They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera
Release Date: September 5, 2017
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 and to live a lifetime in a single day.
Gay & Bisexual Characters
Content Warning for:
Main Character Death
Assault (on page)
September 5, 2017. The End Day for Mateo and Rufus, and I am bereft. Is it possible to grieve after finishing a book? That’s the only way I can describe the intense emotions I’m feeling right now. It occurred to me at one point that this book should be read with a friend because reading about someone else’s End Day can feel really lonely. I want to hug my loved ones and talk about what I’ve just experienced. My heart aches for Mateo and Rufus but I’m also so very happy that they found each other, and they really lived for a day.
“You may be born into a family, but you walk into friendships. Some you’ll discover you should put behind you. Others are worth every risk.”
The beginning of the story starts off a little slow and I even wondered if maybe Mateo and Rufus chose the wrong person to spend their remaining time with. They were awkward together and while it felt, realistically, how two people who just met would behave, I kept wanting to shout at them “YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS.” I loved how chill and positive Rufus was which is exactly what Mateo needed to get him to put his fears aside so that he could loosen up and live a little. The thing is, the more Mateo does just that, the harder it is to face the reality of their situation.
“No one will be around to judge me tomorrow. No one will send messages to friends about the lame kid who had no rhythm. And in this moment, how stupid it was to care hits me like a punch to the face. I wasted time and missed fun because I cared about the wrong things.”
Something I really liked was how pure their feelings were. Even before there were feelings. They didn’t lie. They didn’t play games. They didn’t hold back and that’s what makes their story all the more special.
“And even if I never got to kiss you, you gave me the life I always wanted.”
I found it comforting to read about the Last Friend app. I had so many mixed feelings about the characters knowing when they’re going to die, so even if they had to weed through trolls – and you almost have to laugh at how realistic that sounds – they could still possibly find someone to connect with on their last day. For Mateo, that meant the world to him.
“If I weren’t standing here with Rufus and our favorite people, I would be depressed. But instead we’re all dancing, something else I never thought I would get to do-not just dancing, but dancing with someone who challenges me to live.”
My one hang up with the book that kept niggling at me was the loophole that people can die from an action they take after they get the call from Death-Cast. As if they hadn’t changed their plans for the day and kept to their normal routine they wouldn’t have died. Though, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the “how you die” is really inconsequential. At the end of the day, your expiration is already written so I guess you should just live it up in a way that makes you happiest instead of wasting time on the “what if’s.”
I thought a lot about whether or not I’d want to know when my time is up and I felt pretty firmly that I wouldn’t, but then a family member suddenly became very ill and it gave me a new perspective. It sucks no matter what so now I think I’d like to be given one last chance to make the most of my time and see the people important to me.
I really felt like I got to know Mateo and Rufus as they learned more about each other and by Part Four I didn’t want to read anymore. I wanted to stop where they were happiest and let them live on in my mind. I fell hard for M&R so thinking of something bad happening to them was giving me anxiety to the point that I started dreading seeing that percentage rise with every page I turned.
I loved almost everything about this book all the way down to the cover and title. At first I thought maybe it was a little blunt but now having read the book I think it’s the only way you can prepare the reader for the inevitable. The message that it’s never too late to come out of your shell, make connections with others, and do the things you’ve always wanted to do is a strong one and I definitely recommend this book to readers of any age.
Adam Silvera was born and raised in the Bronx. He has worked in the publishing industry as a children’s bookseller, marketing assistant at a literary development company, and book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. His debut novel, More Happy Than Not, received multiple starred reviews and is a New York Times bestseller, and Adam was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. He writes full-time in New York City and is tall for no reason.
Represented by Brooks Sherman of the Bent Agency.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.