new favorite books, because I wanted one of my friends to experience it as well. Since they’ve now featured two books that have become two new favorites, I think it’s safe to say that I trust Book of the Month’s selections going forward.

If you want to try out Book of the Month YA, you can use the code GROW to join for $9.99 for the month of September! This month’s list has some highly anticipated releases to choose from~ ☀️


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