Unblemished series / by Sara Ella. 12.1.2017

Unblemished / by Sara Ella. (Umblemished, Book 1)

Thomas Nelson ISBN 9780718081010

YA Grades 9-12 Rating: 5

Unraveling / Sara Ella. (Umblemished, Book 2)

Thomas Nelson ISBN 9780718081034

YA Grades 9-12 Rating: 4

Sara Ella is a new voice in young adult fiction. She combines elements from fairy tales and fantasy to create young adult fiction that will captivate the reader.

In Umblemished, Eliyana Ember has a large facial birthmark. Joshua David, her closest friend, treats her as if the birthmark is normal, even a thing of beauty, leading her to finally believe she is worthy to be loved. She is just a few weeks short of her eighteenth birthday when tragedy strikes.

Her mother is presumed dead when she doesn’t come home one night. Joshua becomes her legal guardian, complicating their relationship. Things get strange quickly, from a hooded stalker, to travel to a parallel world, to being pursued by an evil man.

Soon she is faced with two possible suitors: her guardian Joshua, and Kyaphus. On top of this, Eliyana discovers her birthmark is a symbol of hope in this new world. How can she be the one to save others when she can’t even decide between them?

In Unraveling, Eliyana will be crowned queen soon. Joshua who was raised to be king, wants Kyaphus out of the picture because Eliyana is torn between her feelings for both of them. Those feelings have a devastating effect on those around them.

Eliyana’s dream life begins to unravel. Both Joshua and Kyaphus love her, but who does she really love–the man she fell in love with over the past three years or the one who knows her better but for a shorter time? Our princess faces two charming suitors who care for her differently–which one is her true love? And how will her choice affect those around her? What lengths will they go to, in order to win her hand forever?

Ella gives readers a strong heroine who overcomes adversity to take her place in the battle of good vs. evil. Callings (gifts) play a role in the story and are symbols for a life of faith. Ella gives us a tale of the not-so-beautiful-in-our-world princess who is beautiful in another world because of her blemish.

Unblemished was nominated for the INSPY Award (Literature for Young People), 2017 Christy award, and 2017 Carol award. Unbreakable (Book 3) is expected in May 2018.

Carol R. Gehringer, CLJ