Publication Date: 5 September 2017
Genre: Young Adult
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera follows Mateo and Rufus as they find out that they both only have one day left to live. After receiving a call from Death-Cast, they seek each other out through the Last Friend app and have one last day of adventure.
What enticed me to read this novel was the premise. It is very simple yet intriguing and pulled me in quickly. The concept of knowing when you are going to die is something many people wonder about and to know before it happens is very scary. Silvera seemed to capture what society would actually be like if there was such a service where people called you up to tell you when you are going to die. The certain aspects and new ways of living he included helped build up this unique world. I do not often see this sort of world in a young adult contemporary, so that was something new and fascinating he included.
While I liked the premise, the novel was slightly dull. Although there is enough action to stay interested, there are parts of the story that seem unnecessary. Filler paragraphs like Mateo telling us exactly what he did during the whole day provoked me to skip over various parts of the novel. There are also smaller chapters of random people’s point-of-views, such as an employee at Death-Cast or one of Rufus’s friend, and this did not add much to the story.
This is my first Adam Silvera novel and likely not my last. His writing style is well-written, but in this case did not pull me in. His other novels sound good and I like that he uses important themes in his stories. The message in They Both Die at the End is one that I enjoyed, which is overcoming your fears and putting yourself out there. The character of Mateo struggles with this and uses his last day to do the things he wouldn’t usually do. This is a good message to tie in with the plot because in our life we do not know when we are going to die and should do the things we are scared to do.
I did struggle to get through the novel. It is somewhat drawn out and long-winded. The ending is spoiled in the title (they both die at the end), which made it difficult for me to be surprised. We do not know how they are going to die, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, as it is going to happen nonetheless. As the ending is ruined for everyone, that leaves the adventure they go on the only thing of substance in the story. Unfortunately, I was not overly entertained by the things that they did.
The voices of the characters was enjoyable to read about. The characters are easily distinguishable and had unique qualities about them. It was fun to read about two people who would not usually have a reason to talk to each other to meet up in strange circumstances. Both characters are strong and it was nice to read about their backstories. The novel only goes over one day so learning more about them seemed vital. My favourite character is Mateo. His story seemed more defined than Rufus’s and he is quite a relatable character. Rufus is also a well-rounded character and I liked that he was so interested in helping Mateo.
My rating is three stars because it did not fully captivate me.
I would recommend this novel to fans of young adult and to those who are intrigued by the premise.
Thank you to HarperTeen for the advanced reader copy that I received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
- Have you read any novels by Adam Silvera?