Title: They Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Category: YA Dystopian/LGBTQ+
My Rating: 5 Star
On September 5th, 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.
I’ve heard great things about this YA novel, but it’s been on my shelf for ages untouched and begging to be read.
I managed to read it on a recent holiday, and wow, it was worth the wait! This title should come with a warning to invest in boxes of Kleenex. It’s well written with beautifully crafted characters. You already know the ending, but you hope with all your heart that it’s a lie.
Mateo and Rufus know they will be dead by the end of the day, but they don’t know how they’ll die. They both log on to the Last Friend app, designed to help deckers find someone to spend their final hours with. Some app users are also dying, and others donate their time to help support those who received the call from Death-Cast.
Mateo and Rufus are as different as two people can be. Both teenagers, Rufus is streetwise and confident while Mateo barely leaves his bedroom. The relationship that develops between the two is beautiful and honest.
I adored Mateo. He was innocent, naïve, empathic, and funny. His story unfolds, and you fall more in love with him with each page. Rufus is fabulous. Although more confident, he has his own heartache and passions. As the two become friends and share their last hours, you can’t help but hope the book’s title is a big fib!
Intermingled with Mateo and Rufus’s final adventures are secondary characters who are either employees of Death-Cast who aren’t dying today or fellow deckers trying to come to terms with their own mortality.
The storylines are brutal, honest, affectionate, and varied. I loved how all the characters crossed paths sometimes without being a part of each other’s final moments. Told from the various characters viewpoints, you jump from one story to the next with each chapter.
It’s been a long time since I sobbed this hard at a book. I was totally broken by it and exhausted after turning the last page. The characters and story stayed with me for a long time after.
They Both Die at the End is a beautiful book with outstanding characters and will make you think hard about your own life and how you may or may not waste the days, weeks, months, and years you’ve got left in this world.
You don’t need to be a young adult to enjoy this book. If you’re looking for a heart-warming (and heart-breaking) story, then give this a go. You won’t be disappointed – just remember the Kleenex!