What if Your Embarassing Blemish Became Your Greatest Strength?

INSPY Winner 2017 – Literature for Young Adults       

Unblemished by Sara Ella
Genre: young adult, inspirational, fantasy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: October 11, 2016
Reviewed by: Rachel Dixon
Fiction Addict Scorecard: A

As some of you may know, over the past couple of months I have been a part of the judging process for the INSPYs. It was my job to read and analyze the 5 books on the short list. Well, the winners were announced last week which means I FINALLY get to share my thoughts with YOU on all of these books! I decided it only appropriate to start with the WINNER in the Young Adult Literature category…Unblemished!

Eliyana can’t bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength?

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?*

As my brain tries to untangle itself from this crazy mess this book put it into, I will TRY to express my true emotions for this book.

First off, I love LOVE Sara Ella’s style. Written solely in first person, it is easy to follow her train of thought. I know that first person narratives can be an immediate turnoff for some people, but this one was done really well. It was also helpful having MANY references to modern day movies, songs, etc. making this the perfect book as an introduction to fantasy. It gives you a taste without drowning you. There is a lot of new terminology and locations, but it’s very easy to follow along. A couple of the names were similar and I got a little confused at the beginning, but I caught on and got it sorted easily.

As Eliyana searches for beauty and love she encounters so much more along the way. I really loved this theme. There were so many allegorical references to God’s love, God’s plan for us. I love how Sara wove the faith in. The Verity and the Void, the Light and the Dark, the Truth and Lies. #BookHangover at its finest right here. Clean and I felt it is very appropriate for young adults. I can NOT wait to read Unraveling now! (side note: I did in fact read Unblemished first, even though I post my review for Unravelling weeks ago.)

One thing that I could have done without, was the love triangle. Yes,you heard me right! I know that love triangles and Young Adult fiction goes hand in hand. But it would be nice to have a little break from that. In the end it was “needed” but I still could have done without it.

*Synopsis from Amazon.com


I love allegories. They have the ability to reach so many people and work on their hearts no matter what they believe or where they are in life. One aspect of the allegory in this book was in Joshua’s love for El. It mirrors (oops….I know I would do that) God’s love for us. Unconditional, unphased by outward appearance, He loves with all of his heart and soul.

**End Spoiler**

If you are a fan of YA Fiction, Fantasy, or allegories…Or all of the above…You really should give Unblemished a try! It didn’t win an INSPY for nothing…




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