In the summer of 2010, Esther Earl became a well-known name within the nerdfighter community after being featured on YA author John Green’s YouTube channel, Vlogbrothers. Esther, a young girl from Massachusetts who spent her youth traveling the world with her family, moved back to the states in 2007, one year after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After meeting John Green at a Harry Potter convention in 2009, the pair formed a lasting friendship that resulted in Esther becoming known and loved by thousands who had never met her, through the power of the internet. She was involved in the Harry Potter Alliance, a online charity created by fans of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series dedicated to affecting social change, and also helped run Eff Yeah Nerdfighters, an online fansite for John and Hank Green. After her passing in August 2010, the Earl family established the This Star Won’t Go Out Foundation (TSWGO) in memory of their daughter, a charity that raises funds for families of children with cancer. The charity was named after Esther, whose name means “star” in Persian. The phrase “this star won’t go out” was originally printed on green rubber bracelets worn by Esther’s friends and members of the nerdfighter community, and subsequently became the title of her book.
“This Star Won’t Go Out” features Esther’s collected journal entries and fictional writing, along with photographs from her life, and essays written in her memory by family and friends. From her parents’ writing we get a snapshot of Esther’s childhood, teenage years, the progression of her disease, but from Esther’s writing we have direct insight into what she felt and all the trials she underwent. As John Green said in his tribute video to Esther, “she was astonishingly empathetic, she was really thoughtful, she was very funny, but she wasn’t an angel or a model of perfection…she was a person, she was a teenager.” Esther’s letters and journals convey all of this: her humor and wit, her caring and loving nature, her vulnerability, and her surprising introspection. There are moments of joy, moments of silliness, moments of hope and, inevitably, moments of heartbreak. Overall, Esther’s book is a touching insight into the life of a girl determined to make the best of her situation, despite her hardships and struggles.
To learn more about Esther, buy the book, or make a donation to TSWGO, visit http://tswgo.org.
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