I can’t decide how I feel about this book. Yes it is a very good book, but some part of me simply can’t give 5 stars to a book about a kid that dies of cancer. Its not even like this is a work of fiction. This book is about a real girl who died of cancer at 16. And that sucks.
Esther Grace Earl was born on August 3rd, 1993 in Beverly, Massachusetts. In November 2006, Esther was diagnosed with metastasized papillary thyroid cancer in Marseille, France, with extensive tumors already in her lungs.
Esther loved to read and was what is commonly known as a Potterhead. Through her love of Harry Potter she became known on the internet as “crazycrayons” or “cookie4monster4” and developed a number of close friendships. She was a member of the group Catitude who run the effyeahnerdfighters Tumblr and even became a minor internet celebrity after appearing in a Vlogbrothers video and helping the Harry Potter Alliance win $250,000.
On the 24th of August, 2010 Esther’s health deteriorated and she was taken by ambulance to the Children’s Hospital in Boston. After her parents were informed that “She may very well go tonight…” Esther was asked if she wanted to send a final message to her friends on the internet. Uncharacteristically she said no. As her father, Wayne Earl wrote:
“Later, I would understand that she had already entered that forest, and had resolved not to look back.”
Just like Harry, Esther knew that walk into the forest had to be done on her own and early on the 25th of August Esther went on to the “next great adventure“.
This Star Won’t Go Out is a wonderful memorial to Esther. It is written through her letters, drawings, short stories, skype chats, journal entries and blog posts. Along with excerpts from various doctors and her parents and members of Catitude. But Esther is best remembered on the internet. Her YouTube account still exists along with various blogs. It feels strange watching these videos, Esther is so very much alive its hard to believe she is dead.
I think thats what I love about the internet. That her online presence is still saved on various servers. As long as the internet exists some small part of Esther still exists. And as long as YouTube and Nerdfighteria are around there will still be someone to remember her.
So yes, you should go read this book. You’re probably going to cry. But read it anyway.