Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations

They Both Die at the End - Book Review

Home > Everywhere > Teenagers | Spirituality | Gay & Lesbian | Books and Writing | Book Reviews
by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published September 17th 2019
They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera, young adult, young adult novel, book, YA novel, YA story

"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."

At a little after midnight, seventeen-year-old Mateo Torrez gets a phone call from Death-Cast. It's the call everyone dreads, the one where you are told that sometime during the next 24 hours, you will die. Lonely and afraid to leave his apartment, Mateo reaches out using an app called Last Friend, which connects 'Deckers', as the people who have received the Death-Cast phone call are called, with someone with whom to share their last day. He connects with Rufus, Emeterio, another teenager who received the call while beating up his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. Together the boys try to help each other make their last day count.

They Both Die at the End is a beautiful book, which is not quite as sad as the synopsis sounds (although you might need a tissue by the end). The premise reminded me of Machine of Death, but whereas the Machine of Death tells you how you will die, but not when, Death-Cast tells you when (approximately) they will die, but not how. I'm not sure which would be worse. The book does not explain how Death-Cast comes up with its predictions, only that it is said to be infallible. This leads to some philosophical conundrums since the predictions can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why bother performing a heart transplant if you've already been informed that the recipient will die on the same day they receive their new heart? Then again, maybe they'll only die on that day because they didn't get the surgery?

They Both Die at the End is written by Adam Silvera, author of History is All You Left Me, and More Happy Than Not. The audiobook version, available on Audible, is wonderfully narrated by Michael Crouch, Robbie Daymond and Bahni Turpin. The chapters alternate between Mateo and Rufus, interspersed with sections about other minor characters, such as employees of Death-Cast and other deckers, which rounds out the world a bit. I found myself really caring about Mateo and Rufus, even knowing what their ultimate fate would be. The story is sad, but not unrelentingly depressing, and has quite of few moments of black comedy.

They Both Die at the End is a tragic tale about two teenagers trying to make the most of their remaining lives by being brave and kind. It's thoughtful, sad, and will stay with you for a long time after reading it.

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  17
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Your Comment
I laughed at the title. I won't have to read it as I know how it ends!
by May Cross (score: 3|5403) 34 days ago
Popular Articles