Title: This Star Won’t Go Out
Author: Esther Earl (along with entries from parents Lori and Wayne Earl, and an introduction by John Green)
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:
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.
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