They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: What Would You Do With Your Very Last Day?

September 5, 2017 Coyer, Reviews 18 ★★★★

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: What Would You Do With Your Very Last Day?They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Published by HarperTeen on September 5th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
My content rating: YA (Themes of death & dying, sex, suicide, violence)
My rating:
4 Stars

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.

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My Take copy3

The genre for this book is sort of hard to describe, but I guess I’d call it paranormal or magical realism. The setting feels mostly contemporary but then there’s this obviously fantastical element: the fact that people receive a call to warn them on the day they die. This fact has (rightfully) affected society in many ways, so we get a modern-day world with a twist.

What Fed My Addiction:

  • The unique concept. I found the entire concept of receiving a phone call on the day you’re going to die fascinating. How would this affect the way we live our everyday lives? What types of things would you want to do on that final day? Silvera presents us with a world that’s shaped by the “Deckers”—those who are going to die that day. There are special opportunities for them to get a last-ditch chance at experiencing life—places where they can try simulated daredevil activities and such. There are online sites where people can document their last days—and where people can follow them in a sort of voyeuristic fascination (this feels particularly real to me). There are even programs where you can become “friends” with a Decker for a day. This concept feels like storytelling gold (and it makes me want to start writing fan fiction short stories about people’s last days!).
  • Overcoming your past, even if it’s just for a day. Both Mateo and Rufus have regrets. They both have parts of themselves that they’d like to let go of. Mateo needs to overcome his inability to step out and take chances in life, and Rufus can’t get past the guilt of outliving his family (and some of the poor choices he’s made since losing them). But the beauty of the story is that Rufus and Mateo teach each other to live in the moment (now that they only have a few moments left) and that it’s never too late to change. (It could be argued that Rufus does most of the teaching when it comes to this, but I think that Mateo helps Rufus shed his past as well.)
  • Waiting… Throughout the book you find yourself waiting and wondering how the end will come for Mateo and Rufus (and for a few other characters whose POVs are sprinkled throughout the book). There are LOTS of near-misses—in fact, I felt like maybe there were a few too many of these to feel realistic. But it did have the effect of keeping us guessing about how these characters would meet their untimely demises. And, of course, there’s plenty of dramatic tension as Mateo and Rufus, themselves, are wondering how they’ll die while still trying to squeeze every last moment out of life that they can.

What Left Me Hungry for More:

  • No explanation of the ability to discern when someone will die. The characters themselves don’t know how Death-Cast works. In fact, it’s emphasized in the book that not even Death-Cast’s employees know how the information about a person’s death is known. Presumably, there’s someone who knows this information—someone running things—but we don’t ever get their perspective, or even any hint of who that could be—so the reader just has to accept the premise and choose to suspend disbelief. The lack of explanation could be a little unsettling, though.
  • Slight disconnect for me. I’ll admit that, as much as I loved these characters, I still felt a slight disconnect from them. I can’t exactly put my finger on why—maybe it was just because I knew they were going to die, so it took away some of the impact? There were a couple of scenes that should have been heartbreaking, but they just didn’t really affect me the way they should have for some reason. I really liked both Mateo and Rufus, but I never quite connected to them. Maybe it was me.

This book highlights the fragility of life and the need to savor every moment. I give it 4/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

About the Author

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. He is tall for no reason and writes in New York City.

 

Author Links:
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18 Responses to “They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: What Would You Do With Your Very Last Day?”

  1. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I’ve been hearing/seeing so much advance buzz for this one. I’m definitely intrigued by the premise. I love the uniqueness of it and it definitely lends itself to plenty of exploration. I think I would be expecting more (or some) explanation for it all so I’m glad you mentioned that. Maybe I’ll be able to adjust my expectations before reading it so I won’t be expecting that. Great review, Nicole!

  2. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I was waiting to see what you thought about this book– since I knew you really wanted to read it. Glad you mostly liked it. I need to read an Adam Silvera book, but I haven’t decided which book to start with. Maybe NOT the one where everyone dies. Maybe I’ll start with one where just one person does?? LOL.

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    You know how much I love Adam Silvera and my copy of this came in the mail yesterday so I hope to read it soon. I can see how knowing the characters die would make it a bit harder to connect – I’ll have to see how I feel when I read it of course, but I always appreciate your pro/con type of review style. I’m glad you enjoyed this one overall.

    -lauren

  4. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I enjoyed this one SO much. It wasn’t as weepy as I assumed it would be, which was a plus actually. I agree about the lack of info on the “how”, but I kind of rathered the whole “we can’t tell you” as opposed to some more unbelievable way? But yeah, I totally agree with your thoughts here! I have to review this one soon too (next week, if I am motivated?) but yeah, it was a good one! Great review 😀

  5. Evelina

    You’ve got it spot on! I also felt disconnected from the characters in this one. And I felt the despair too much. It’s a good book, but I didn’t feel like I enjoyed it, really.

  6. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Eeep I loved this one so so much too!! THE CHARACTERS WERE THE BEST. <3 And I loved the concept although I'd read it in Denton Little's Death Date prior to this so it didn't feel totally new to me. Aaaand, I wish there'd be more world-building. (I'm still not even sure why they're called "Deckers"!?) or how they KNOW when their death day is. 😳😳So many questions.

    But it was still heartbreaking and beautiful.❤️❤️

  7. Evelina

    I actually liked the fact that they don’t know how DeathCast works themselves. I had no trouble accepting that. But you are spot on about it feeling disconnected – that’s exactly what I felt, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s just us, we couldn’t relate to the MCs that much? Could be.

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