“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.” (via Goodreads)
Puerto Rican Rufus and Cuban American Mateo get the call that they’re going to die and spend the day together. It’s a simple premise but one that sugarcoats what actually happens. These two boys get more character development in less than 24 hours than most characters get in books that span years. They don’t just learn to live in the moment. They become the truest versions of themselves. And that’s what makes the novel work so well. Our teenage years are tumultuous and frenetic, but we emerge from all that chaos as adults. Rufus and Mateo live their teen years in one go, trudging through all its thematic moments in a single day.
The title is the conclusion – it’s exactly what it says on the tin. They both really do die at the end, but Silvera’s magic is that you spend the whole book knowing it’s coming and yet it still sneaks up on you. And I’m glad it does. I’m not one of those people who believes in coddling children and young adults. Life is hard, too hard sometimes, and to deny them fiction that allows them to explore that hardship through others is to deny them the truth.
Silvera doesn’t shy away from the darkness, but he also doesn’t wallow in it. Despite the tragedy of the plot, the story itself is brimming with hope and love. Besides following the boys through New York City, we see glimpses of the lives of those on their End Day and those directly and indirectly involved/impacted by the call. There’s a whole world out there that Rufus and Mateo are a part of but will never get to know in all its intricacies.
After reading They Both Die at the End, all I could think was how disappointed I was in myself for never having read Adam Silvera before. How could I have denied myself such impressive, heart wrenching work for so long? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read More Happy Than Not.
Death-Cast is calling with the warning of a lifetime—I’m going to die today. Forget that, “warning” is too strong a word since warnings suggest something can be avoided, like a car honking at someone who’s crossing the street when it isn’t their light, giving them the chance to step back; this is more of a heads-up. The alert, a distinctive and endless gong, like a church bell one block away, is blasting from my phone on the other side of the room. I’m freaking out already, a hundred thoughts immediately drowning out everything around me. I bet this chaos is what a first-time skydiver feels as she’s plummeting out of a plane, or a pianist playing his first concert. Not that I will ever know for sure.
It’s crazy. One minute ago I was reading yesterday’s blog entry from CountDowners—where Deckers chronicle their final hours through statuses and photos via live feeds, this particular one about a college junior trying to find a home for his golden retriever—and now I’m going to die.
I’m going to . . . no . . . yes. Yes.
My chest tightens. I’m dying today.
Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or get it from your public library.