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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,187 ratings  ·  505 reviews
There is more than one way to drown.

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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Moriah Kelly It depends on the maturity. Since it is based on mental health, there are a few scenes of the aftermath of s*lf-h*rm, so it could be a bit intense for…moreIt depends on the maturity. Since it is based on mental health, there are a few scenes of the aftermath of s*lf-h*rm, so it could be a bit intense for them. It isn't gory or anything, but it could be a little intense for a moment. It all is just in the maturity. (less)
Kyra Bredenhof It has no bad language, no sex. It's very clean and just purely a good read. …moreIt has no bad language, no sex. It's very clean and just purely a good read. (less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,187 ratings  ·  505 reviews

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Sara Ella
May 23, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Trigger Warning & A Note to My Readers:

(*You will find this note at the beginning of this book as well.*)

For my friends who have experienced trauma, a warning—this story may be triggering. I have done my best to approach the mental health topics addressed in this book in the most sensitive and caring way possible. But even all the research and sensitivity readers in the world would never make it so I could approach every aspect of mental health from every perspective. Your experience is unique t
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
Coral, a modern-reimagining of The Little Mermaid, follows three perspectives through their struggles with mental illness.

Coral: A little mermaid who lost her oldest sister to Red Tide, a condition that mirrors depression.

Estranged and misunderstood by the rest of her family, Coral sets out to find the Prince she blames for her older sister's demise.

Merrick: A young man whose controlling father is definitely the villain of his story.

After his little sister attempts suicide, and their mother runs
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Allison at Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

DNF at 55% for two reasons.

1. I'm confused - at one point or another I must have zoned out because I am quite confused and don't really know what's going on

2. Suicide/mental illness - there are a lot of themes surrounding mental illness and I always love to see those representations in books. Unfortunately, I'm going through a patch of particularly strong anxiety so I'm really sensitive to triggers. Als
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Coral by Sara Ella is a young adult fantasy that is a loosely based retelling of the Little Mermaid. This one is a rather dark version of the classic that comes with a long list of trigger warnings for readers including suicide, self-harm, emotional abuse, anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and unwanted/non-consensual advances.

The book begins with Coral, our mermaid, who is different than all the others around her. Corals fears she has contracted a deadly disease that her older sister
Amanda Hupe
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-reads, netgalley
Just look at that cover. It isn’t hard to imagine why I wanted to read Coral by Sara Ella. Between the cover and finding out it has a fairy tale twist, I just could not pass it up. However, if you struggle with depression, mental illness and have certain triggers. You may want to avoid my review.


Coral is a mermaid and her father is the King. She has two sisters, Jordan and The Crown Princess. Emotions are for humans, not merpeople. The Crown Princess is struggling
Trina (Between Chapters)
Full disclosure: Sara Ella is a friend of mine and I was sent an ARC copy of the book for review. For me, some elements were 3 stars, some were 5 stars.

The worst I can say about it is that I spent a lot of time being confused about the timeline - I was reading too much into it, making up theories that I was WAY of about, so I think if you just take it at face value and allow the story to play out in its own time you won't feel the confusion that I did.

The best I can say is that Sara captures a l
Jane Maree
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Coral is such a raw, beautiful story. It left me breathless and desperately wanting more, yet it was so satisfying in what it was, and ended so perfectly.

The characters are all so real. I felt their struggles in me. I felt their struggles in my friends. Coral, Brooke, Merrick, Hope, Grim, Nikki, Jake, Beck, Miss Brandes. Pieces of them are pieces of me, and that was amazing to read.

It's an incredibly brave thing to do: to write a story like this about mental health. For Sara Ella to be vulnerabl
Erin Phillips
Mar 06, 2022 rated it liked it
I didn’t dock any stars for the graphic/explicit way that suicide and cutting are approached in this book thanks to the Author’s trigger warning at the very beginning. It is, however, a very necessary trigger warning and should be taken seriously. If you currently struggle with suicidal thoughts or self-harm, I would caution you against reading this book.

