Picking up a biography/autobiography about a teen battling cancer is, in a way, like picking up a novel that prominently features a lovable animal character (see: Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, A Mango-Shaped Space, Marley, Dewey the Library Cat, etc.). Even before you begin reading, you know how it's going to end. And you know the ending will make you cry buckets. But even that is too simple a comparison for this incredible book.
However, This Star Won't Go Out, the story of Esther Earl (whose story became the inspiration for John Green's The Fault in Our Stars), is surprisingly upbeat for a memoir about a teen with terminal cancer. Yes, it's still extremely sad, but it's not all gloom and doom. Not at all. No way. Through letters, journal entries, photos, sketches, poems, and stories, you really get to know Esther. She was a very friendly, generous, and upbeat girl. She was involved with her friends, family, and community. She loved Harry Potter, her cats, and pizza. As much as possible, she lived life to the fullest. And even at the darkest moments of her cancer, she never lost hope. In short, Esther Earl was a very cool person.
This Star Won't Go Out is currently on our New Book Shelf. And it's very much worth reading. But be warned: Keep a box or two of tissues handy. You'll need them! --AJB