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A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Contributor(s): Kemmerer, Brigid

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ISBN: 1681195089     ISBN-13: 9781681195087
Publisher: Bloomsbury Ya
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Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: January 2019

Annotation: A lush retelling of Beauty and the Beast finds a cursed prince reliving the same autumn over and over in the form of a dangerous monster, hoping to save his kingdom and win the heart of a girl from the real world. By the author of the Elementals series.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Blessing and cursing; Fiction.
Magic; Fiction.
Cerebral palsy; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2018010847
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 6.00" W x 1.50" (1.40 lbs) 484 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):

Brigid Kemmerer is the author More Than We Can Tell, Letters to the Lost, and the Elementals series. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland.

Reviewed by PW Annex Reviews (Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews)

Action, tension, and tragedy fuel this retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" by YA author Kemmerer (More Than We Can Tell). Harper, a high school senior with cerebral palsy, gets abducted while trying to thwart a kidnapping in Washington, D.C. She awakes at Ironrose Castle in Emberfall, where a vengeful enchantress, Lilith, has cursed Prince Rhen and his guard, Commander Grey, to continually relive the autumn of Rhen's 18th year. Every three months, unless he finds love, Rhen becomes a monster who kills indiscriminately. Afterward, the castle grounds reset, and Grey secures Rhen another potential mate. Harper has no intention of being wooed and plans to negotiate with Lilith for passage home, but after she discovers that a ruthless queen plans to invade Emberfall, she begins to reconsider. Harper and Rhen share the narration, building an alliance while fighting their burgeoning romance, and artfully rendered, emotionally complex secondary characters add depth and raise stakes. This enthralling modern fable champions altruism while illustrating intimacy's relationship with honesty, respect, trust, and consent. Ages 13–up. Agent: Mandy Hubbard, Emerald City Literary. (Jan.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 November)

Gr 9 Up—Prince Rhen, heir to Emberfall, is cursed to repeat the autumn of his 18th birthday until he can find a woman to fall in love with him even as he transforms each season into a monstrous beast. The season resets after every failure—all 327 of them. When Harper intervenes in what looks like an abduction on the streets of Washington, DC, she is transported into another world. Instead of worrying about her dying mother or the risks her brother is taking to pay off their absent father's debts to a loan shark, Harper is trapped in Emberfall at the center of the curse. Harper, who has cerebral palsy, is shocked to learn that she is Rhen's last chance to break the curse. But Harper isn't sure if the fate of a kingdom can be enough to make her fall in love. Kemmerer's "Beauty and the Beast" retelling introduces a unique world filled with fantasy and menace. Rhen is an accomplished if pessimistic strategist while Harper is impulsive to the point of recklessness. Despite their obvious tension and occasional chemistry, Rhen's evolving friendship with his guard commander Grey is often more compelling than Harper's interactions with either man. While Harper and Rhen accomplish much over the course of the novel, this installment has little in the way of closure. VERDICT Rich world-building, hints of a love triangle, and unresolved questions will leave readers anxious to see what happens next. A strong choice.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.
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