There were a lot of great one-liners in this book. My favorite was probably

“True love makes life, even a broken one, worth fighting for.”

The au
Laura Grace
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

I'm not 100% sure what to say.

Coral was nothing like expected, but everything I needed.

It ripped off the "blinders" concerning mental health in a way where these characters are not just characters on the page. They are reflections of real people, real stories. It made me realize that it can be so easy due to social media to feel "involved" in others' lives, but also make us feel like a mermaid out of water. That so many of us struggle with
Alysha (For The Love of Christian Fiction)
This book hits different. It’s deep and emotional and so many people need this story.

I’m beyond thankful Sara fought through the difficulties she had writing this story. This story could be the thing that saves someone’s life.

Such an unique twist on a well known fairytale! She did an amazing job wrapping everything up, and making me feel every emotion!

Sara is queen of plot twists and I loved them all. (Even though they broke my heart)

If you know anyone who has depression, if YOU have depression
R.F. Gammon
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lyrical, painful, and real. Was slightly distracted by two of the main characters having the same first names as my two best friends.
Dec 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-tellings
This was so deep and incredible! It was slow at first (especially cause I got bad Merrick vibes), but I was about halfway through and didn't put it down until I was finished! (which was about 10 at night) I was so stuck on how they all connected and it was still fuzzy until one sentence in the last chapter that straightened everything up (plus, it was almost midnight) But it was SO GOOD! You guys really need to read this! I felt for the characters, and unnamed's death was really sad... Anyway, p ...more
Alabama Rose
Honestly I think this is my new favourite book.

My heart hurts so much. I... cried. Which I never do. Like not just tearing up but I actually cried. (I also stayed up until 3am to finish the book, which I also never do. No regrets lol)

Everything was just handled so well, while still being real and raw and painful.

This book brought up so many emotions and memories and struggles. It was hard because of the triggers in the book, but I also felt in some ways that it helped me deal with those emotions
Mel (Epic Reading)
While I appreciate what Sara Ella is trying to do with Coral it just didn’t work for me.
Unfortunately the twists that might make a book like this work feel flat or are just confusing. The focus of the story is not related to mermaids at all. It’s really about depression and suicide (and not really in a new way or one that resonated with me); that one of our gals starts as a mermaid is generally irrelevant.
The love story is okay, but features frustrating moments and is very teen angsty. I strugg
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a big emotional read. It deals with emotional trauma and the many faces of mental illness in the most original way possible. Reading it was sometimes confusing, but in the end, it felt like I was wearing the story like a blanket. It's a part of who I am now. Depression, anxiety... it's an illness. Nothing is what it seems at first glance. You can't never know what's inside everyone's head, what they are thinking and feeling, beside their smile. The most important part of the story, for m ...more
Lily - Books by Starlight
I absolutely LOVED reading this book and I will definitely re-read this in the future too!! The first half of the book felt really heavy and if I'm going to be honest, I wasn't sure I was ready to read the rest, but I'm super glad I did! Learned a lot from this one, both about myself and others. ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Okay... this got SUPER confusing at the end. I may have to reread it to fully get it (I think I read it too quickly hahah).
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- Two Stars
Older High School Teens- Two Stars
My personal Rating- Two Stars

{{ Major trigger warnings to those sensitive to suicide, self-harm, emotional abuse, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and unwanted advances. }}
{{ Ratings are for content, please decide for yourself on what content/topics you are okay with. }}

