Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 7th September 2017
When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it’s his last chance to get out there and make an impression.
Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it’s time to run.
Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love…
Everyone told me that this book would break my heart and that should have prepared me but it didn’t. This was one of those novels that I definitely took my time over. I didn’t need to drag it out over the weeks it took me to finish but I just didn’t want to finish it and for Rufus and Mateo’s last day to be over.
They Both Die At The End is so much more than the tragedy porn it could have easily been. It made me think as much as, if not more than, it made me cry. It made me think not only about mortality, but what we do with the life given to us, the impact our lives have on strangers and loved ones alike, mental health, and gratitude. Sometimes I felt like the tragedy was really laid on thick but it was balanced out enough with these thought-provoking themes that it didn’t lose its effectiveness.
Being a dual perspective book, it really nails switching between characters. Rufus and Mateo are completely different in personality and that is reflected in their respective chapters. I never found it confusing or unclear who the speaker was.
The characters themselves made a perfect, heart-breaking pair. It’s obviously stated in the synopsis that the two fall in love, or as close to love as two people can in just one day. Their circumstances, however, gave such an interesting and more complex aspect to their relationship. It was an interesting balance between wanting them to be together but also not wanting them to be too close that they would be even more broken when the time came. As someone who doesn’t usually like ‘just’ romance books, this really kept me enjoying the story.
Another interesting component of this book was the question of: did they meet because they’re dying; or are they dying before they met? And if the latter, was it worth it? This is just another example of how much this book made me think.
“The books that help you most are the ones that make you think the most”
– Theodore Parker
They Both Die At The End made me ask myself the right kind of questions and if you follow my 5 star ratings, nine times out of ten it will be because of this. But it was also entertaining, and that’s the recipe for a 5 star book for me.
I would, of course, recommend you guys pick up Adam Silvera’s latest work. Aside from it being brilliant that a book featuring a male/male romance between the main characters is a number one bestseller, Mateo and Rufus also people of colour being Puerto Rican and Cuban. That’s if you need any more incentive to read They Both Die At The End.