Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Am Not Esther” as Want to Read:
I Am Not Esther
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Am Not Esther (I Am Not Esther #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,152 Ratings  ·  247 Reviews
Imagine that your mother tells you she's going away. She is going to leave you with relatives you've never heard of - and they are members of a strict religious cult. Your name is changed, and you are forced to follow the severe set of social standards set by the cult. There is no television, no radio, no newspaper. No mirrors. You must wear long, modest clothes. You don't ...more
250 pages
Published by Turtleback Books (first published 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Am Not Esther, please sign up.

Recent Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
LibraryLass
I really enjoyed this book, I thought the plot was great and enjoyed the characters even "grey Uncle Caleb."

Too often I have found that YA books are full of doom and gloom and angst. They try to tackle very heavy subjects, without entertainment or a satisfactory conclusion. I picked up this book after hearing a great book-talk about it and after scanning the blurb was reluctant to read it, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Although it did deal with a fairly heavy subject (religion/cult), it w
...more
Cameron
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What would you do if your mom packed her stuff and went away to Africa, leaving you with family you've never once met? What if they don't have anything to do with the real world, and all they do is worship God?
Kirby can't watch TV, go online, read books or have anything to do with modern life. Her life must revolve around God and God only. It's a horrible lifestyle she lives. And her name is now Esther.
The plot line was fantastic and I have actually had a chance to meet this author who was lovel
...more
Rachel Lee
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rose
I am Not Esther, by Fleur Beale, is a sad yet inspiring book about a 14 year old girl, Kirby Greenland, whose life changes, after her mother gets a job helping refugees in Africa, and leaves her with these strange relatives she has never met before. Not only do these people have a different lifestyle to her, but she is also expected to live by their ways. These relatives belong to a religious sect called The Children Of The Faith. They have no televisions, radios or phones. They have virtually n ...more
Maddy
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Am Not Ester Book Review
The book I am not Esther, written by Fleur Beale, is a book about a girl changing, changing religion and person. The title I am not Esther is from Kirby’s Catchphrase “I am not Esther”. i would recommended this to book the age of 12 and over, it action packed and shows a different point of you that you are probably not used to !

When fourteen-year-old Kirby Greenland’s Mother (Ellen Greenland) leaves her own daughter in the hands of her relatives while Ellen supposedly g
...more
Hannah Rahman
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wide-reading
I am not Esther is an amazing novel about a girl Kirby whose mother suddenly tells her she is going away to live in Africa and that she is being sent to live with her uncle and his family. Her mother hasn't talked about her family in a long time and Kirby is very upset and shocked by her mothers actions. Kirby's life changes dramatically when she is sent away and she is forced to change her clothes to long skirts, her hair needs to be tied up in one long plait and her life is all about god, read ...more
Ashleigh Neame
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How I Discovered or Acquired This Book: Came across it in an old, hard-to-find second hand bookshop in Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand.
When & Where Read: November 2013 at home.
Noteworthy Experiences While Reading This Book: Even though Kirby knew it was all wrong and frequently stated this, I sometimes found myself identifying with The Rule and The Children of Faith.
Check Out Author’s Other Books or Related Books? Yes.
Quality of Writing: 9/10
Pace: 8/10
Plot Development: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
En
...more
RitaSkeeter
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, own, ya
2.5 Stars
Kirkby is sent to live with maternal family when her mother decides to do aid work in Africa. Kirby had never known her family by this time and as well as the shock of being sent to live with strangers she is also confronted with needing to assimilate into a cult like fundamentalist religion. Among other changes Kirby's name is changed to the more Godly 'Esther', with Kirby's statement 'I am not Esther' being oft repeated throughout the novel and reflective of Kirby's refusal to accept
...more
Kelp
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-reviewed
do you ever feel like the only person on goodreads who Didn't Get It

this was so short and left me somewhere in the realm of "eh, okay," so i'm not even gonna pretend to format this like a proper review. enjoy jotnotes...

the good

- kirby herself. a goddamn fireball who i found pretty funny, wild, reckless, and for all her big talk, still had a heart and kindness to give to her 'siblings' and some of the church kids who she was initially a snot about

- loved loved loved how kirby became a big sister
...more
Rose
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Rose by: English Class Assigned Novel
Initial thoughts: Not what I was expecting, for sure. I've wanted to read this for so long, and now we're reading it for English class. I guess I never actually read the synopsis of the series properly, but I'm glad I didn't cause it probably would've put me off the book. I was surprised, to say the least, that I actually really liked this book.
————————————————
Kirby Greenland lives with her mum. They're close, but her mother refuses to talk about the family she ran away from at the age of sixtee
...more
Carolina
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I LOVED this book. I was really excited to read it, since the theme was something I had never read about before and it had some great reviews. I am very happy to say I was not dissappointed.

The religious themes aren't shoved down your throat, and neither does the story try to put you completely against it. Instead it gently eases you into this almost other world that the characters are living in, and you slowly learn about their day to day and way of life.

The writing was just great. Simple, but
...more
Tasha Baxendale
I decided to read 'I am not Esther' because it was highly recommended by friends as they had previously read it at school and it was apparently an excellent read.

This book falls into the category of 'a book written by a New Zealander'. This category was interesting for me because I usually don't read books by New Zealanders as I usually can't find ones I can enjoy but this book was fantastic and was new for me.

My favourite quote from this book is "It still isn't easy. I still cry a lot, but most
...more
Sheila
Kirby’s Mum’s a great nurse, but not very organized. Still, that’s okay. Fourteen-year-old Kirby’s efficient enough for two. Then Mum announces they’re moving. Kirby finds herself living among religious relatives who insist on calling her Esther and make her dress and act like a character from history. She’d like to run away, but where can she run? In Wellington, New Zealand, Kirby has no friends, no relatives beyond the strangers she’s told are family, and no hope.