I knew this book was a Little Mermaid retelling (though, perhaps, reimagined would be best like the author sa
Christine Smith
Wow. This book. Heartrending, beautiful, powerful, healing--it touched me in so many ways. It's one I will be recommending forever. ...more
Jun 08, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This was a good read, though it's admittedly more contemporary than speculative fiction (despite what the premise might seem to imply). As a work of contemporary fiction, I loved the themes Ella chose to tackle and thought the characters' complexity and depth were rather spot-on. The first time reading through the book, I found the plot a bit confusing due to a certain plot twist--but the second read clarified things in that regard. I appreciate Christian authors who are willing to deal with the ...more
Marta Cox
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, my-reviews
Absolutely beautiful, heart breaking and ultimately about the power of love. I note that many view this as a retelling of The Little Mermaid but I beg to disagree. I found this to be slightly inspired by it yes but only as a vehicle to tell a profound story about depression and the ugly consequences.
This quite rightly carries a trigger warning as it's a very heavy subject but told in a deft intriguing way. Its surprising, profound and imaginative. Told initially from the point of view of Coral
Merie Shen
Ooooookay.... That was brilliant. Beautifully textured, vibrant, deep, and raw. I understand the hype now.
Marie Tankersley

4.5/5 stars.
This was so unexpectedly raw and real. A very realistic portrayal. I had to close the book and just stare at my wall pondering what I had just read or I would have to stop reading because I was hit with so much feeling and sympathy. I think if I had read this a few years ago I would have been very overwhelmed in all sorts of ways, but I am happy that I read it now and it touched my heart in such unexpected ways. I would be wary of recommending this to anyone, because despite th
Jun 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book has been on my to-read list for forever it seems. As an avid fairytale fan--and obsessive lover of mermaids--I absolutely had this book on my radar. And, thanks to my friend who agreed to buddy read it with me before Realm Makers next month, I finally decided to just do it.

So, originally I thought this was a little mermaid retelling. It's not. It's a reimagining. For those of you who are die hard fairytale nerds like me, just know that going in. I kept trying to figure out how the piec
rue  mortensen
Jan 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-health
3.5 stars (rounded up to 4)

coral was beautifully written ahh. i found myself loving so so many lines. sara ella's writing style is incredible, and i adore it. i will be sure to read another book by her.

the characters were so well written,, like so incredibly well written ahh. coral was adorable (and am i the only one who read her as autistic??), brooke was so...i can't even put it into words (her character development was so well done), and merrick has been added to my list of fictional crushes
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to put into words how I feel about this book. It's heartbreaking and tragic as it realistically portrays the pain of suicide, depression, and anxiety, but it's hopeful in that it doesn't end there. The beauty of this story is that it gives lasting hope to those who are struggling with mental health while encouraging them to hold on a little longer.

These kinds of books are so needed in our world where mental health is stigmatized, but people aren't often given any hope beyond our prese
Ughhhhhhh I wanted to like this book so bad!!


Listen, before I get into this review, I want to applaud Sara Ella. Mental health is so complex, and people who don't deal with it just don't understand. What the author tried to do here is fantastic, she tried to spread an awareness and understanding of people who struggle with loss and poor mental health.

When I picked up this book, and one of the first lines was, "You are not nothing, my friend, and neither am I." I wanted to cry!! I have struggle
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it

**Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

"Coral" is a loose retelling of the classic tale of "The Little Mermaid". I'm not super familiar with all the nitty-gritty details of the classic, just the kids friendly Disney version that most of the general population have come to love. Aside from this, I can confirm it is a VERY loose retelling.

This book has a very interesting premise, but once I started to read it I began to lose interest
hallie bertling
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i'm going to attempt to put into (just a few) words how an anticipated book release can exceed any & all expectations.

it's like THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER. but instead of magical realism, it's a fairy tale. but instead of a fairy tale, it's real life.

with subtle references to the original hans christian andersen "the little mermaid" fairy tale, and deftly woven allusions to the disney classic, sara ella's CORAL stands on its own as a powerful tribute to life, loss, hope, depression, and ment
Anubha (BooksFullOfLife, LifeFullOfBooks)
I don't want to ever read this book, never ever again. I don't even know what all I should point in the book I hated, cuz I disliked the entirety of it, so cliché, so unoriginal. Nope. No. ...more
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Coral by Sara Ella - Starting September 7th 2019 2 12 Aug 24, 2019 11:59AM  

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Once upon a time, SARA ELLA dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it's almost Christmas (even if it's only January). When she's not writing, Sara might be found behind her camera lens or planning her next adventure in the great wide somewhere. She ...more

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