This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl: such a beautiful story

Title: 17675031This Star Won’t Go Out

Author: Esther Earl (along with entries from parents Lori and Wayne Earl, and an introduction by John Green)

Genre: memoir

Published by: Penguin Teen Australia

Published in: January 2014

Length: 431 pages

Source: I bought it!


A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.


I was prepared for a sob-fest reading this book. In part, I got it. But I also got a deeply positive, loving, funny account of a teenager’s last few years of life.

This is Esther:

john green vlogbrothers g esther earl

The first time I heard of Esther was when I started watching the Vlogbrothers videos in 2012. I met her through those videos, and as I kept working through, I got to the video where John Green talked about Esther passing away. I’d never cried at a Youtube video before that one. So it was through Nerdfighteria that I heard about her, and I knew that I had to read this book. She sounded like an extraordinary girl…and she was. And that shines through in this book. She inspired a lot of The Fault in Our Stars – in some parts I could see direct parallels. And it’s so sad that she never got a chance to read it.

john green the fault in our stars fishingboatproceeds vlogbrothers esther earl *my attempts at photoshop

The thing is, it’s not just sad. I mean, yeah, it’s sad, but there is such positivity in her journal entries. I’m not sure how. If I was dying I’d probably just cry 24/7. Not Esther. Part of it might be because of her faith, which was really strong. But I’m sure most of it is that she was just such a positive, making-the-most-of-life person.

My favourite parts to read were those that described her online relationships. There’s this weird assumption that online friendships are less valid than ones in real life. But Esther and her friends, a group known as Catitude, proved this wrong. Reading about such an incredible friendship made me really happy. Yes, happy! Despite how sad this story is, and how much I’m angry that Esther died, it doesn’t take away from the fact that she enjoyed her time here, and her family and friends cherished that.

Of course I bawled towards the end, but that’s expected. And John Green’s introduction made me tear up.

If there’s one thing you take from this book, let it be this: romantic love is overvalued in our society, but love for family and friends needs to be heard more. Tell people you love them.

Esther means star. We will remember her. This Star Won’t Go Out. 

Rating: 5/5 Wonderkitties


28 thoughts on “This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl: such a beautiful story

  1. I want to read it because TFIOS was so awesome, but I don’t know if I’ll survive without bawling my head off. (I have goosebumps just now after reading your review.) It’s just so sad and unfair…and these people have such awesome attitudes. Kind of puts me to shame! >_<

    • Cait, my reading class just finished reading the 1959 play based off of “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank. Your comment reminded me of the last line of the play when Mr. Frank says “She puts me to shame” after reading this sentence in Anne’s diary: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Just like Esther, Anne maintained a positive attitude during tough times and thus, Mr. Frank was ashamed that he didn’t have such a positive attitude.

  2. So glad you enjoyed this book, Emily! I brought myself a copy not too long ago, but haven’t got the courage up to read it yet. I love that the positivity of Esther shines through in her journals, despite the sadness. I think this is a book that every teenager should read.

  3. Would you believe that this review actually teared me up a little? *rubs eyes with the back of her hand* Esther sounds like an amazingly strong person, to be able to endure her grave experience with shining positivity. If I were her, I’d always be a crying, sobbing wreck, and I wouldn’t be able to see life in the same light again. It’s so nice of John Green to have spread about her legacy like this, considering how much influence he has on your young ‘uns. Mad respect for this man.

    Great review, my dear!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • Aww, I’m sorry! I purposefully tried to make it…like, not a sad review. It could have been much worse, believe me. Esther sounds like she was incredible person – but it was also emphasised that she’s not perfect, because that just dehumanises people who are sick, you know? But yeah, an amazing, amazing person.

  4. I am definitely reading this soon and I’m sure I am gonna wake up with red puffy eyes again. One can never understand how to deal with death unless you are like Esther and I admire that she’s all smiles and that she’s strong despite all the pain she’s going through. Great review!

  5. These kinds of stories are ones I am too intimidated to read. My grandfather died of cancer, so I’m very touchy and emotional on the subject. But I’m really curious about this online friendship thing. I really value my bloggy friends, so I think that it’s great how this was in the book. And family is greater than any romance, always.Lovely review, Emily. ❤

    • I’m very sorry about your grandfather ❤ hugs, yes? *hugs you* That's one thing I was scared about. Almost everyone knows someone who has cancer – my grandma on my mum's side died from cancer when my mum was younger than me; like 15 or something, so I never knew her. And after almost ten years, my nanna has breast cancer again. It's sad that it takes tragedies like these to let people know you love them – I guess this book really is a reminder that life is so, so precious, and family is really important. Thanks, Aimee 🙂

  6. I think this book could very well leave me a snot filled mess. Incredibly emotional, and that’s just from reading your review. I might grab this is paperback tonight, it’s not one that you could read on a Kindle, it demands more respect than that. Lovely review Em 🙂

    • I hardly ever cry at books, so…yeah. Probably will 😛 I think the same with Kindle vs. physical book. It’s such a lovely book in physical form too – all the photos and the drawings and things. I really really hope you get to read it 🙂

  7. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves and Reading Wishlists | The Loony Teen Writer

  8. I’ve read this post a few times already. It’s not weird, I swear. The emotion just gets to me. I have yet to read it through without tearing up. I saw this at Target a few months ago, but I hadn’t read TFiOS yet so I held off on impulsively buying it. Now that I have read TFiOS, I want it.
    And my new summer goal: go through all the Vlogbrothers videos. I will. I must. As soon as I have time…

      • That’s okay. I’m overly sensitive sometimes xD I guess the gif got to me 😛 otherwise, it does sound like an uplifting book. Ironically enough. I will definitely be getting it soon (:

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