They Both Die at the End by: Adam Silvera – A novel.
AGE GROUP: 14 and up// GENRE: LGBTQ+/ Romance fiction/ Adventure fiction// AMOUNT OF PAGES: 367// RATING: 4/5
A little while after the clock strikes midnight, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive a call from Death-Cast and are confronted with the fact that they have twenty-four hours left until they’re faced with their death. Whether it’s an untimely death or a pleasant one, they won’t know until it occurs. All that Mateo and Rufus are aware of is that they are going to die by the end of the day.
Using the app called the Last Friend, Mateo and Rufus go from complete strangers to Last Friends. After meeting for the first time, they begin to experience a lifetime’s worth of excitement all in one day. Their last day.
I’m sorrrrry I haven’t uploaded a review in over a month… I’m just, well, bad at staying motivated to write, edit, and then post. I just want to readddd!
Welcome back to another review! Let’s jump right in…
I finished this book in a matter of less than 48 hours, but I’ve realized that doesn’t always symbolize that it’s a great book (not directing that comment towards this book). It was the weekend, so of course I decided to start and finish a book. This was my first LGBTQ novel that I’ve read, and I loved the experience of reading it, as well as the fact that They Both Die at the End opened my eyes to other LGBTQ novels that I’m interested in, such as History is All You Left Me. Also by Silvera, I read that shortly after I had finished They Both Die at the End and I quite enjoyed it!
The plot to this book was filled with warmth, flooded with emotions, and all in all was utterly adoring. If you were to get a phone call calmly explaining that you were about to die in a mere 24 hours, would YOU be as calm and collected as these characters appeared to the world? Or would you be freaking out like they really were in their minds? I think we all would be having a mental breakdown in our house, taking a leaf out of Mateo’s book. I loved how Mateo was totally set on spending his last day in his house, whereas Rufus wasn’t having any of it. Rufus wanted them to spend their last day as two individuals who were really living. Not just surviving and awaiting death; actually living. Honestly, this book was such an eye-opener when it comes to life and death (sorry, that sounds morbid). These two characters managed to live an entire life in one day, while some people cannot live a rich life when they have all the time in the world.
I found that Silvera managed to create such a heartwarming tale of two boys that were to die at the end (as the title states), but as Silvera explained at some point (either in some bonus material at the back of the book, or in the acknowledgements), the title neither spoils the ending nor (in my opinion) absorbs the fun of reading this book. The sole purpose of They Both Die at the End is not, in fact, about the ending, but about what happens on each page as you continue to read about Mateo and Rufus’s gratifying adventure. Silvera created such a thoughtful and endearing book that depicts life in a different light: you can either live a life of utter boredom and dullness but live until you are elderly, or you can live your entire life complete with, just, fun in that one day, as Rufus and Mateo managed to do.
Although I loved the main plot, I had fairly high expectations for this book because of all the craze surrounding it, and for the most part it lived up to it. I loved the whole concept of the book, but I was a little disappointed at what I read as Mateo and Rufus lived throughout the book. I felt like the inner part of the book, the BOOM moment, was missing. I don’t know… I know I loved the book while reading it, but I also know that I felt like something about Rufus and Mateo’s adventure on their last day was missing. I know that I felt like Silvera could’ve added something… a plot twist that didn’t meddle with the ending, or another subplot, or… arghhhh I don’t know!
They Both Die at the End shows the reader that what happens at the end isn’t what they should take from this book. Instead, look at what happens on each page as Mateo and Rufus live out their last day together, enjoying every moment of it.
These characters were honestly so relatable because their thoughts and fears were so realistic. As I read this book, I got a thorough understanding of what they were thinking and feeling and what they were going through. Also, being in the LGBTQ genre, this book obviously includes diverse characters but I wanted to mention it anyway. I loved the diversity when it came to that, but also the racial aspect. There appears to be a lot of diversity in Silvera’s books and that’s really important, considering that our world has a great amount of variety.
What I loved about Silvera’s characters were how real they felt. Mateo and Rufus were never once described as gorgeous or striking, and if you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’d know that the appearances of characters in YA novels always get to me. Seriously, even in REALISTIC fiction they’re made out to be ‘handsome’, ‘gorgeous, ‘beautiful’, and so on, and I HATE IT! So, THANK YOU ADAM SILVERA for NOT painting each — or any — character in your book to be a Disney princess or prince! Like, hello, if you’re writing a book you really want to make sure your characters are relatable and we, as readers, are able to connect with them. Sorry to break it to you, but when you create a world full of these inhumanly stunning characters, you’re doing the opposite of helping readers relate to them. As humans, we have major flaws and we are not perfect, so authors really need to stop writing about only these characters that do not represent the world we live in.
Sorry for that rant… Alright, so, as you can probably tell, I loved the characters! However, one of the reasons I marked this book down was the romance. I genuinely thought that the romance could have been left out and I would’ve liked this book a lot more. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them together, but I didn’t like how rushed it was. Yes, I know they had a single day to live, but it still felt like it was sprung on me. Truthfully, I found the romance really awkward because the characters had literally just met! It honestly felt weird.
This book was charged with emotion and I LOVED IT! Silvera wrote a beautifully, cry-worthy book, but was his writing any good? Hmmm… yes…? Well, these days I haven’t been able to find a book that has satisfied me in the writing category. These YA books (contemporary and realistic fiction) that I’ve found myself reading are all written by ‘meh’ writers, in my opinion. What I mean by this is that I’ve read so many books, and currently I’m into thriller novels and Silvera’s contemporary romance fiction, but what I’ve found is that these writers are simply good. They’re not great; they’re not awful (well, some are). However, with Silvera, because he can write emotion so purely, he is able to make up for his lack of being a fantastic writer, such as Philip Pullman (you’re welcome, Mom). I mean, Silvera is a good writer, but he is only good to an extent.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel and, more importantly, I feel like I truly got something out of it besides the good read!