Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review: this star won't go out

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.

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My review: 

I know what you're going to say. "Kristina, your review is biased because you love John Green."

But honestly? All he wrote was the introduction. And the introduction (gosh, it feels like blasphemy to say this) wasn't anywhere near the best part of the book. First, let's talk about the *presentation* of this book. The hardcover is beautiful and the different colored pages create a rainbow along the side that I thought was adorable.

And the pages themselves? First, color coded, mostly depending on the source of the writing (Orange for an online website, Green for people who are not Esther, etc) and helped me very much because I'm horrible at paying attention to subtitles. They may as well be invisible to my brain. The drawings and doodles came across well and realistically.

Now the content: We read a couple of introductions to get a sense of Esther as a friend and daughter before delving into her journals to find out about her as a person. I had to take a couple breaks to keep from crying--not necessarily because of the pain and dying--but because I knew the ending. I know Esther is dead. And I wanted to cry because she was so precious. She was incredibly precocious. She had a lot of pressure to be strong even when she, of all people, should not have had to be.

If you're looking for a story about a girl who stared down cancer and laughed in it's face, rethink your expectations. Yes, she was brave and strong. But she was scared and sad and hurt too. And we get to see all that.

So John Green contributed maybe half a star. The rest is all Esther.

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