Book reviews

Book Review: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

they both die at the end adam silvera book reviewTitle: They Both Die At The End
Author: Adam Silvera
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary/magical realism(?)
Publication date: September 5th, 2017
On September 5, a little after midnight, DeathCast 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 They Both Die At The End, Adam Silvera reminds us that life cannot exist without death, and love cannot exist without pain.

The book is set in a contemporary New York City in 2017. However: one element is different from this world compared to our own.  The existence of DeathCast, an organisation that figured out when people are going to die and calls them on their ‘End Day’ to let them know.

The story opens with Mateo, that gets the infamous call. Almost instantly you feel sorry for him, because Mateo understandably doesn’t feel like his life is finished, as he’s still a teenager. Mateo doesn’t have much of a social life and downloads the Last Friend app. He gets a few messages from people that are up to no good – I liked that Silvera took the time to explore the sociocultural constructions of society and life around his alternate reality. There were a lot of things available for consumption around the Death-Cast app which made it feel that much more realistic.

Then the story then starts switching POV’s when Rufus comes in the picture. By the way, I haven’t seen many people talk about this but Rufus says a lot of ‘yo’ and ‘we out’ in this book, which I guess is to make him sound more ‘hood’? It felt forced and stereotypical. Mateo and Rufus meet up and start hanging out, knowing that for the both of them, this is their last chance to do what they want, say goodbye to loved ones and tie loose ends together.

“Maybe it’s better to have gotten it right and been happy for one day instead of living a lifetime of wrongs.”

This book doesn’t have a plot, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much depth. While reading, you witness the relationship between the two boys grow and evolve from a friendship into a romance. Although I didn’t think the romance was super convincing, I did enjoy the dynamic between our two empathetic heroes. Each individual character also develops, especially Mateo. However, I found his character development over the top and unrealistic. At the beginning of the day he is a shy boy with no social life and at the end of the day he’s dancing around with strangers.

Then there were the random chapters from side character that didn’t have a point. Seriously, even in the last third of the book we were introduced to new characters with stories that were never resolved nor had anything to do with the basic plotline. I’m still not sure what the point of Delilah’s storyline was.

So, in the end, there were things I liked and things I disliked. I liked how fleshed out and complex our main characters were and how there was bisexual/gay representation as well as people of color. I’m also a sucker for books that show the sensitive side of male characters. I liked Mateo and Rufus’ dynamic but I wasn’t sold on the way their relationship developed. I enjoyed reading the book, but I never connected enough with the characters to really feel empathetic to what was happening to them.

 

Final rating:

3 stars

 

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21 thoughts on “Book Review: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

  1. You said there wasn’t a main plot but that you were still upset how subplots weren’t as developed as the main one? So was there a main plot but it was just not well executed? Or was it all just all over the place in that regard?

    I haven’t read the book – yet, I might look into it – but as someone who often comes across as shy, I have an easier time hanging out with strangers than I do with people I know. So, for me at least, Mateo’s character 180 sounds believable. But I’d need to read the book first to get a sense for how the character was set up and the development arc of Mateo.

    Overall your review has gotten me interested in checking out the book. Plus, I love spoilers so the title speaks to me. Hahaha

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    1. I guess I sort of meant that there is a main plotline (which is the title/premise of the book in this case) but not really a main plot.. There were some subplots (things that were happening to the side characters) but they didn’t add anything to the main plotline nor were they really well fleshed out.

      I love spoilers too! One of the main reasons I decided to check this book out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess not all books are the best thing on the planet. It really comes down to the characters I feel like. As long as the characters are interesting and change over the course of the story, it doesn’t matter if they go on an epic adventure or stay at home the entire time.

        It’s kind of like “To the Lighthouse.” The entire book is just them on the way to the lighthouse, but a lot of people enjoy the writing because of the character depth that you get invested into.

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      2. I agree, characters really make or break a book, and everything else is secondary. I can read a book where basically nothing happens as long as the characters are fleshed out and I can connect to them in one way or another. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the title of the book, it almost gives it away and braces you to be empathic. I like the idea the book was going for in terms but I hate it when books ramble and create a disconnect. It has potential, even though I don’t like the sound of Rofus’s stereotypical character but I guess that was a way to show oppsites attracting lol…thanks for the honest review ☺️☺️

    xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It sounds like this book has a lot of strong aspects that don’t necessarily make up for the bad aspects. As someone who grew up in a – for lack of a vetter word – “ratchet” neighborhood, we do say things like “yo,” and “sup man,” in every three or four sentences. But hearing it is different from reading it. So writing a character with that dialogue would probably work much better in a movie rather than a novel.

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      1. no problem girl, it IS a similar cover. I heard rumors they’re making a movie out of this one too so your comment still works haha. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The title is promising. Telling you the end but I am sure it is actually not. It is great that there s diversity in the characters but such a shame you could not connect with them! xx corinne

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