Esther, diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was only 12, passed away from the disease at the age of 16 in 2010. She's the real-life inspiration for Hazel Grace in John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.
The title is a play on Esther's name, which is the Persian word for "star." She was named after the Biblical Queen Esther.
The e-mail took me to a page of Scribd (the website for uploading and reading e-books, many of them free) with a sample of the book to download. I can't share the link because the link won't work for anyone else's computer. The sample is only 11 pages long. It contains:
- Childhood photos of Esther from 2000 and 2003, showing her bright blue eyes
- Lori and Wayne's introduction, writing about who Esther was as an individual and some of her diary-keeping habits. They write, "She loved words, felt their power and believed in the magic of story."
-A photo of Esther reading a Judy Blume book in 2009, and another of her using a laptop inside Boston's Children's Hospital after she became ill
-Esther's drawing of colorful flowers on a black stalk, underneath a blue sun
-A facsimile of a note written in Esther's own handwriting, to her parents on their anniversary. It reads, in part:
"Parents, I love you two. So much. I am so lucky to have such amazing people raising me. Because...really, I wouldn't be who I am today if not for the love and care of you two. Please realize that you are amazing. I thank God that He blessed us with two such loving people.
"Cancer is hard. I wouldn't have made it this far if it weren't for my family. Thank you, very much, for being here for me. It makes it seem less hard."
I'm very excited for this book. I want to get to know this young aspiring writer who lost her life too soon. I want to read her words and understand her life from her point of view. I never made a blog post with my review of TFIOS, and part of that was because I was so shocked by how good the book was, I couldn't articulate anything other than, "This is really, really, really good and you should just read it right now." That Esther Grace inspired the goodness is the very reason I want to read her very own words. I want my life to be connected to hers by words.
It might break my heart - TFIOS sure did. I cried, and then I dropped the book, and then I called it a stupid book because it made me cry and drop it. But when that happens, you know a piece of literature has seeped into your heart because it deserved to. Heartbreak or no, I must read TSWGO. Esther Grace Earl didn't have a long life on earth, so now she'll live in readers' hearts.
This Star Won't Go Out is available for pre-order on Barnes and Noble and Amazon now, and will officially be published on January 28, 2014.
Another book release I am eagerly awaiting:
...and, of course, Allegiant by Veronica Roth (October 22, 2013). The same actress, Shailene Woodley, will play both Hazel Grace and Tris Prior at the movies. If you follow John Green on Tumblr, you'll see he is currently fangirling over the filming of his book.
P.S. You can add John Green and his brother/fellow writer Hank Green to the list of cool people from Indiana.