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'This Star Won't Go Out' by Esther Earl: Introduction by John Green

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Esther Earl, whose writings and artwork make up "This Star Won't Go Out," is the person who inspired John Green to write "The Fault in Our Stars." While he takes pains to make it clear that the book is NOT about Esther, he also says she inspired it. He says (on the video) that she taught him that a short life can also be a good life.

Esther was 12 when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, typically a cancer with a high survival rate. However, Esther's cancer was not typical. But Esther, bright and wise beyond her years (according to those who knew her) was cheerful, positive and had things to do in life.

She died at the age of 16, but she made the most of the time she had. This book is her parents' way of inspiring others with a collection of Esther's diary, video, blogs emails, and art work, and narrative by her parents, Lori and Wayne Earl.

Esther loved to write and started writing at the age of five or six, according to her father. She wanted to be an author and met John Green at a convention. She joined his online group of "Nerdfighters," and her online presence and the friendships she made there helped inspire many through her cheerful outlook.

Esther's life and her book show how important the internet can be in meeting and befriending people all over the world. Esther's close friends, known as "Catitude" and nerdfighters, believe in advocating for intellectualism. Her online friends became another support system (besides her close-knit family).

The book is 431 pages and filled with a variety of text and color. Journal entries from her father are in one color, her mother in another, and Esther's musings, poems and diary entries in cream. It's inspirational, thoughtful and a tribute to Esther -- a very special young lady who died much, much too soon.

Penguin Young Readers Group will be making a donation to This Star Won't Go Out, the foundation named in Esther's memory. The foundation's purpose is to financially assist families struggling through the journey of having a child with cancer.

Please note: This article is based on the final hardcover book provided by Dutton Books for review purposes.

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