REVIEW: They Both Die at The End

Scarlett Savage, Reporter

They Both Die at the End is a young adult novel written by American author Adam Silvera and published on September 5, 2017, by HarperTeen. It is Silvera’s third novel and focuses on two teenage boys, Mateo and Rufus, who discover that they only have one day left to live.

Although this book came out over 4 years ago, in April 2020, due to booktok, a popular hashtag for readers the social media platform TikTok, the book’s popularity saw a resurgence, once again placing it on The New York Times Best Seller list. Many have deemed it a “must-read” due to its complex themes, LGBTQ representation, and the emotions it brings.

According to the book synopsis: “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.”

Some warnings necessary for this book are death. It is a heavy topic and isn’t addressed lightly, especially when it’s one of the characters’ friends and or family. There are suicide bombings, attempted murder, and gang activity mentioned in this book so I would not recommend to children under 13.

One of the misconceptions I had about this book was that many people said it was a romance novel. While it does include some romance it is very minimal and could have been added better.

I found the book to be incredible with so many plot twists. Honestly, I sobbed many times while reading it. True to the title there is not a happy ending and is incredibly heart-wrenching.

I found myself relating to one of the main protagonists, Mateo, who took a more sentimental path to finding out he would be dead within the next 24 hours. He, very much the opposite of Rufus, has always been scared and extra careful during his days to avoid any chance of death. When he gets the call the first thing he does is see his dad and his close friends one last time.

I loved the way they had the whole situation insanely realistic with real fears and sorrows addressed. It gave incredible descriptions which made me feel as if I was with them. Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over one unforgettable day. After reading this book, I definitely look forward to reading more incredible works by Silvera.