I’ve finally been able to dry my eyes enough that I can review this book! Even when the title gives the ending of the book away, I still wasn’t prepared for it. If you haven’t read this book yet, I will urge you to do so with a whole box of tissues.
They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera is easily his best book yet. I haven’t read More Happy Than Not, but I didn’t enjoy History Is All You Left Me as much as I did TBDATE. I was thrilled to bits that I loved this book – even though it was utterly heartbreaking. The story is told between two boys, Rufus and Mateo, who both receive a call via Death-Cast on September 5th telling them that they will die that day. They aren’t told when or how, just that they’re going to die. Mateo is a shy and unconfident teenager, shouldered with responsibility since his father fell into a coma, and the news that he will die without saying goodbye is terrifying. Rufus is more outgoing, but is full of anger and grief since the death of his parents and sister only a few months before. Reaching out to each other via the Last Friend app, Rufus and Mateo discover a close and powerful friendship – even if it isn’t destined to last long.
This is a beautifully written insight into the reactions surrounding death, and how different people cope. Mateo is terrified, and spends a few hours hiding in his house. Rufus holds a funeral with his friends and tries to say some heartfelt goodbyes. As the two boys come together, you’re glad of the friendship they form and how they manage to encourage each other to do things. Rufus encourages Mateo to live. Live as though nobody is watching, and we see through the book his confidence grow as they share memories and moments together. Although the book prioritises the chapters of the boys, we also see snippets of other characters that all weave into the narrative, and in turn affect things going on right before our main characters eyes. There are characters who return after a few chapters, characters who have also been called by Death-Cast, and characters who impact their lives far more.
They Both Die At The End is such a clever and powerful book – I honestly can’t put into words how much I loved it and how much the end affected me. I sat and cried for a while afterwards because I couldn’t believe it, and even writing about it now gives me the chills. It is beautiful. It is brave. It is powerful. It is everything a book should be. A book should be able to make you feel an array of emotions, and then leave you empty afterwards because you’ve finished it and don’t know what to do. This is one of those books, and I applaud Adam Silvera for his skill and talent.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go and cry into the pages again.
Final thought: We’ll ALL cry at the end of this powerful book. 5/5