Gunnison Valley author encourages young women to focus on true beauty in debut novel
By Robert Stevens
GUNNISON — A Gunnison Valley author has written a book that addresses the issues of unrealistic body images and self-worth in young girls.
Sara Larson of Gunnison wrote the book, titled “Unblemished,” under her pen name Sara Ella.
“Unblemished” is a work of fiction, but it draws attention to the concept of inner beauty when its main character, a teenage girl name Eliyana can’t bear the sight of her own reflection due to a birthmark that covers half her face.
“At the heart of ‘Unblemished’ are timely and ever-important messages of self-worth, inner beauty and remembering and embracing what’s real — which doesn’t include Photoshop, filtering or letting your ‘flaws’ get the best of you, ” Larson said. “Being a teen girl can be such a hard time, and there’s so much in the media that makes us feel ‘less.’
“I want girls to be able to celebrate who they are and stop comparing themselves to these fake images we see on social media and in magazines. (I want them) to stop ‘shopping those selfies’ and remember that they’re beautiful. Priceless. A treasure.”
“Unblemished” is Larson’s debut novel, and she said she tried to give young adult readers a story in which true beauty from within is unapologetically celebrated — and where so-called “flaws” can be the source of unimaginable power and strength.
Larson says her book’s main character, Eliyana, finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. The world is enslaved by a powerful and vile man, and only Eliyana — whose blemish comes with a heavy responsibility — holds the answer to defeating him.
“She (Eliyana) is not your typical young adult fantasy heroine,” Larson said.
Once upon a time, Larson said, she dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Though her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, Larson has worked for Disney, which she said was an enchanted moment of its own.
A passionate reader and YouTube “BookTube” star, Larson’s writing has appeared in Shine Brightly and Thriving Family magazines, as well as online on Drama Queen Ministries.
A graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, Larson has won several industry awards, including first place in the young adult category for both the 2013 American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) First Impressions Contest and the 2014 ACFW Genesis Contest.
Find Larson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and on her