They Both Die At the End, Adam Silvera

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stories can make someone immortal as long as someone else is willing to listen”

When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. 

Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love.

* * * *
4 / 5

My first Adam Silvera book, They Both Die At the End, ripped out my heart and stomped all over it. I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I turned the final page and closed the cover.

Mateo is home alone, praying that his father will wake up from a coma, when he gets the Death-Cast call informing him that today will be the day that he dies. Rufus has his boys at his back and is pounding on his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend who was “chatting shit” about him when his phone goes off. Two totally different boys connect on the Last Friend app and agree to spend their last day alive together.

“you may be born into a family, but you walk into friendships”

They Both Die At the End only follows one day, from the two boys learning that they will die to the end (and we all know how it ends!). It makes for a really intense read, packed full of emotions. They’ve got less than twenty-four hours to say their goodbyes and to make enough memories for a life-time. The Death-Cast is presented like a public service, but I thought that it was really cruel in a way – yes, it allowed the characters to make their preparations, but there was also such a sense of impending doom. Of not knowing how they were going to die, only that they were going to.

I loved the way Mateo and Rufus’ relationship developed from wary strangers connecting on an app to dancing in a sober club at 5pm. I thought that their connection was beautiful, but I wasn’t entirely sold on the romance. There isn’t too much build up, and the “romance” part is about thirty pages long. It seemed so rushed and just sort of stuffed in – I thought that the kiss was perfect, a moment where they are full of life knowing that they are going to die, a moment of emotion. But the declarations of love were just cringy and ridiculous.

“Entire lives aren’t lessons, but there are lessons in lives”

I loved the way that this book was written. It rotates in short, first-person chapters between Mateo and Rufus. They both have such different points of view: Mateo wants to use his last day to really live, but he’s nervous and so afraid to die; Rufus is tough, an orphan living in a house with other orphans. They’re a family that they call the Plutos and they would do anything for Rufus, including covering his back when the police arrive at his living funeral, intent on arresting him for beating up Peck. Mateo and Rufus’ story is interspersed with a few short chapters focusing on characters that interact with their lives. I thought it really added a sense of wider perspective to the book.

They Both Die At the End was the perfect mix of hope, sadness, grief and joy. It made me think, really think, about the kind of world that it presented.

 

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