They Both Die at the End

Book Information
Rating: Outstanding
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: HarperTeen
Year: 2017
ISBN: 9780062688514
Pages: 384

Mateo and Rufus are two ordinary teenagers and total strangers with nothing in common . . . except that they’re both destined to die in the next twenty-four hours. They Both Die in the End is set in an alternate version of our world where science has cracked the code to predict death. A company called Death-Cast calls individuals destined to die within the next twenty-four hours so that they have time to set their affairs in order, say your goodbyes, and fully live out your End Day. Death-Cast is never wrong and no one has ever lived after receiving the call. Mateo is quiet and a bit of a shut-in, always afraid of venturing outside his comfort zone. Rufus is a bold and sometimes reckless orphan with a tight-knit group of foster brothers. When circumstances conspire to leave both boys completely alone on their End Day, they download the Last Friend app. The two boys meet, sparking an unlikely relationship and an End Day full of introspection and adventure.

The point of view alternates between Mateo and Rufus, with the occasional inserted perspective from other supporting characters. Chapters from the perspectives of strangers, seemingly unrelated to the main plot, cleverly expose the ways in which we are all unexpectedly connected to one another. The different perspectives are well handled; Mateo and Rufus each carry a distinct voice, adding depth to the story without muddying or interrupting the flow of the narrative. This novel showcases the power of love and friendship and the ability of one person to completely change your life when you open yourself to the possibilities. Though life often feels tragic and too short, it’s also brimming with joy and beauty; it’s never too late to live life to the fullest and become the person you want to be. Readers will learn how to be brave, how to open themselves to change and vulnerability, and how to find redemption from past mistakes rather than being defined by them. Alhough this novel unfolds within a twenty-four hour period, the flourishing relationship between the two main characters feels organic and their character development genuine. Even as readers hurtle toward the ending of the novel with the prophetic title etched firmly in mind, they can’t help but hope for a miracle.

*Contains mild violence, moderate sexual content, and severe language.