Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End is the heartbreaking but hopeful story of two teenagers who, after being notified of their impending death, spend their last day of life together.
Mateo and Rufus are spending their late nights very differently – one holed up in his bedroom as always and the other beating someone to a pulp, but they both stop in their tracks when they hear the familiar, terrible chime coming from their phones. It’s DeathCast calling to tell them that at some indeterminate time today and in some indeterminate way, they will die.
In the hopes that they can live their last day of life to the fullest, the boys each create accounts on the app Last Friend, where you’re paired up with someone to spend your final day with. They connect and decide to make the most of their day together.
Mateo is shy and scared of the world – he takes college classes online and tries to leave his apartment as little as possible. Rufus is a spitfire who moves a mile a minute on his bike and wishes he could spend the day with his best friends. The boys comfort each other as their clocks tick toward death, pushing each other to experience new things and connecting in a way that is utterly tragic, since they’re dying today. They attempt to live the rest of their lives in the few short hours they have left, but how much of life and love can they fit in before their untimely deaths?
Please take caution while reading They Both Die at the End if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Death or dying
They Both Die at the End is such a painful, oddly hopeful story, but it is absolutely worth the emotional turmoil. Silvera does a wonderful job of tricking you into forgetting that, as the title implies, Mateo and Rufus will be dying by the end of the day. Each minute ticks by and with it, these wonderful teenagers’ last moments of life.
Mateo and Rufus are wonderful, sweet teenage boys, and the perfect match for each other on their last day. Mateo pushes Rufus to be more empathetic and to slow down and smell the roses, while Rufus pushes Mateo to seize the day and take chances. After all, they know how the story ends. Silvera writes their perspectives in distinct voices, which adds such vibrant color to the narrative.
While Mateo and Rufus are the main characters and narrators, Silvera also weaves in smaller narratives that are fascinating and, frankly, genius. Each side story connects with Mateo and Rufus in some small, winding way, and they add elements of surprise and mystery to the story that its title had previously taken away.
They Both Die at the End is such a wonderful young adult novel, packed with diversity, inclusivity, and heartbreak. Grab some tissues and settle in for this quick, seriously emotional read that is both joyful and heartbreaking.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on They Both Die at the End. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya.