This month’s FYA Book Club selection is A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. Check out the discussion questions below! (Slight spoilers ahead.)

P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!


Kemmerer said she thought up the idea of this story after seeing Beauty and the Beast and wondering what happened to all the villagers who lived under the rule of the Beast. Are there any other stories (fairy tales or otherwise) that had you curious about the parts that weren’t “shown”?


1. Harper experiences quite a shock as a “real world” character thrown into a fantasy world, but she holds her own against royalty, invading armies, and temperamental mages. Did you find her initial reactions realistic? What did you think of her character choices? Did you have a favorite Harper moment? And how did you feel about the author writing her as a character with cerebral palsy?

2. Prince Rhen’s curse comes about in large part because his royal ancestors are kind of royal jerks, and before the curse he was well on his way to becoming a jerk too. Did you find him to be a sympathetic character, especially as you learned more about how the rest of Emberfall was also suffering under the curse? How did he rank compared to other “Beasts”?

3. Did you think it was realistic that many people in Emberfall believed Harper “of Disi” to be a princess from another land?

4. Retellings of “classics” have always been popular. Do you enjoy retellings? Is there a story you wish would get “reworked”?

5. Did you sense any love triangle between Harper, Rhen, and Grey? What did you think of the outcome of Harper and Rhen’s relationship? Is there a pairing you prefer?

6. The sequel to A Curse is already out (A Heart So Fierce and Broken), and the third and final book will come out in January 2021. Do you plan on continuing with the series? If so, what do you think will happen in the next installment to Grey, Harper, and Rhen?

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.