If you’re someone who generally avoids reading blurbs then you should probably skip this review.
A few moments ago I finished reading They Both Die at the End and I knew straight away that I had to come and write this review which (after hugging the book tightly to my chest) is exactly what I did. Usually, I like to take some time to really let a book sink in so I can really figure out how I really feel about it, however, I don’t need to do that with this book.
I was drawn to They Both Die at the End the moment I saw the cover (the one pictured in the featured/header image) and even more so when I read what it was about. It practically guaranteed an interesting read. Between the blurb and the title, the book really does give you a lot of pre-warning, but those things in no way ruin this story. For those who don’t know, They Both Die at the End is about two boys, Mateo and Rufus, who both receive a call from Death-Cast telling them that they’re going to die today. The two of them meet through an app and they become each other’s Last Friend.
We mainly follow the two of them on their journey as they live out their last day together. They are somewhat different in a variety of ways. Rufus is more outspoken and a bit of a risk taker while Mateo is more reserved and prefers staying indoors. We learn a lot about them as they learn about each other. Like a lot of young adult stories, we get to experience these characters go through some kind of change. Considering all we know about the story from the blurb and the title, Adam Silvera manages to show us who they are and who they can become without it seeming rushed or, on the flip side, without the story feeling like it is lacking its full potential.
The book takes over less than 24 hours and Adam Silvera perfectly creates a story between two characters that we would normally see happen over several days in any other book. It’s perfectly paced, informative, and is incredibly purposeful in every way. What helps with this, is the fact that Mateo and Rufus’ chapters are filtered out with smaller ones that focus on people they know and people they don’t. A lot of those connect to Mateo and Rufus’ story while others simply help to expand and enrich the world they live in. We don’t have anything as sophisticated as the Death-Cast in real life so all of these different chapters and characters help us to get used to it, and understand it better, without really distracting from the main story.
The whole of They Both Die at the End is beautifully written and not a moment is wasted. During what is really a heartbreaking plot, we get a story that is surprisingly uplifting and very real. It manages to give an emotional punch but it also allows for a lot of laughs throughout. Although their journey is intertwined, this book feels equal parts Mateo and equal parts Rufus. Despite their differences, they blend together perfectly and it’s such a genuine pleasure to read about these characters. There was never a point where I wished I was reading one’s point of view over the other. It’s incredibly easy to fall in love with them both and it’s impossible not to turn to the next page because you want to soak up every bit of their story.
There’s first experiences as well as lasts, there’s familial love as well as romantic, there’s learning to grow as a person but not forgetting who you really are. These are just some of the things we get to experience while reading They Both Die at the End, there’s a lot within these pages that even if I did write spoilers, I could never fully capture it in words. I genuinely believe there’s something for everyone in this book and although I’ve not long put it down, I want to pick it right back up again.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ /5