Escondido Public Library - Teen Book Reviews

Posts in Category: cancer

This Star Won't Go Out

by Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl, and John Green

This book is Esther Earl's life. Journal entries, notes, everything. Esther Star Earl was diagnosed with cancer at age 12. In 2010 at the sweet age of 16, Esther passed away. Even though it may seem like a sad tale, Esther is a very interesting girl. You get to understand her, and laugh at her journal entries, and you get to know her. How many of you people have read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? Yeah, well John dedicated that book to Esther. God bless you, Esther Earl;) 

I have to be honest(on a public site, seriously?) with you guys, I cried in the ending because Esther died. I mean, I knew it would happen, but you get so attached. Don't get discouraged, you should still read it. Honor those who have passed. It was a great, touching book. 

Anyone could read this, but those who want to connect with someone you never expected to, should read this book. Esther also has her own YouTube page:cookie4monster4/user/ google it. 'Tis easier) Hope you love it as much as I do!

Priscilla, 12


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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot

In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot tells the true story of how the cells of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman with cervical cancer, were extracted and preserved by doctors without her consent. Lacks' cells were the first cells that were able to reproduce infinitely in a lab setting, therefore earning the name "immortal cells." These "immortal" cells of Henrietta Lacks were nicknamed "HeLa" cells by scientists and they were crucial to the development of new medicine for cancer as well as other illnesses. Using the story of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot writes about the clash between the progress of medicine and ethics. 

I started reading this book for my AP Biology class and I was so sure that it was going to take a long time to finish it. However, the whole entire time, I felt like I was watching a movie (which I really liked). I was so surprised by all the detail because it would have taken Rebecca Skloot a long time to interview all the people involved and research all the events that took place. The acquirement of HeLa cells were very controversial: Henrietta's status as a black citizen made it easier for doctors to use her for research purposes, the Lacks' family did not receive a dime for their contribution to the progress of medicine, and Henrietta died without even a headstone to mark her grave. Skloot includes all of these little details in this book to get the readers to weigh the pros and cons of these injustices committed against a family.

I believe that everyone should read Skloot's books. There are so many crazy things that happened in the world that I didn't know about. I think that reading this book has helped me gain more knowledge of how doctors and scientists were back then. What's ironic is that these doctors were trying to help their society, but in doing so they deceived and manipulated their patients. Even though I didn't get any closure regarding the controversy over HeLa cells from this book, I was able to better understand how the world has changed from the 50's. I recommend this book to everyone, not just people interested in science. It will really open your eyes on the issues of our world.

Heejeong, 18


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Mim's parents divorced, her dad remarried, and then she found out that her mom is terminally ill in Cleveland. Upon hearing this news, Mim packs her belongings and takes a Greyhound bus to Cleveland to see her mom. Along the way, Mim encounters some unexpected turns and meets two hilarious travel companions. Ultimately, this road trip teaches Mim exactly what she needs to confront her fears at home with her dad and step-mom.

This novel was relatively good. It's not my favorite book, but it was enjoyable to read. The plot kept me on my feet, but it was all over the place. I could barely keep up with the rapid movement and constant changes of the storyline.

I would recommend this book to others because of its entertaining plot. If you like action and adventure, you would enjoy Mosquitoland.

Bethany, 15


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The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe story's general plot went something like this: Two teenagers, both with cancer, meet and find love amidst the trials of their lives.

Being engaging and easy to read makes a big impact on readers, but those redeeming qualities aren't quite enough to bring this book above mediocrity. For starters, the author's portrayal of modern teenagers was completely unrealistic. Take this excerpt of Augustus's monologue: "I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you." Whew. The teenage boy who regularly spouts this kind of stuff on command is hard to find. This is only part of the immense cheesiness and feeling of insincerity that the novel exudes. 

If you are a fan of cheesiness and the cheap emotional roller coaster of most chick flicks, then I recommend staying on top of pop culture and seeing for yourself what the book with the undeserved hype is all about.

Brian, 17


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