“Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and Her JoyJars” by Erik Rees Book Review

By Ruth on April 19, 2015 in book, review

neguIt started with a simple question: How can we help them? It became an international movement called NEGU: Never Ever Give Up. When Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 11, she chose to focus not on herself but on bringing joy and hope to other children suffering from cancer. During the ten months she battled cancer, she and her family worked in the Joy Factory (originally their garage) making JoyJars—packages filled with toys, games, and love for other kids with cancer. Jessie first handed them out personally at the hospital where she was being treated, but the effort blossomed quickly and there were soon thousands of JoyJars being distributed across the United States and to over fifteen countries. Today, more than 100,000 kids have received JoyJars, and they continue shipping each week to kids in over 200 children s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses. Jessie lost her battle with cancer in January 2012, but her message lives on in the Jessie Rees Foundation, which has become a beacon of hope for families fighting pediatric cancer. Join the movement at www.negu.org.”

Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and Her JoyJarsNever Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and Her JoyJars by Erik Rees

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For whatever reason, this book sat on my shelf for quite some time, and I always figured I’d get to it “one day.” All I can say is that I am grateful I finally picked it up and read it as this book is one of the most amazing books I have read in quite some time! It is non-fiction, Christian, and inspirational. And if you end the book with a dry eye, well, I’d be surprised. I sure didn’t.

I think I may have heard something about the “Joy Jars” before I read this book, but I didn’t know very much about them. And I knew nothing about the brave girl and her family who fought the battle of pediatric cancer. This book will inspire you on all levels, and yet it never comes off as being “preachy.” The theology was fairly sound in the book–in fact there are some parts that truly impressed me. But even non-Christians can read this book, for the Christian aspect is not the focus of the book. It is the family’s story that will tug at the strings of your heart and remind you of what is truly important in this world.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher


  1. Kelly April 20, 2015 Reply

    Sounds like a lovely book. One that we all can take notes from. So easy to get caught up in our lives, and misery. We can learn a lot from this young lady.

  2. Elizabeth April 24, 2015 Reply

    This sounds like a very good read! Thanks for your wonderful review!

  3. Emily Endrizzi April 25, 2015 Reply

    This sounds like a wonderful book. I enjoy inspirational stories. I will have to check it out. I’ve never heard about JoyJars before.

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