I first saw OwlCrate on Instagram after a friend posted their elaborate un-boxing. The abundance of nerdy goodies along with a brand new book caught my attention. I’d tried a few subscription boxes before – I have a bit of an addiction – but never one for books. After stalking OwlCrate’s Instagram, Facebook, and website, I decided this was a subscription box worth splurging on.

Credit: @ellemichaelriver on Instagram

I like gifts. It will come to no surprise to my friends that after reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, my top love language is receiving gifts. I get giddy over a charity chocolate bar, and the best way to cheer me up is with a cup of hot coffee and a surprise. I’m a bit of a dragon; it’s just who I am.

I love subscription boxes. They are like monthly gifts to myself that come in the mail, and OwlCrate always seems to arrive on the day I need it the most. Opening my mailbox to find the brown box decorated with their signature owl sends my heart racing with anticipation. It’s all I can do to stop myself from tearing it open right there in my driveway.


OwlCrate does a fantastic job of packaging it’s contents. Everything is expertly placed within each crate creating a puzzle of excitement. I tried repackaging a box once, but I’m convinced OwlCrate’s employees are magic. I can’t get it to look as delicious as they do. This attention to detail adds to my suspense and to the quality of the box; the presentation pays off.

Credit: @ellemichaelriver on Instagram

In my six months of receiving OwlCrate, each month’s theme has captured my attention and imagination. Every box assembled showcases the featured book inside. I’ve explored a carnival, a pirate ship, and opened a box to horror and adventure. One of OwlCrate’s strongest features is its curation of complimentary, quirky, (sometimes exclusive) items from adorable vendors.

Owlcrate’s general theme is whimsy. I get a lot of candles that smell like holidays and spring. They decorate my bookshelves making my library a haven of calming aromas. Other fun items include bath bombs, stickers, patches, and lip balms. I’d describe the general feeling of the contents as feminine and romantic. This theme is important to consider when deciding to buy the subscription for yourself or as a gift.

The items included in each month’s box range in quality and quantity. My favorite items have to be the ones I can wear and use often. I love the pendant from the Daughter of the Pirate King box, the headscarf from The Upside of Unrequited box, and the zombie sleep mask from The Sandcastle Empire box. These items have sent me searching for their creators to acquire more literary themed items. I appreciate OwlCrate’s dedication to showcasing small businesses.

Credit: @ellemichaelriver on Instagram

I must mention that in every box, I receive a lot of postcards and buttons. While the artwork is gorgeous and these items help fill out a box, their long-term value is questionable. Many of the postcards find their way into the hands of my 5 year old daughter. She uses them for art projects. Yet the buttons often end up forgotten or bent.

If I could create my ideal OwlCrate box, it would have less trinkets and more full-sized items. A book, a pair of socks, and a literary themed coffee mug would have me over the moon.  Also, any time Owlcrate puts in a Funko Pop! character is a special treat. I hope they continue to surprise us with more.

Credit: @ellemichaelriver on Instagram

The main event of any OwlCrate box is the book. I’ve had friends ask me why I spend $30 every month on OwlCrate, and my answer is always because of the book.

Each month, OwlCrate gives you a hard copy of a newly released YA novel. This alone is worth the $30 for me. In the age of Kindles and digital media, there is something special and sacred about turning crisp pages with your hands. These are first edition books, sealed in plastic, and often containing words from the author. For a book connoisseur, this alone is worth the subscription.

I haven’t loved every title OwlCrate has sent me, but this isn’t due to the quality of their curation. Instead, it’s due to their commitment to diversity. I am impressed with the variety of genres, perspectives, and themes that OwlCrate offers. Too often we get caught in our own little bubble, afraid to step into the unknown, defensive of what feels like our identity and space. I am grateful to Owlcrate’s picks in literature for stretching my pallet and my imagination.

Credit: @ellemichaelriver on Instagram

You should subscribe to OwlCrate if: you are a reader, a dreamer, or love gifts and a good story. OwlCrate’s curation of YA novels is exceptional. Their inclusion of themed items is fun to un-box, and will lead you to fall in love with other small businesses.

Also, the OwlCrate online community is vibrant, friendly, and welcoming. OwlCrate has some of the most talented, artistic, and thoughtful fans that I’ve come across. Posting an un-boxing leads to new friendships every month. If you decide to order OwlCrate, I strongly suggest considering the 3 or 6 month option. You might not love every box or every book, but you will always be treated to thoughtful, refined adventure.

Credit: @ellemichaelriver on Instagram
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5 Responses

  1. This is a great review. I have never heard of OwlCrate, but I think this would be a great gift for my elementary schoolteacher daughter, who, like you, loves receiving gifts of a literary nature, and is always on the lookout for books she can add to her classroom library. YA is one of her favorite genres. Thank you for the review. I will definitely check it out.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Jim! OwlCrate also has a Junior edition for kids 8-12, so depending on what age she teaches, she might enjoy that box too. Both are great, and I’ve loved receiving them for the past year. -E

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