My rating: 4 stars
When Esther died from thyroid cancer at 16, she left one goal unfulfilled--to be a published author. Her parents made that goal come true with this book as they use letters she wrote, her journals, and emails, along with stories from friends and family, to create this book. We learn about the last year or so of Esther's life as she reaches out to people and inspires them to make a change.
I first learned about Esther through the online community started by John and Hank Green called "nerdfighteria." Reading this book made me realize what exactly it was about Esther that was so compelling, and why she was so loved. I feel that this is a unique look into someone's life that we rarely get--to be able to read her own words, and realize that she got angry, and hated her cancer, but that she worried about her relationship with her family and God, too. Even though I knew how her story ended, I still found myself crying along with the rest of her family, mourning a girl I never knew.
I feel that it is hard to share my criticisms, because I'm afraid that it might seem that I'm criticizing Esther, her journey, and her family. I'm not in anyway. I think she was incredible. She went through everything with grace. My criticism is actually toward the editing. Having worked in documentary editing, I understand the need to balance clarity with staying true to the original document, but as I was reading it I kept being drawn out of Esther's story by poor editing choices. Whether it was the way certain things were grouped together, or that it wasn't clear who was writing what, or the inconsistencies in headings, dates, etc. That's the only reason I gave this four stars, because otherwise I think everyone should get to know Esther and the good she inspired in the world--and how she still lives on in the lives of others and her family's foundation.
*I am not compensated by Amazon in anyway.