A gut-wrenching story about mortality, loss, love, and life, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera offers readers a sharp perspective on what it means to live.
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 and to live a lifetime in a single day.
They Both Die at the End is Silvera’s third published YA novel, and I think it’s my favorite out of all three.
I’ll confess, I had a hard time reading this book. There were a few times in the first 150 or so pages when I considered not finishing the book; setting it aside to never be read again, and moving onto the next book in my TBR pile. And that’s not because the book wasn’t engaging; but because it was so heavy. Two teens have been told they are going to die — and the crippling fear over facing your last day alive, not knowing how many hours you have left or how it will happen, and your life is ending and there is literally nothing you can do about it … just reading and thinking about it was devastating. It made getting through the book so, so difficult.
But about halfway through the book, something amazing happened. Mateo and Rufus began to live. And in the face of their own mortality, they found clarity and focus and insight most of us only hope to achieve in our time on this earth. And I found this perspective so uplifting and hopeful, even as I saw events unfolding that would propel them towards their fatal ending.
And even knowing how the book would ultimately end – it is literally the title of the book, They Both Die at the End – I found myself surprised and hopeful. (Silvera really does pull out some surprises in this captivating & unexpected plot!) And in the end, though tragic and sad for all the reasons you’d expect from a book about two teens dying well before their time, They Both Die at the End left me feeling something other than just sadness. This one line, towards the end of the book, really stuck with me:
No one goes on, but what we leave behind keeps us alive for someone else.
A surprisingly uplifting story about what it means to really live, look for They Both Die at the End in stores on September 5th.