They Both Die At The End
Book reviews

They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

Release date: 7 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★ – 9/10
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They Both Die at the End blurb:

On September 5th, 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 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.

Sometimes you luck out and read hyped books that are not so great.  Sometimes you’re fortunate and you read hyped books that are great. And sometimes you read hyped books that are just so beautiful, they move you in ways you didn’t even know you could be moved. This book is absolutely one of those.

They Both Die at the End is the first Adam Silvera (only) novel that I have read. (I read his co-written book with Becky Albertalli, What If It’s Us, last month). I like a good contemporary. I love one that makes me cry. This one had my bawling my eyes out. But the reason that I had stayed away until now was because Silvera is such a hyped author for amazing contemporaries, and sometimes I want to believe the hype so much, it kind of scares me to jump in. It’s partially the reason that I haven’t read so many hyped books (Red Rising, A Darker Shade of Magic, The Hate U Give, my never ending TBR list shows just a few). However, I can guarantee that from this point onwards, Silvera will become an auto-buy author, and I will absolutely need to purchase his entire back catalogue and recommend it to anyone who loves a good cry.

In some ways, my ‘fear’ (it’s not fear exactly, but I’m yet to come up with a better word just now – probably I’m experiencing too many feels to think coherently) is a little like how Mateo lives his life. Maybe ‘reluctant’ is a better word. I’m reluctant to read or try new things because what if I don’t like them? What if the hype isn’t real for me? What if, because of that, the bookish community turns its back on me? Deep down, I know these things are very unlikely to happen, but I still have these self-doubting thoughts. It’s part of what makes me human.

What if I try my hand at writing and I’m terrible? What if I quit my job and never get one that pays as well again? What if this is as good as it gets?

But what if my job is what is stressing me out and causing all my health problems? What if being this far away from my friends and family is creating anxiety? What if it can get better if I follow my heart?

I know I’m slightly off-topic here, but this book has made me question some things, and to be honest, that’s part of what I am loving about it.

I do want to talk about one thing before I get back into the sappiness of this post – the whole Death-Cast thing. It took a small minute for me to figure out what Death-Cast is. Probably because I didn’t read the blurb (read the blurb people). This book is set slightly in the future. A future where somewhere, somehow, someone knows who is going to die each day. And on that day, just after midnight, you get a phone call from a ‘herald’ at the corporation called Death-Cast, informing you that today will be your End Day. In the future, if this is ever a thing, I absolutely don’t want to know the day that I will die. I feel like this is something you should be able to opt-out of. I’m not sure these characters were ever given a choice, and it certainly doesn’t feel like it. It’s like it became mandated, and once you were on the list, they had to call you to let you know, and that you had to agree that you heard their message. As someone who has experience working in a legislated area, this hit home a bit for me. And maybe that’s why I’m having such a reaction to this book.

It also terrified me slightly to think of all the ways that corporations are been able to make money from people’s last day (in this fictional semi-futuristic world). While there are absolutely some places who gave free meals or cheaper tickets to ‘Deckers’ (people about to die), the ability for other organisations, such as Necro, Make-A-Moment, World Travel Arena and so forth, to gain from this event was kind of sickening (I am deliberately leaving Last Friend out of this). That the corporate world could look at something so final as your last day on earth, and think “How can I make money from this?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive, I understand how the world works, but it just seems so greedy, so absolutely capitalist in its very essence, that it’s kind of awful – even rotten – at its core.

One thing in particular that I did love was seeing the tiny little snapshots of the random characters throughout the story, and how Mateo and Rufus affected their lives. Call them cameo appearances, or what have you, but I thought these were beautifully crafted and added an element of ‘extra’ to the story.

They Both Die at the End is a beautiful story about two teens who meet on their last day, and the changes that they bring about to the others life. But it also begs a question – if it weren’t for meeting the other, would they both have survived? But would their lives have been as meaningful?

I loved Mateo and Rufus, probably more than I should have after 368 pages. And while I wanted more for them, I can’t deny them the ending that was fated to them. Because without it, would they have been able to be their true selves on their last day? And part of the beauty of this story is that, you know the ending right from the start – the title kind of gives it away – and yet, you can’t help but hold out the tiniest bit of hope for them in the smallest of things that are hinted at.

This was a beautifully written story, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who loves a good contemporary novel.


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