But no matter what choices we make – solo or together – our finish line remains the same … No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end” – They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera
Initial Thoughts: I was perusing my local bookstore wanting to splurge on books even though I have a crazy amount of unread novels ready to be read. They Both Die at the End stuck out to me for its title. At first, I thought, “wow, that’s bleak.” My second reaction was automatic, I grabbed the book and read the synopsis. Two months later, I ended up reading the book, and as expected, I cried (a lot).
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.” – Goodreads
I began reading They Both Die at the End at midnight before going to bed. Big mistake. The book starts off at midnight when Mateo Torrez receives a phone call from the Death-Cast informing him that he will die in the next twenty-four hours. The Death-Cast informs Mateo of the opportunities he has on his last day on earth as a “Decker” (someone about to die). Then, two hours later in another corner of New York, Rufus Emeterio receives a similar phone call. I eyed my cellphone, and turned it off as if I were to be sucked into Mateo’s and Rufus’ universe. In spite of the sci-fi element of the Death-Cast, the structure of the novel was hyper realistic, and very relatable.
Both Mateo and Rufus decide to sign up for the Last-Friend app, an app that connects Deckers so that they aren’t alone on their last day on earth. Perhaps by chance or by fate, Rufus and Mateo find each other and decide to spend their last day together in spite of being strangers. Mateo and Rufus are also from very different backgrounds. Mateo is a student whose Dad is in the hospital, and Rufus is a delinquent in foster care. As they go about their day trying to experience life to the fullest, they find themselves happy that they found each other.
Reading this novel was a bit like watching a disaster in slow motion. I knew what was coming at the end, the title prepared me well in advance. It was as if the title were mocking me because I knew all along what was coming. As much as I wanted to close the book and forget about it, I just couldn’t. I became emotionally invested in Mateo and Rufus. After beginning the book at midnight, I finished the novel within twenty-four hours. It was as if I were a fly on the wall on Mateo and Rufus’ wanderings on their last day. Once I reached the end, I had the same reaction as when I had read A Monster Calls by: Patrick Ness. I couldn’t stop crying even though I reassured myself over and over that these are just characters in a book and the Death-Cast isn’t real.
Even though this novel invoked powerful emotions from me, it felt as if there was something missing in the narrative. As both Mateo and Rufus question themselves on how they lived their lives, I didn’t really see any acceptance or resolution within them. Although both of them evolve as characters throughout their last day, it seemed as if the ending leaves the reader with a lot of questions that will probably never be answered.
I would recommend that if you attempt to read this book, make sure you watch or read something lighthearted afterwards. They Die at the End is a celebration of life, a contemplation of death and the story of the power of friendship and love all within 24-hours.
About the Book Title: They Both Die at the End Author: Adam Silvera Year Published: 2017 Pages: 368 Genres & Subjects: fiction, contemporary, young adult, LGBTQ
Until Next Time,