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Unblemished, by Sara Ella: Review

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? "

Sara Ella's Unblemished surprised me in a hundred wonderful ways. I've never been one for fantasy/contemporary mash-ups, but somehow travelling from New York City to a semi-medieval world through the looking glass completely and totally worked. Ella's voice is quirky, frosted with pop culture references and a sprinkling of Disney-esque magic, and even though the story/back story is a little difficult to follow at times, I want more of it. Like, now.

The premise of Eliyana's strange birthmark and the hit her heart repeatedly takes because of it resonates profoundly. Her desire to be loved despite a lifetime of self-hatred is something many young women can relate to, and while Eliyana's struggle is clear, I never felt she harped on it. She is a strong, vibrant, honest character and extremely sympathetic because of it. And in addition to the protagonist, Ella's cast of characters is equally intriguing . . . or downright adorable.

Content Notes: Eliyana attends a party featuring alcohol, and . . . yeah. That's kind of it. Violence is never gratuitous, profanity is non-existent, romance never extends beyond the simple magic of a true love's kiss.

Brimming with selflessness, love, and a battle between ultimate good and ultimate evil, Unblemished is a beautiful, magical, unforgettable read. Bring on book two!

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