They Both Die at The End – book review
Title: They Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
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—to live a lifetime in a single day.
In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”
Rating: 4 out of 5
This was my anticipated read of the year and I was beyond ecstatic when it was finally delivered to my doorstep. But life got in the way and caused me to push reading it off for quite some time, so instead, the book followed me everywhere and I never had a chance to crack the cover.
Eventually, I did open it and then my mental health decreased, so after having started it, I had to pause it for even longer. Knowing Adam Silvera’s writing style, I feared a weakened mental state wouldn’t be the best way to finish the novel.
So take my review with a grain of salt if you read this book within a few days because my reading was scattered a bit. I plan to reread, but at this moment I don’t have time.
While I did love TBDATE, I found this to rank #3 on my list of Silvera books. I think a lot of this had to do with the anticipation working up to the release. I had seen this book everywhere, I had met Adam himself, I had so many opportunities to get an ARC and didn’t, that by the time the book actually was released, it almost felt like it had been released so many months prior. So if it was getting this much fame, it must have been incredible, right?
I’ll go ahead and blame my brain for over anticipation. Because honestly, go Silvera’s marketing team. They did an incredible job.
Silvera has created an interesting and thought-provoking concept of Death Cast—a service that calls you the day that you are going to die. They don’t provide you with a time of death or how you’ll die, but just that at some point during that day, you will die. It’s a service that came into existence only a few years before the book started, so relatively new, it was still a new concept to the characters as well.
I have seen some reviews who have been disappointed by the lack of creating Death Cast completely. To those reviews, I will argue that while we didn’t know much about Death Cast, I don’t think the character did either. Considering it was from their point of view, I felt satisfied with the amount of information I did have. I don’t think the story was about Death Cast itself, more so about Mateo and Rufus.
With the knowledge of your death, you’re given the opportunity to now live your last day to the fullest. Restaurants and other attractions have services at a discount or even free. There are places where you can do extreme adventures, like skydiving, in a safe environment, and there is even a World of Travel Arena, where you can travel anywhere throughout the world in a realistic setting. It’s the idea of being able to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do before you go. Except, you don’t know what time you’re going to go.
For a majority of the book, Silvera writes in Mateo and Rufus’ point of view. However, he throws in some random point of views too, which add an interesting light to the story. We get the view of certain Death Cast employees, as well as other people who have received the call. Through all of these point of views, Silvera walks us through how connected all of our lives actually are, even if we don’t know it. Whether we are passing each other on the street or we had simple communication through a transaction, all of us are connected in some way. The littlest thing could make the biggest difference.
There is also the Last Friend app, which is similar to a dating profile, except you’re finding the last friend to hang out with. Often, people like to hold their own funeral and say goodbye to the people closest to them, before heading off to spend their day without those they love. The idea behind this is people don’t want their loved ones to watch them die. Through the Last Friends app, Rufus and Mateo meet. Two completely different individuals, from different walks of life, who end up spending the day together.
Throughout the entire book, Silvera has you questioning your own mortality. What would you do on your last day? Would you have a similar day to those characters? Would you remain home in the safety of your bed? Pretend that you weren’t actually dying?
TBDATE is a book about living your life to the fullest. We do not know when we are going to die, so why push things off? Why not live like this is your last day here?
Of course, this isn’t always easy. We have jobs and responsibilities that we have to account for. But it’s also thinking about the smaller things in life. What are simple things you can add to your normal routine? Go out on a Wednesday night despite working the next day. Go try something new. Create a bucket list of things to go do and experience that doesn’t cost a fortune.
We often get too wrapped up in needing to travel to far away places that instead of living in the present and experiencing everything around us, we just don’t live. Either we are saving up for the future of a crazy adventure or we are too discouraged to even try.
So I challenge you: do something brand new this week. Something that scares you, makes you happy, might have you thinking … something that causes a disruption in your schedule.
When your End Day comes, you’ll be thankful you didn’t wait. We don’t have control on the time we leave this Earth, but we do have control over how we spend our time here.