Book Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Posted May 17, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

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They Both Die at the End

They Both Die at the End

by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Quill Tree Books on September 5, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIAP+
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Representation: Bisexual, Gay, Latinx, LGBTQIAP+, Own Voices Author
Content Warnings: Death, Death of Parent, Grief, Gun Violence, Violence

Rating: ★★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads or buy the book at Bookshop.org

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.

 

I loved this book.  Full stop.

This is my first Adam Silvera book, and I’m absolutely sold on his writing.  Any book that makes me feel like this gets major props.  I had a feeling I’d like it – I’ve had it on my shelf for about three years now – but I got to the audiobook first as part of my effort to read more diverse authors and I’m so glad I’ve read it now.  I can’t wait to read it again.

You could pick apart a lot of holes in They Both Die at the End.  The romance is really quick and the central element at the heart of the story isn’t explained – how does DeathCast know?.  I’m okay with both these things, because the quality of the story itself made me care less about the technicalities.  The lack of information behind DeathCast lets you think about it and try to figure out its secrets.  As for the romance… considering the urgency of the situations, I very much give it a pass.

The Both Die at the End doesn’t pull any punches.  You know from the minute you read the title that this book is not going to have a happy ending.  Oh, it’ll try to trick you into a false sense of security, for sure.  But the sweeter the story gets, the more the ending will break your heart.  Be ready with tissues.  Both Rufus and Matteo are fantastic characters, very different in their own ways, but both very lovable.  It doesn’t take long until you’re rooting for the boys and pleading with Silvera to be kind to his darlings.

This book is written in third person with multiple POVs.  Mostly, we hear from Matteo and Rufus, but a young woman names Delilah makes multiple appearances.  All the rest of the POVs are one-offs.  While having so many minute glimpses into people other than our protagonists may be frustrating to some readers, it was this aspect that really made me appreciate Silvera’s writing.  The entire story is a web, where one person’s throw away comments or a single step to the left came offset the course of someone else’s life.  It’s fascinating to see the impact these two young men, on their Last Day, have upon the world around them.

All in all I really encourage everyone to read The Both Die at the End.  It’s a book that has left me thinking long after I finished it and for sure is going on my favorites list.  It’s a soft sci-fi with a heavy lean into contemporary.  It’s a romance with LGBTQIAP+ rep.  It’s an Own Voices book.  It has non-white leads.  But more than all those things, it’s a really good book with a great sense of urgency, compelling characters, and lots of emotions.

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(As an aside, I’ve seen other reviews mention ableist language in They Both Die at the End.  I didn’t catch it, so I can’t give any specifics, but did want to mention that others have.  I’d be very open to learning about what I missed, if anyone can pinpoint the specific scene.)

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★ 1/2
Plot: ★★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

4.5 stars overall rating

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If you had the ability to know what day you were going to die, would you want to know?  I think I would, because I value information and the finality of it would probably not make me paranoid (like, it’s fate, what can I do about it)?  What about you?  Let me know in the comments!

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2 responses to “They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

  1. As if I wasn’t dying to read this book already! I really liked history is all you left me a few years ago and have been wanting to pick up something by Adam Silvera ever since! I’m on my way to buy some tissues now, Amber, lol! Great review!!

    • Amber

      Aw, thank you Birdie! I absolutely 100% recommend this – pick it up at the library on your way to buy those tissues, lol. 🙂