Reviewed on 31st January 2019

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Genre: Fiction / Young Adult
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They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera Synopsis

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—to live a lifetime in a single day. 

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera Review

Let’s Talk About Death

They Both Die at the End, or as I have renamed it ‘Claire cries at the end’, is the first book in a long time that managed to make me ugly cry and I don’t cry. Reading the last 20 pages of this book I could barely see the words in front of me, my heart felt as if it had been ripped out of my chest and I just couldn’t stop sobbing. Why? Adam Silvera’s writing is why.

Now, you might be wondering why it made me cry, especially when the title told me explicitly what was going to happen. Well let me say this, the title in no way prepared me for the emotional roller coaster I found myself going on.

This book made me see parts of myself I didn’t know I had and other parts of me that I thought had long since faded away. It made me question death and how I treat it and for a sickening moment, I found myself hating how I viewed it and hating the book for calling me out on it.

I’m not a person who thinks about death much and when I hear about it on the news I will hold my hands up and say I tend to switch off. When death happens all around you so often, after a while you become numb to the finer details and emotions.

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When I was reading Mateo and Rufus’s story, I was confronted by that fact and in one heart-wrenching moment I found myself asking, ‘am I a horrible person?’ Is it normal that we no longer see death as an important topic, but just something that ‘happens’?

As I was reading They Both Die at the End I found these words tumbling around my brain while reading.

In Adam Silvera’s novel, we are introduced to employees who work at Death-Cast, their job is to literally call people up and tell them they are going to die.

Can you imagine having that job? Of course, you too would be left numb by the horrific nature of the conversations if you were making multiple calls a day. I admit I too would find myself getting bored. Could you imagine yourself not caring as much? I know I could.

The longer I thought about this, the more unsettled I became.

I think that was exactly what Silvera wanted to convey – he wanted to call us out on it to make us think about how we treat death and how we as a nation are becoming more desensitised to it.

Silvera’s writing is so clever. One moment I am imagining myself as a Death-Cast employee and the next I am asking myself ‘how would I feel’ if I was thrust into the shoes of Mateo or Rufus or any other Decker who found themselves standing on the other end of that call being told that today was my last day.

What would I do? Where would I go? Would I want one last friend? Or would I curl up into a ball and wait hoping I could hide from death.

Just thinking about it again makes me shiver, especially when I can see myself and others in some of the reactions described in the book. One of which still leaves me feeling extremely uncomfortable.

Again, I believe this is intentional on Silvera’s part. He’s not just asking me and every other reader to become more sensitized about death, he is also asking us to think about our own deaths, our own reactions to death.

In each ‘Decker’ he presented he is asking the reader a question. Are we allowed to judge others for their actions when confronted with their own death?

Now don’t get me wrong the book isn’t all dark and bleak making me sit in a corner and berate myself. Silvera’s novel also gave me moments of light.

I fell in love with Mateo and Rufus, the way they expressed themselves and dealt with the inevitable end. The way they come together and allowed themselves to open up to a stranger and love one last time and that… that was beautiful.

It reminded me of my own friends and the happiness I feel when with them and it once again gave me faith in humanity. By using the ‘last friend app’ as a platform, Silvera shows us that the world can be full of seedy uncaring people but in amongst that are diamonds – the people that take you as you are and love you for it. People that would become your friend on your last day, putting themselves through the hell of losing you just so that they can know you for a short period of time. Just so they can make sure you are happy and not alone when you need it the most. That warmed my heart.

I am a sucker for a happy ending but this is not a book that will offer that.

Looking at the two main characters I saw myself, especially in Mateo. I too am nervous, afraid and yearning to live and get out of my comfort zone. I want to feel the thrill of living as he does and Silvera showed me that. Through the words on the page, he spoke to me. Telling me that I needed to live every day, to not take my friends for granted and to try new things and put myself out there. Because life is happening now and we should all live our lives with no regrets.

I am a sucker for a happy ending but this is not a book that will offer that. Turning the final page was heart-wrenching for me. To be given so much while knowing all the time it would be taken away was hard…

I was not sure when I picked up this book if I would be able to finish it I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put myself through the pain but I did it….and you can too. And you should.

This book is more than just a story, it is a journey, at least, it was for me. It was raw and real and painful and I wouldn’t trade that first read for anything. Thank you Mr. Silvera. Thank you.

Published by: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-147116-620-4

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