Discussion Questions

Discussing books is amazing, and Book clubs are fun! Here are some discussion questions to consider should you want to gab about Clever, Cursed, & Storied with your bookish friends. Note: some of the questions at the bottom have spoilers. Read at your peril. 

Discussion Questions

1. In the original fairy tale, Annie is not transformed into a sheep. Rather her human head is replaced with a sheep’s head, and she wears a veil as she and Kate search to find magic. Why do you think Amy took the liberty of transfiguring Annie completely into a little lamb?


2. Have you ever eaten peacock? Have you ever eaten something that you feel cured an ailment?


3. Henry is sick and grouchy when he first meets Kate. Is this an adequate excuse for his rude behavior? Explain.


4. Kate is described as clever in the original fairy tale. In what ways is she clever? Is clever a trait that you value? How is cleverness taught to our young people? Is there a gendered divide when it comes to cleverness?


5. Kate tells stories within the story. Why did Amy use well known fairy tales instead of original tales? Did you have a favorite retelling in the story? Was there a fairy tale you wished was included that was left out?


6. How do the stories that Kate tells develop her and Henry’s character? How do they advance the plot?


7. Magic is inescapable in fairy tales. Do you believe that something as important as magic could be lost (by accident or design) from a society? Why or why not?


8. Henry places a curse on himself at the onset of the story. Amy learned as a freshman at university that self-fulfilling prophesies can be beneficial or detrimental in part because of a person’s belief that the prophecy will come true. Was Henry’s curse nothing more than a self fulfilling prophecy or was magic involved?


9. For Amy, part of the charm of this fairy tale is that there are not one but two HEAs. One for Kate and Henry and one for Annie and Nathan. Which HEA did you find more satisfying? Why do you think that is?


10. Why do you think this fairy tale is not as well known as say Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast? Does it deserve to be more widely known? Why or why not?


11. Consider Henry’s passion for dance compared to Kate’s passion for storytelling. Why is Henry’s art cannibalizing him, while Kate’s art is supporting her? How do artists and creatives ensure that their relationship to their craft stays positive and beneficial? When does our art sustain us and when does it consume us in unhealthy ways? Is there evidence that Henry or Kate have changed their approach to their art at the end of the story? How so?


12. Was it art, love, or magic that cured Henry? What about Annie?


13. Kate tells Henry her story the same day she meets him (even if she doesn’t identify herself as the protagonist). Have you ever confided in a complete stranger? If so, why do you think you did?


14. Was Henry’s father, King Jonas, justified in burning the kingdom’s library? Is there ever a good reason to burn books?


15. Kate uses stories in many ways in this book. What are different ways we use stories today? What is the most important function of storytelling?

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