Soon a burgeoning care for her
...more
Maggie61
I read this whole book in one sitting, cover to cover. It brings out so many emotions and thoughts and was a fascinating read. I can`t imagine people living that way as they were in the cult and I really can`t imagine being Kirby forced to become Esther and adopting new rules and expectations that she was forced to follow.
While I did sympathize with Ellen, Kirby`s mother and what she was going through, I cannot for the life of me understand her leaving her daughter with the cult that she herself
...more
Diana
This book was a very good read. One that my librarian picked out for me and I'm very glad he did.

The writing in this book was very impressive. It portrayed the thoughts and feeling Kirby had towards her mother and the negative situation she was in throughout this book. The writer did well at displaying those emotions and the battle of guilt that Kirby was experiencing.

This book was very honest in the way that it talked about relationships and being part of a community. I found it very moving and
...more
Linda
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has taken me a long time to get around to read this New Zealand classic, nearly 20 years since it was originally published. The themes of the book are still relevant today and I enjoyed this story immensely.
Kirby and her mother have been on their own all of Kirbys life, so when her mum announces she is going away and Kirby is to go and stay with an uncle she has never heard of, Kirby is shocked. More so when she finds her uncle and aunt and family are part of a strict religious cult. Kirby b
...more
Mary Bronson
Wow, this book was great. It was hard to read because of the content and thinking about this actually happens in the "real world". I thought the characters and plot were both written very well. I read this book a long time ago in high school and had no idea that it had two other books. Now I want to read them.
Megan
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So there is a second book and I kind of need it right now...
Sharlene
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nz, jun-jul-book-pool
Really enjoyed this book, even though it took me awhile to read.
Rebecca McNutt
This book was very well-written and original for the most part, definitely not what I was expecting at all! It's a really eerie novel and definitely worth reading.
Olive
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i really love this series, i like how in each book its from a different persons perspective

-novel or non-fiction text about a serious issue-
Diana
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a couple of issues with the writing style, especially at the beginning, but otherwise this was a very good and very powerful book.
Sarah Lee
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put this down. My 14 year old read it and passed it to me - I've now passed it to my 11 year old. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel (when my 14 year old has finished it!).
Jorja Watt
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i loved the book and i dont really enjoy many books
Amanda Pace
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such an emotionally charged read. Kirby is a girl that I feel strongly connected to for many reasons, but let's begin at the beginning. She lives with her mother, Ellen, who is a nurse but despite her position at a hospital she is very irresponsible and Kirby has to take care of the "adult" things around the house such as paying bills, grocery shopping, and cleaning. It has just always been that and Ellen's love seems to make up for it in Kirby's opinion. However, Ellen is very child-li ...more
Jane
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Fale
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prize Winner Written Response:
Over the holidays I read the book 'I am not Esther' and I loved every minute reading it. 'I am not Esther' won a NZ Post Award and I decided to read it because my friend had read it and she gave it to me as a recommendation during the holidays. Once I looked at the blurb and listened to what it was about from my friend, it sounded pretty interesting. The book is about a girl called Kirby living in Auckland with her mum and suddenly her mum starts acting strange and
...more
Nicole Mettam
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prizewinner review - Honour Award in the 1990 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.
- Won the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book in 2009.

1. I chose to read this book because my mum suggested it to me, and it was written by a NZ author, I also chse to read it because the sypnosis sounded relly intersting. I haven't read this type of book before but i'm glad I did.

2. A character I found interesting was Daniel. He was most closest to Kirby (Esther) when she came to live with th
...more
Baekhyun 4 life
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!
This book is an amazing insight into how people live/lived with religions different to ours.It shows other peoples feelings and the ways they cope with different obstacles thrown at them during changes in their life.Kirby is a good example of a strong opinionated young woman whos beliefs can not be changed but starts to really think twice about what she believes in.I personally enjoy this book because it really pulls you in and gets you hooked and involved.You start asking yo
...more
noice
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I Am Not Esther is a unique and thought-provoking story.
Some of the things I liked about the novel is the base of the story, and the perspective of taking an average life into another, changing their identity, and bringing them up into a different religion. The concept is very well thought out and the way that Esther thinks is very relatable, making easy to sympathize and put yourself in her shoes. The subject is broad, as in the things that happen in the book are not very unrelatable, unlikely
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Rocco
  • See Ya, Simon
  • In Lane Three, Alex Archer (Alex Archer, #1)
  • Under the Mountain
  • The Catalogue of the Universe
  • Dear Vincent
  • Some of the Kinder Planets: Stories
  • The 10 PM Question
  • Foxspell
  • Strange Objects
  • Thursday's Child
  • By the River
  • Peeling the Onion
  • Memorias de una vaca
  • Enid (Quatre soeurs, #1)
  • Dougy (The Gracey Trilogy #1)
  • Crisis on Conshelf Ten (Crisis on Conshelf Ten, #1)
  • The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley, Who Planned to Live an Unusual Life
359876
Fleur Beale is the author of many award-winning books for children and young adults, best known for her novel I am not Esther which has been published worldwide.

Beale was one of six children of a dairy farmer Cedric Corney and of a teacher and author Estelle Corney (née Cook). She was born in Inglewood, Taranaki, New Zealand, on the farm where her father was born. Beale grew up in the town before
...more
More about Fleur Beale...

Other Books in the Series

I Am Not Esther (3 books)
  • I Am Rebecca (I Am Not Esther, #2)
  • Being Magdalene (I Am Not Esther, #3)

Share This Book