They Both Die at the End Book Review

© 2020 Arabellan K. Federico All Rights Reserved

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

A Book review by arabella k. federico

When I first saw the title for “They Both Die at the End” I was like wait…what? Do they REALLY die at the end?? And so, when it was time to do a book review on it, I wasn’t sure whether to spill the beans or not. But, the title says it, and you’ll know it from Chapter 1. So, I’m going to spoil it for you. I’m a sucker for a story where you are aware of the ending because the surprise isn’t the ending! It’s the journey of how they get there. I believe that’s the point, but I know you’ll still hold out hope that I’m wrong. That’s okay because I did. 

   The book starts off with a POV of Mateo, an isolated loner eighteen-year-old boy who lives alone. His dad is in a coma and his mom has been dead for years. Mateo finds out he’s dying today. In a world where “Death-Cast” gives you a call at midnight notifying you that will be dead sometime within the next 24 hours. It’s a major shock to him. You don’t know when, and you don’t know how, but you know that today is the day you’re going to die. 

Would YOU wanna know the day that you were going to die?
Why or why not?

   The next POV switches to Rufus, an angsty seventeen-year-old orphan. Sadly, he lost his entire family to Death-Cast a year ago. Poor Rufus is a little fucked up from it all and it shows. We get our intro to good-old Rufus as he’s beating the shit out of his ex-girlfriend’s new BF, Peck. When Rufus also gets the call from Death-Cast.

   He can’t believe he is dying today, and not this dick-weed Peck. I can’t remember why he was so pissed at the guy, but it was probably because he was still in love with his ex, Amy. She didn’t want to be with Rufus anymore. Rufus is apart of a small group of other orphans (including Amy) nicknamed “The Pluto’s”. The Pluto’s consist of two boys, Amy, and Rufus. They all have a funeral for Rufus, a luxury given to people in this world, but unseen events cause Rufus to end up fleeing from the police at his own funeral. Not having any of his friends or family to spend his last day with, Rufus decides to download the Last Friend App and find a last friend to spend his final hours with. Can you see where this is going? 

 What would you do on your End Day?

   Mateo is timid, afraid of his own shadow, paranoid, and full of regrets. Rufus is angry, bitter, consumed with guilt about the death of his family. He wishes every day he had just died along with them. They both come together, complete opposites of each other. Coincidentally, they are exactly what they both need on their End Days. As the book goes on, they get to experience their final moments together. Therefore, some moments are extremely deep and profound, and others lackluster and fake for the sake of safety. 


Would you want a Last Friend, someone completely foreign to you, on your last day alive?

  The theme of this book is extremely obvious and apparent throughout the entire thing. Live. LIVE!  Don’t wait until you are dying to finally allow yourself to live. That is what these two boys teach each other to do, especially in Mateo’s case. He’s the protagonist, he’s the character who transforms the most. Despite the POVs switching through the entire book.

Watch your phone…Death-Cast may be calling.

 He grows the most, he finds his inner courage and realizes he only has such a limited time to live his last day on Earth. He truly breaks down his walls built up over his entire life. It’s heart warming to see him grow and realize the change within himself. I couldn’t help but think, “Am I, in some ways, living my life like Mateo?” Not truly living, because well, living is terrifying? There is a point at the end where the two boys are talking about their End Day. They both agree that they’d rather live one single day to their absolute fullest than live an entire lifetime just drudging through life half-fulfilled. I couldn’t help but agree with that. It’s extremely apparent the message that Silvera was trying to convey. And he absolutely drove it home in a great way that wasn’t too overwhelming.

  They Both Die at the End isn’t what I normally read. It’s not an epic fantasy novel with an entirely made up world, not a new techy-science or virtual reality troupe gone wrong, but it still kept my attention throughout. I really did enjoy it. I was engaged, eager to know what happens next, and like I said at the beginning, so damn hopeful they wouldn’t fucking die at the end. You wanna hope that they’re the exception-that their connection is enough to prevent the never wrong Death-Cast prediction…uhhg! It’s heartbreaking. You usually don’t have the main character and protagonist die, it just rarely happens, and I can see why; because it sucks ass! You get connected to these characters and it’s hard when they die.


Final Thoughts 

    There were other POVs in the book, and as I can see how they all connect and tie together to the main plot but, I felt like they weren’t entirely necessary. Towards the very end I was thankful for them purely because it was all getting way too real and emotional and I needed a break from it all, so on that end I liked the other POV breaks that weren’t either Mateo or Rufus, but considering the overall plot I didn’t think they were truly needed. Not a deal breaker, though, they weren’t a complete drag. Overall I’d recommend this one, I think everyone needs the message this book conveys so clearly. We all need to truly live, and not have death barreling towards us like a bullet in order to do so.
~ Book Reviews by Arabella K. Federico

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