They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is a heartbreaking story about two boys that receive a death call notifying them that within 24 hours they are going to die.
Here is the official synopsis from Goodreads:
Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
This story was so sad, but so incredibly good. I think I learned more life lessons from this book than anything I’ve read recently. I learned a lot about life, death, happiness, and what it means to truly live, which is rough on someone in general, but I was on vacation (cue the sobbing).
Overall, I loved the fact that Adam uses different POVs throughout the book, not just Mateo and Rufus’ view of things. We get to see other perspectives from friends and strangers which makes this book even more well rounded. When we do hear from our main characters, I love the distinct differences in their personality – I don’t feel like I’m reading the same thoughts just under a different name. Mateo’s personality is radically different from Rufus’ and we see them change over time, just in that one day.
Adam’s narration skills are also amazing. Every scene has a purpose and is detailed enough to make me feel like I’m there, without being told too much. I also really enjoy the conversations between characters; like personalities, each has their own distinct voice and it makes it so enjoyable to hear them talk to each other, even about something as morbid as death.
While this book is mostly realistic fiction, I do love the bit of science fiction thrown in through Death Cast. As explained in the book, Death Cast is the system that keeps track of when people die. Between 12:00am and 3:00am the company calls people that are going to die that day. There is not time stamp on when or how, just that within the next 24 hours, that person is going to die. I think this idea is not only horribly morbid, but an amazing technological advancement that I’m not sure I would want.
As the two boys go on with their day, knowing they’re going to die, it was hard for me to not get attached to them (I totally got attached). Their new friendship made their experiences and journey bittersweet: I didn’t want it to end, but everyone knew it was going to.
Besides the slight science fiction of Death Cast, this book is purely realistic fiction and it terrified me. The book frequently talks about death, what happens after death, and how they don’t want to die. Honey, me neither. It was so hard for me at some points to read through their speculations and fear, but it was honestly a genuine way of looking at life. The death conversations lead to some heart wrenching moments savoring life and those were the moments I cherished in this book.
When I saw reviews of this book, I was told that I was going to bawl my eyes out at the end. I mean, the ending is literally in the title, although the how and when are still a mystery. I was so ready to sob when it came time for the ending, but I didn’t. There were certain parts in the book before the end that I cried ridiculously hard (maybe too much) but when the book ended, I felt, nothing. Why? Because I was confused on what happened!
The ending kind of confused me, and maybe it’s just me and I need things to be spelled out, but I wasn’t sure what happened. Now, I won’t spoil the ending, but for anyone that has read the book and knows how it ends, please don’t judge me. Besides the ending, the book is a scary look on life and death and will leave you with an existential crisis. At this point, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!
Overall, I would give this book stars! I’m not a huge fan of contemporary, but this book was thought provoking and heart breaking, it definitely deserves 4 stars!
If you like these books, or this review sounds interesting, be sure to check out The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas! Another young adult thought provoking book on police brutality in America.