They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera
Themes: LGBT, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Look at the title of this book, now look at my face a mess with tears, you’d have thought I’d have been prepared right? Wrong. This book broke me and made me question so much, I felt lost, I felt motivated, I felt sad. It put me through a lot of feelings it’s safe to say. If you are reading this unaware of what this wonderful book is about, it is set in a world where on the day you are going to die you get a phone call. This call doesn’t tell you how or a time, it just tells you that today you will die. The two main characters in this book, Mateo and Rufus both get this call and choose each other as their last friends; brought together through an app that connects people who don’t want to be alone on their final day.
The narrative is told from various different perspectives, primarily Mateo and Rufus’ though, as well as other people who have and haven’t received the call on this day. The two boys are very different from each other, Mateo is very worried and nervous of leaving his house and meeting his death. Whereas Rufus is taking a different approach, he wants to live, he wants to be with his friends, he doesn’t seem to fear death, he’s mad at it. Due to various circumstances, the two are left alone on their end day so they find each other and their differing personalities start to rub off on each other.
We start off not really knowing much about these two, they both seem to be fairly closed off. But as the book progresses we get to know Mateo and Rufus more and more, which just made me fall in love with them both. The thing I love the most about these two is how loyal they are, both to each other and their friends. They have only just met each other yet there is such a dedication to be there for each other, that is unwavering and very humbling in this story. There is no mention of being selfish here, everything everyone does in this book (okay apart from one or two characters), is for each other. Every journey they went on opened more doors as to how they would die and I found myself second guessing everything, I thought this would be typical, but it wasn’t at all.
Death is a massive theme in this book, dealing with other people’s death and also your own. Both characters are very young, 17 and 18, they feel cheated, they had so much they still could have done. Being able to receive a call on the day of your death is such a bizarre concept that it made me think a lot about the consequences of that call and of fate. For most of the book I was wondering if Mateo and Rufus were fated to die only because they received that call, would they be each other’s demise, having met only because of that phone call. Were they always going to meet, were they always going to die on this day, or was it all brought about because they knew of their inevitable deaths? It hurts my head to be honest, I don’t really know where I stand with it all, but I don’t think I’d like to know the day I was going to die. I would live it in fear and probably cause it myself.
I don’t want to go into the ending of this book and what develops because this is spoiler free, but it is a vast mix of adventure, love and sorrows. This book deals with a lot and it’s been on my TBR shelf for a while because last year seven people around me died and I couldn’t face reading a book where someone else did. I felt ready recently to read this and it did no disappoint. I can’t say it made me smile with happiness, but it did make me smile for other reasons.